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					                         INAUG UR AL C O NF E R E NC E

                             S C IE NC E

                          S OUT HE R N OC E ANS

               C O NF E R E NC E P R O G R A M &
                        AB S TR AC TS

HO B AR T , T AS MANIA    1-2 DE C E MB E R 2009 www.marine-s c ienc
   Welcome to the Inaugural Australian National Network in Marine Science

Registration – Registration will take place in the foyer of the Stanley Burbury Lecture Theatre. Upon
registration you will receive a conference satchel with a number of items for your information and to
keep. You will also be given a username and password so you can access the computers during your
visit to the University of Tasmania. You will need to sign a computer users form and also a form
giving us permission to take photos/film of you and to use quotations from any of your
presentations .

Evacuation – in the event that we are required to evacuate the building the meeting place is in the
car park, directly out the front of the building. Conference participants should listen to and take
instructions from the warden appointed for their area.

Toilets – Toilets are located within the University Centre

Meals – all meals will be provided by the University of Tasmania. Morning, afternoon tea and lunch
will be served in the area immediately outside the lecture theatre. Please note, as there are a
number of special meals (dietary requirements) please only take one of these meals if it is intended
for you, not just because you like the look of it better than what has been provided. Dinner each
night will be at Jane Franklin Hall.

Accommodation – accommodation for those participants from James Cook University and the
University of Western Australia will be at Jane Franklin Hall. Check in at Jane Franklin Hall will be
after 2.00 pm on Monday 30th November. Jane Franklin Hall is at 6 Elboden St, South Hobart (03
62100 100), about half an hour from the airport (a little longer in peak times). You can view Jane
Franklin at The College is a 10min walk to either the CBD or UTAS Sandy Bay.
However, we have organised a shuttle bus to take you to and from the university each day. The bus
will drop you right outside the lecture theatre where the Conference is being held. You should be
ready to depart Jane Franklin Hall at 8.30am each morning.

Poster Session – A poster session will be held on the 1st December between 5-6pm in the foyer of the
Stanley Burbury Lecture Theatre, drinks and finger food will be served. The posters will be judged at
this time by Scott Ling (UTAS), Kevin Parnell (JCU) and Chari Pattiaratchi (UWA) and prizes awarded
for the best PhD and Honours student posters. The prizes will be presented at the Formal Dinner on
the 2nd December at Jane Franklin Hall.

Formal Dinner – the formal conference dinner will be held at Jane Franklin Hall on the 2nd December.
Pre-dinner drinks will be served at 6.30pm followed by dinner between 7.00 and 9.30pm.
Map – a map of the campus has been provided to you in your satchel but another one is provided in
these proceedings for your convenience.

Banks – there is an ANZ and CBA ATM located on campus at the Tasmania University Union Building,
which is located at grid reference AS25 on the University of Tasmania map.

Please direct any further queries to members of the organising committee – Bernadette Ulbrich-
Hooper (, Christine Hurley
(, Sherrin Bowden & Scott Ling (

