Subtidal reefs in the Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges region: A strategic approach to monitoring

Mr Danny Brock1, Dr Kristian Peters2, Dr Simon Bryars1, Mr James Brook1, Mr David Miller1, Ms Jamie Hicks1, Mr Dan Easton1

1Department of Environment and Water, Adelaide, Australia, 2Adelaide and Mt Lofty Natural Resources, Adelaide, Australia

Subtidal reefs are a critical component of nearshore marine ecosystems in the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM region, both in areal extent and the ecological communities dependent on them.  They extend from Parham Reef in the north to the eastern border of the region near Middleton.  Currently there are a number of key pressures on near-shore reef habitats including pollution, water quality, invasive species, over-harvesting and climate change.

Over the years there have been a number of reef monitoring programs established across the AMLR region and while these studies have contributed to our understanding of these systems, efforts were mainly focused on metropolitan reefs.  Currently there is limited consolidated information and spatial understanding of the drivers of subtidal reef systems at the regional scale.  To effectively manage these habitats and determine the effectiveness of management actions requires adequate and consistent monitoring to assess the condition of these systems.

The AMLR Subtidal Reef Health Program, funded by the AMLR NRM Board in partnership with the Department of Environment and Water was established to improve our ability to assess status and condition of subtidal rocky reefs in the region. To date this project has for the first time, identified a suite of sites for long term monitoring, developed conceptual models that underpin our current understanding of functions and pressures including knowledge gaps and using standard and repeatable survey techniques established the baseline status of these reefs.


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