                                  MAP OF CAMPUS
 Marine Science in Tropical, Temperate and Southern Oceans

                     1 - 2 December 2009
                Stanley Burbury Lecture Theatre
                      Sandy Bay Campus
                    University of Tasmania
         Program: Day 1 – Tuesday 1 December 2009
 8:15 – 9.00                    Registration           Bernadette Ulbrich-
                                                      Hooper & Chris Hurley
  9.00 – 9:15                      Opening              Jo Laybourn-Parry
  9:15 -9:30                     Introduction                Scott Ling
 9.30 – 10:00                 Plenary Speaker              Thomas Trull
10:00 – 10.30                 Plenary Speaker             Craig Johnson
 10:30-10.45                   1st Student talk             Kevin Redd
10:45 -11.00                   2nd Student talk           Scott Bennett
11:00 – 11.30                    Morning Tea
11:30 – 11:45                  3 Student talk           Roberta Bonaldo
11:45 – 12.00                  4th Student talk            Tom Bridge
12:00 -12:15                   5th Student talk         Alexandra Carter
12.15 – 12.30                  6th Student talk           Jessica Stella
 12.30 – 1.30                        Lunch
  1.30 – 2.00                 Plenary Speaker            Andrew Bowie
  2.00 – 2.30                 Plenary Speaker           Andrew Brierley
  2.30 – 2.45                  7th Student talk          Peter Cowman
  2.45 – 3.00                  8th Student talk          Ben Saunders
  3:00 – 3:45                   Afternoon Tea
  3.45 – 4.00                  9th Student talk          Aaron Ballagh
  4.00 – 4.15                 10 th Student talk          Brad Moore
  4.15 – 4.30                 11 th Student talk      Juan Dorantes Aranda
  4.30 – 4.45                 12th Student talk           John Statton
  4.45 – 5.00                 13th Student talk           David Rivers
  5.00 - 6.00             Poster Session and drinks
Marine Science in Tropical, Temperate and Southern Oceans
                     1 - 2 December 2009
                Stanley Burbury Lecture Theatre
                      Sandy Bay Campus
                    University of Tasmania
       Program: Day 2 – Wednesday 2 December 2009
 9:00 – 9:30                 Plenary speaker                Will Howard
 9:30 – 10.00                Plenary speaker                 Beth Fulton
10.00 – 10.15                   14th Paper                  Andrew Chin
10.15 – 10.30                   15th Paper                Anne-Elise Nieblas
10.30 -10.45                    16th Paper                  Suellen Cook
 10.45-11.00                    17th Paper                 Cynthia Bluteau
11.00 -11.30                   Morning Tea
 11.30-11.45                    18th Paper                Cyprien Bosserelle
11:45 – 12.00                     19th Paper                 Shari Gallop
12.00 -12.15                    20th Paper                 Matthew Rayson
 12.15-12.30                    21st Paper                 Cecile Rousseaux
 12.30 – 1.30                      Lunch
 1.30 – 2:00                 Plenary speaker                Ken Ridgway
 2:00 – 2:30                 Plenary speaker                Julia Jabour
  2.30 -2.45                   22st speaker                 Marissa Land
   2.45-3.00                   23nd speaker                 Morena Mills
  3.00 – 3.45                 afternoon tea
 3.45 – 4.00                    24 rd Paper            Jessica Melbourne-Thomas
  4.00 -4.15                    25th Paper                  Martin Marzloff
 4.15 – 4.30                    26th Paper                    Alana Grech
  4.30 – 5.00                Closing Remarks                   Scott Ling
  6.30 -7.00             Pre-dinner drinks - Jane
                               Franklin Hall
7.00 – 9.30pm               Formal Dinner and
                          announcement of prize
                        winners – Jane Franklin Hall
Dr Andrew Bowie graduated from University of Plymouth in the UK in 1999 with a PhD in marine
analytical chemistry. He moved to the University of Tasmania in 2001 on an ARC early-career
researcher fellowship, and in 2006 became a Senior Research Fellow in Marine Biogeochemistry at
the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC (ACE CRC). His research addresses important questions
in chemical oceanography with a specific focus on trace elements such as iron in the Southern Ocean
and Antarctic sea-ice environments. His work is supported by the the ACE CRC, the Australian
Research Council, Australian Antarctic Science grant and several international collaborative funding

Andrew Brierley is a marine ecologist based at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. He and his
group have a particular interest in temporal and spatial variability in the zooplankton. He uses
scientific echosounders, multibeam sonars and traditional netting techniques to sample the plankton,
and is seeking to understand causes of zooplankton patchiness and consequences of zooplankton
variability for natural predators and fisheries. Present research foci include drivers of common
shoaling dynamics in euphausiids and fish, jellyfish outbursts, and vertical migration behaviour of
Arctic zooplankton during winter.

Andrew holds a degree in Biochemistry and Marine Biology from University of Bangor, 1988 PhD,
Genetic diversity and population structure in squid, University of Liverpool, 1992 Various short-term
postdoc positions, including volunteering at Uni South Pacific Fiji, and at AIMS TWS, 1992/3 Krill
Ecologist, British Antarctic Survey, 1994-2001; 2001 - Lecturer, then Reader, then Prof, School of
Biology, University of St Andrews
Dr Beth Fulton is a CSIRO Science Leader and runs a marine ecosystem modelling team. She
developed the Atlantis computer model, which was rated world's best for strategic evaluation of
marine fisheries management issues by the Food & Agriculture Organisation. It is used to provide
strategic advice to the Australian Fisheries Management Authority. It has been applied to 19 marine
ecosystems around the world. Beth also co-developed InVitro, which allows users to explore the
impacts and management of the myriad pressures on marine and coastal environments. These models
are the only ones to give equal attention to biophysical and human components of marine ecosystems
and they underpin CSIRO‟s research into managing potentially competing uses of Australia‟s marine
environments. Beth is also an Honorary Associate at the Centre for Marine Science, University of
Tasmania, where she lectures to post-graduates. She received the 2007 Science Minister's Prize for
Life Scientist of the Year, the 2004 Royal Society of Tasmania‟s PhD award, the 2002 Dean‟s
Commendation for outstanding PhD by research, and the 1997 James Cook University Medals in
Marine Biology and Mathematics & Statistics.

Dr. Will Howard is a research scientist at the Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research
Centre in Hobart, Tasmania. He works on marine climate change, with particular emphasis on ocean
acidification and its impacts on the past, current, and future ocean. He is particularly interested in the
ocean carbon cycle and the responses of marine ecosystems to climate change. His work focuses on
the insights into climate change that can be inferred from ocean sediment records as a baseline for pre-
industrial conditions and as a tool for understanding the impacts of large-magnitude climate changes
of the scale anticipated in the coming centuries. His expertise is in palaeoecology and low-temperature
isotopic geochemistry. Dr. Howard has a PhD in Geological Sciences from Brown University in
Providence, Rhode Island, was a U.S. Department of Energy Global Change Distinguished
Postdoctoral Fellow, at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, New
York, from 1992-93, and was a lecturer in oceanography at the Sea Education Association, Woods
Hole, Massachusetts from 1994-1995, before joining the Antarctic Cooperative Research Centre in
Hobart in 1996.
Julia has been researching, writing and lecturing on matters to do with Antarctic law and policy for
nearly 20 years at the University of Tasmania. She has visited Antarctica five times and has been on
the Australian delegation to Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings. Julia has a Bachelor of Arts
degree majoring in politics, philosophy and sociology, and a Graduate Diploma (Honours) in Antarctic
and Southern Ocean Studies. For her Ph.D. she researched the changing nature of sovereignty in the
Arctic and Antarctic in response to global environmental interdependence. Julia‟s research interests
are eclectic and cover Antarctic tourism, international law, environmental law, threatened species
conservation, international marine management and scientific ethics.

Craig Johnson is a marine community ecologist and holds the Chair in Zoology at the University of
Tasmania. His research is broadly concerned with the dynamics and other properties of temperate and
tropical reef communities, encompassing interactions among suites of organisms including bacteria,
marine algae and animals, and with evolution in communities.

His work has two distinct specialisations. One is to identify the mechanisms that underpin the
dynamics of coral and temperate reef systems, including the effects of climate change, introduced
species and anthropogenic activities such as fishing. The approach is quantitative and involves both
experimental and descriptive work. His other area of interest is with theoretical aspects of the spatial
dynamics of communities, and addresses spatial self-organising in communities, how spatial structure
influences community dynamics and evolution in communities, and estimation of characteristic length
scales of marine systems based on spatial information.

His work covers a broad spectrum from empirical to theoretical, and experimental to modelling. His
research is published in over 80 peer-reviewed publications and books. Before joining the University
of Tasmania he worked at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography (Canada); Marine Biology Institute,
University of Cape Town; Australian Institute of Marine Science; Griffith University; and The
University of Queensland.
Ken Ridgway has over 25 years experience in physical oceanography and climate research. He joined
CSIRO in 1982 and is presently a Principal Research Scientist in the ocean observations group of the
Climate Program. The analysis of ocean observations, both remote and in situ has underpinned Ken's
research and he has applied simple but innovative schemes to gain new understanding of the
circulation around Australia and the Southern Hemisphere on timescales from synoptic to long-term.
He has developed a high level of knowledge of the regional boundary current systems around
Australia and his participation is regularly sought to provide oceanographic advice in support of
regional studies. Throughout his career Ken‟s research interests have centred on observational
analysis with a particular focus on developing ocean observing systems; he established a southwest
Pacific sea level network and an Australian component to the voluntary observing ship program which
contributed to international climate monitoring efforts. He is a Principal Investigator on a joint
Australian-US Tasman Sea monitoring program. More recently Ken has been a founding participant
in the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS). Ken has been an active sea-going oceanographer
and participated and led cruises in the waters to the east and west of Australia.


Thomas Trull is the associate professor of Marine Biogeochemistry at the CSIRO/University of
Tasmania. Thomas studied chemistry and molecular biology at the University of Michigan and his
PhD in oceanography at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Thomas undertook a postdoctoral
Fellowship at the University of Paris 7 in Deep Earth Carbon Cycling. Thomas holds a number of
professional positions and sits on a number of committees. His research interests include marine
biogeochemistry, chemical oceanography, chemical-ecological interactions surface geochronology,
mantle geochemistry, planetary evolution and metabolism, noble gas, cosmogenic nuclide, and light
stable isotope analytical techniques automated sampling and sensor systems in the marine environment
                                                                                              Oral Abstracts

Comparison of growth estimates from different methods for determining
length-at-age from otoliths; a case study of two large scombrids,
Scomberomorus commerson and Scomberomorus semifasciatus
Aaron Ballagh1, David Welch1,2, Ashley J. Williams1,3, Amos Mapleston1, Andrew Tobin1
and Nicholas Marton4
  Fishing and Fisheries Research Centre, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University,
   Townsville, QLD 4811 Australia
  Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries, , Department of Employment, Economic Development and
   Innovation, PO Box 1085, Oonoonba, QLD 4811, Australia
  Oceanic Fisheries Programme, Secretariat of the Pacific Community BP D5, 98848 Noumea CEDEX, New
  Fisheries and Marine Science, Bureau of Rural Sciences, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry,
   GPO Box 858, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia

Fish growth is commonly estimated from length-at-age data obtained from otoliths. There are several
techniques for estimating length-at-age from otoliths including direct observed (Obsv) counts of
annual increments (annuli), age adjustment using margin categorisation (Adj-Cat) or formula
adjustment (Adj-Frm) using know periods of spawning and annuli formation, and back-calculation to
all annuli (BC-All) or the last annuli only (BC-Last). In this study we compared growth estimates (von
Bertalanffy growth functions) obtained from the five methods for estimating length-at-age from
otoliths for two large scombrids; Scomberomorus commerson and Scomberomorus semifasciatus.
Likelihood ratio tests revealed that the major differences between the methods occurred between the
back-calculation (BC_All, BC_Last) methods and the observed and adjusted methods (Obvs, Adj-Cat,
Adj-Frm) for both species of mackerel, however the pattern was more pronounced for S. commerson,
which is likely explained by the more pronounced selectivity effect demonstrated for S. commerson.
We propose a method of substituting length-at-age data from observed or adjusted methods with back-
calculated length-at-age for providing better estimates of population growth than the individual
methods alone, particularly in the presence of selectivity selecting for the faster growing young fish.
Substitution provided better estimates of length for younger ages than observed or adjusted methods as
well as better estimates of mean maximum length than back-calculation methods alone provided.

Regional-scale patterns in ecological processes: herbivory on the Great
Barrier Reef
Scott Bennett, D.R. Bellwood
Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and School of Marine and Tropical
Biology, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia

Understanding the role of ecological processes is necessary in order to comprehend the dynamic state,
function and resilience of ecosystems. On coral reefs, herbivory is a key process in maintaining coral-
dominated systems. Despite this, few studies have investigated the process of herbivory over broad
spatial scales. By directly quantifying the removal rates of the brown macroalgae Sargassum and
feeding rates of herbivorous fishes using remote underwater video, we investigate the process of
herbivory across sites spanning over 900 km along the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia. Although
removal rates of Sargassum by herbivores demonstrated limited variability among regions along the
GBR, fish behaviour changed markedly, with fishes on reefs in the southern region being
characterized by lower rates of herbivory. Variation was not driven by the absence of important
herbivores. The same four species accounted for more than 80% of bites within each region. In the
south, herbivores were present but did not feed on algae when available. This study demonstrates that
large scale variation in ecosystem processes such as herbivory is not necessarily driven by just
presence or abundance of species, but by significant differences in behaviour.
Oral Abstracts

Field observations in the turbulent bottom boundary layer on the
Australian North-West Shelf
Cynthia Bluteau, Dr Nicole Jones, and Dr Gregory Ivey
School of Environmental Systems Engineering, University of Western Australia

Field observations of a turbulent boundary layer from the Australian North-West Shelf will be
presented. The Australian North-West Shelf, which encompasses Ningaloo Reef at the south and
Browse Basin at the northern end, is a highly energetic region where internal tides are generated. This
field experiment is part of an ongoing PhD research project, which aims to understand the physical
interactions between bottom boundary layer processes and internal waves. The site was selected as
probable likely internal wave generation zone, based on previous field monitoring programmes and
numerical modelling results from the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS). This experiment is
the first of three on the North West Shelf and the general framework for this PhD research programme
will be summarized. Measurements collected during the field experiment include high frequency
velocities and temperature with five ADVs and 29 thermistors over the bottom 30m of the water
column at the 400m depth contour approximately 100km from the coast. The mean flow observations
reveal unsteady, transient motions in the bottom boundary layer over the 4 weeks of the experiment.
Preliminary results of turbulent quantities such as the dissipation of turbulent kinetic energy will also
be shown.

Influence of grazing by herbivorous fishes on the algal turf communities on
the Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Roberta M. Bonaldo and David R. Bellwood
ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook
University. Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia

Although the role of herbivorous fishes in reef resilience is well documented, the direct effects of
grazing by these fishes on coral reef benthic structure remain unclear. We studied grazing by
herbivorous fishes on algal turfs, one of the main benthic components of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR),
comparing: 1) the effects of feeding by different sized parrotfishes, 2) the impact of parrotfishes with
distinct feeding modes (scraping vs. excavating species), and 3) the relative importance of grazing by
reef herbivorous fishes on different coral reef zones (crest and flat). We found marked differences on
substratum removal by different sized parrotfishes, with small individuals scraping a greater
substratum area per unit biomass and larger individuals taking a greater volume of material per unit
biomass. Parrotfishes with different feeding modes also seem to play different functional roles in
shaping algal turf communities, as scraping species were responsible for algal dynamics dominated by
vegetative regrowth and excavating parrotfishes opened relatively large areas on algal turfs which
remained clear for longer. The impact of herbivorous fishes on algal turfs also differed between reef
zones. Reef crest had higher grazing pressure than the flat and algal turf composition differed on these
two zones. These results indicate that herbivorous reef fishes are a primary determinant of algal turf
communities on the GBR and that the nature and intensity of the impact of these fishes on algal turfs
depends on fish size, feeding mode and abundance.
                                                                                         Oral Abstracts

The potential effects of climate change on perched beaches

Cyprien Bosserelle, Charitha Pattiaratchi, Ivan Haigh
School of Environmental Systems Engineering. The University of Western Australia, 35, Stirling Highway,
Crawley, WA 6009.

Growing coastal cities increase pressure on coastal development. In the perspective of a changing
climate, it is important to understand the evolution of the shoreline to help coastal planners to make
informed decisions. The dynamics of sandy coastlines are reasonably well understood compared to
geologically constrained shorelines, including perched beaches which lay above a shallow rock
platform. Along the Perth metropolitan coast, 25% of all beaches may be classified as perched beaches.
Therefore it is essential to understand how perched beaches will behave in the future. The aims of this
study are to; (i) determine how changes in climate are likely to affect the wave climate and sea levels
around Western Australia; (ii) improve understanding of the dynamics of perched Beaches, using
Yanchep (on the Perth Metropolitan coastline) as a case-study; and (iii) evaluate the response of these
types of beaches to future changes in the wave climate and rising sea levels. Preliminary results and
methodology will be presented.

Topography, habitats, and macrofaunal communities of the Great Barrier
Reef shelf edge
Tom Bridge1, Terry Done2, Jody Webster1,3, Rob Beaman4, Stefan Williams5, Oscar Pizarro5
  School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD Australia
  Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville QLD
  School of Geosciences, University of Sydney, NSW
  James Cook University, PO Box 6811 Cairns, QLD
  Australian Centre for Field Robotics, School of Engineering, University of Sydney, NSW

Submerged, or “drowned” reefs have been identified on the edge of continental shelves and around
oceanic islands in many parts of the world. Advances in technology such as Autonomous Underwater
Vehicles (AUVs) has led to an increased awareness of the “mesophotic” ecosystems associated with
such reefs. On the Great Barrier Reef, shelf-edge reefs were described have previously been described
off Cairns, Townsville and Hydrographers Passage. However, despite covering a significant
proportion of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, the habitats and communities of the mesophotic
regions of the Great Barrier Reef remain virtually unknown. An expedition on board the RV Southern
Surveyor in September-October 2007 investigated the habitats and biological communities of the GBR
outer shelf. A combination of high-resolution multibeam swath mapping, AUV imagery and benthic
sampling was used to provide the first quantitative analysis of habitats and macrobenthic communities
of the deep GBR. The results reveal the GBR shelf edge contains a diverse range of habitats including
deep-water reefs, palaeo-lagoons and pinnacles extending down to ~150 m depth. High-resolution
AUV imagery and benthic sampling revealed diverse biological communities containing a variety of
extraordinary species of gorgonians, sponges, antipatharians, and a remarkable diversity of
zooxanthellate corals. Although decreasing light irradiance has been identified as a significant factor
affecting vertical zonation of megabenthic taxa on other mesophotic reefs, the results of this study
indicate cold-water upwelling caused by very large internal waves may be the most important control
on community structure on the mesophotic GBR. The results provide scientists and managers with
the first in-depth look at the habitats and communities associated with the vast outer shelf regions of
the GBRMP. This insight into an entirely new region of the GBRMP has crucial ramifications for
zoning and management of habitats and biodiversity within the GBR World Heritage Area.
Oral Abstracts

Regional variation in the benefit of no-take marine reserves on
reproductive output of the common coral trout, Plectropomus leopardus.
Alexandra Carter1,2, Bruce Mapstone3, Garry Russ2, Andrew Tobin1, Ashley Williams1,4.
  Fishing and Fisheries Research Centre, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia.
  School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia.
  Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia.
  Oceanic Fisheries Programme, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, New Caledonia.

No-take marine reserves potentially protect against overfishing by allowing larger, older, and more
fecund fish to prosper. However, few studies have empirically tested the effect of no-take marine
reserves on reproductive output, particularly for hermaphroditic species. We estimated batch fecundity
from hydrated ovaries of the major target species in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) coral reef finfish
fishery, the common coral trout Plectropomus leopardus. Coral trout were collected from reefs zoned
open and closed to fishing in the moderately fished central (Townsville, ~18.5ºS) and lightly fished
northern (Lizard Island, ~14.5ºS) regions of the GBR over four spawning seasons (1998 – 2001).
There were significant but weak positive relationships between batch fecundity and female fork length
(r2=0.226, p<0.001, n=415), somatic weight (r2=0.187, p<0.001, n=403) and age (r2=0.086, p<0.001,
n=400). Townsville‟s protected reefs were the only reefs where the fecundity-length relationship was
significantly and consistently positive each year. This pattern was driven by larger spawners producing
significantly more eggs per batch, and the high number of females in spawning condition caught on
Townsville‟s protected reefs compared to fished reefs and Lizard Island‟s fished and protected reefs.
Although protecting larger P. leopardus from fishing will increase reproductive output, this study
highlights the need to consider regional variation in reproductive output of exploited species when
designing marine protected areas. The large amount of variation in the length-fecundity relationship
may also be confounded by sex change in protogynous hermaphrodites like P. leopardus, indicating
marine reserves may not benefit all reproductive strategies equally.

An integrated risk assessment for climate change: analysing the
vulnerability of sharks and rays on the Great Barrier Reef
Andrew Chin1, Peter M. Kyne2, Terence I. Walker3,5 and Rory B. McAuley4
  Fishing and Fisheries Research Centre, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University
  Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge, Charles Darwin University,
  Marine and Freshwater Fisheries Research Institute, Department of Primary Industries VIC
  Government of Western Australia, Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories, Department of
  Department of Zoology, The University of Melbourne

An Integrated Risk Assessment for Climate Change (IRACC) was developed and applied to analyse
the vulnerability of sharks and rays on Australia‟s Great Barrier Reef (GBR) to climate change. The
IRACC merges traditional climate change vulnerability frameworks with approaches from fisheries
ecological risk assessments. This assessment accommodates uncertainty and can identify exposure
factors, at-risk species and their key biological and ecological attributes, critical habitats and
ecological processes, and major knowledge gaps. Consequently, the IRACC can provide a foundation
upon which to develop climate change response strategies. Applied to the sharks and rays of the GBR,
the assessment indicates that freshwater/estuarine, and reef associated sharks and rays are most
vulnerable to climate change, and that vulnerability is driven by case-specific interactions of multiple
factors and species attributes. Changes in temperature, freshwater input and ocean circulation will
have the most widespread effects on these species. Although relatively few GBR sharks and rays were
assessed as highly vulnerable, their vulnerability increases when synergies with other factors are
considered. This is especially true for freshwater/estuarine and coastal/inshore sharks and rays.
Reducing the impacts of climate change on the GBR‟s sharks and rays requires a range of approaches
including mitigating climate change and addressing habitat degradation and sustainability issues.
Species specific conservation actions may be required for higher risk species. The assessment
identified many knowledge gaps concerning GBR habitats and processes and highlights the need for
improved understanding of the biology and ecology of the sharks and rays of the GBR.
                                                                                                   Oral Abstracts

Ecophysiological and morphological differences between two Southern
Ocean morphotypes of the coccolithophorid Emiliania huxleyi (Haptophyta)
Suellen Cook
School of Plant Science, University of Tasmania

The coccolithophorid Emiliania huxleyi is considered a cosmopolitan species occurring from tropical
to polar waters. Through shedding the delicate calcium carbonate coccoliths it is a major contributor
to global carbon cycling. A collection of Southern Ocean strains was established covering morphotype
A and B/C. Pigment analyses revealed type B/C strains had an 11x greater hex:fuc ratio. Type A
strains had an 8x higher proportion of fucoxanthin. Type A possessed the carotenoid 4-keto-19′
hexanoyloxyfucoxanthin (4-keto-hex) which was never detected in over 30 type B/C strains.
Physiological differences between the two morphotypes were evident in the response to light, both in
short and long term exposure experiments. Non-photochemical quenching and xanthophyll de-
epoxidation occurred twice as rapidly in type A than in type B/C. Recovery of photosynthetic yield
from high light exposure was 12.5x faster in type A than in type B/C. In steady state the light
saturation index for type A was higher than type B/C. The two E. huxleyi morphotypes, A and B/C,
use and are affected by light differently according to the light level to which they have previously been
acclimated. Type A is adapted to a narrower light intensity range but is more efficient under sustained
high light conditions providing an advantage in high light bloom conditions. In contrast type B/C,
may not sustain the energy cost of photoprotection and therefore unlikely to reach rapid growth rates
required to form blooms. The differences between the two morphotypes reflect an adaptive
evolutionary divergence due to isolation of type B/C by the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.

Dating the evolutionary origins of wrasses (Labridae) and the rise of
trophic novelty on coral reefs
Peter F. Cowman1,2, David R. Bellwood1, 2, Lynne van Herwerden3
1. School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Townsville, OLD 4811, Australia.
2. Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Townsville, OLD
   4811, Australia.
3. Molecular Evolution and Ecology Lab, James Cook University, Townsville, OLD 4811, Australia

Estimated ages of divergence between major lineages in the Family Labridae (wrasses) were used to
examine the evolution of trophic novelty within a diverse reef fish family. Sequence data for 101
labrid taxa, and 14 outgroups were examined using novel maximum likelihood, maximum parsimony
and mixed model Bayesian inference methods.             These analyses yielded well-supported trees
consistent with published phylogenies.        Bayesian inference using five fossil calibration points
estimated the minimum ages of lineages. With origins in the late Cretaceous to early Tertiary, the
family diversified quickly with both major lineages (hypsigenyine and julidine) present at
approximately 64.5 Ma, immediately following the K- T boundary. All lineages leading to major
tribes were in place by the beginning of the Miocene (23 Ma) with most diversification in extant
lineages occurring within the Miocene. Optimization of trophic information onto the chronogram
revealed multiple origins of novel feeding modes with two distinct periods of innovation. The
Palaeocene/Eocene saw the origins of feeding modes that are well represented in other families:
gastropod feeders, piscivores and browsing herbivores.               A wave of innovation in the
Oligocene/Miocene resulted in specialized feeding modes, rarely seen in other groups: coral feeding,
foraminifera feeding and fish cleaning. There is little evidence of a general relationship between
trophic specialization and species diversity. The current trophic diversity of the Labridae is a result of
the accumulation of feeding modes dating back to the K-T boundary at 65 Ma, with all major feeding
modes on present day reefs already in place 8 million years ago.
Oral Abstracts

Conditions for growth and toxicity of the fish-killing raphidophyte
Chattonella marina: Comparison of Australian, Japanese and Mexican
Juan Jose Dorantes-Aranda and Gustaaf Hallegraeff
School of Plant Science, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 55, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia 7001

The toxic raphidophyte Chattonella marina has been reported as a bloom-forming species in many
countries in the world, including Australia, Japan, and more recently Mexico. In most cases, it has
been associated with fish fatalities and large economic losses have arisen when this species blooms in
fish farming systems in the sea. Although the precise toxic mechanisms have not been completely
clarified yet, the suggested toxic properties include the production of reactive oxygen species, fatty
acids and haemolytic compounds, especially during the exponential growth phase. In laboratory
conditions, different strains of C. marina have grown in a wide range of salinity and temperature, as
well as at different iron concentrations when incubated at different light intensities. The Australian C.
marina grew better at 30-35 ppt and 20-25°C, whereas the Japanese at 30 ppt and 25°C, and the
Mexican at 35 ppt and 20-25°C. Since it has been proposed that the target organ that C. marina affects
is the gills, a promising assay working with a gill cell line is being developed. The assay has already
been standardised for testing algal extracts and further research is being carried out to test not only
algal extracts but living algae as well. Understanding the conditions for C. marina occurrence and
toxicity helps to predict the potential effects that this species can cause in nature, at the same time this
information is very helpful to create monitoring programs.

Wave-induced sediment transport and morphodynamics on a perched
Shari L. Gallop
School of Environmental Systems Engineering, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway,
MO15, Crawley, WA, 6009

This study addresses the hydrodynamics, sediment transport and morphodynamics on a perched beach
in Western Australia. There has been almost no field research on rocky coastlines, hence there is very
little understanding of perched beaches. With increasing urbanisation at the coast and with the threat
of sea level rise, it is important to understand all coastal landforms. Perched beaches exist world-wide
and are especially prominent in Western Australia. The Perth coastline is subject to a strong and
persistent diurnal summer sea breeze which has a similar magnitude to a medium-scale storm event.
There has been some research on sea breeze, but there are still many questions of how it affects
different beach types.

This study will address (i) how waves respond to the limestone ridge on a perched beach and the
resulting currents; (ii) sediment suspension and transport on a perched beach during storm and sea
breeze activity; and (iii) perched beach morphology on seasonal time scales. Monthly field surveys
will be taken, and intensive surveys completed during sea breeze and storm events. Measurements will
be taken of waves, currents, suspended sediment and beach morphology. This paper will present the
proposed research and pilot study results from 14/10/2009. Results indicate that with the onset of the
sea breeze the beach profile accreted by 1.37 m, wave period decreased, wave height increased, wind-
waves increased, cross-shore currents changed from onshore to offshore and alongshore currents
became more northerly consistent with the development of the SW sea breeze
                                                                                         Oral Abstracts

A spatial assessment of the cumulative impact of multiple anthropogenic
threats to coastal seagrass habitats
Alana Grech and Rob Coles
School of Earth and Environmental Science, James Cook University, Townsville; Northern Fisheries Centre,
Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries, Cairns.

Quantitative information on the relative impact of anthropogenic threats to seagrasses is incomplete or
unavailable, and the cumulative impact of multiple threats is difficult to measure and predict. In the
light of this uncertainty, we used expert knowledge to evaluate the relative risk of coastal seagrass
habitats to their hazards in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA), Queensland.
Vulnerability scores derived from expert opinion, spatial information on the distribution of threats and
probabilistic GIS-surfaces of seagrass habitat suitability were used to delineate areas of low, medium
and high relative risk to coastal seagrass habitats. I found that whilst most planning units in the remote
Cape York region of the GBRWHA are classified as low risk, almost two thirds of coastal seagrass
habitats along the urban coast are at high or medium risk from multiple anthropogenic activities. To
inform the management of seagrass along the urban coast, I identified twelve „hot spots‟ that are a
priority for conservation action. Reducing the risk to coastal seagrass habitats in these „hot spots‟ will
require: (1) improving the quality of terrestrial water that enters the GBRWHA; (2) mitigating the
impacts of urban and port infrastructure development and dredging; and (3) addressing the hazards of
shipping accidents and recreational boat damage

Clay Mineralogy and Clay Geochemistry of ODP Site 1119 – Climatic,
Oceanographic, and Tectonic History of the SW Pacific since ~4 Ma.
Marissa Land, Wüst R.M., Robert, C., Kemp, A.I.S., and Carter, R.A.J.
James Cook University, Townsville

Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Site 1119, off SE New Zealand, contains a ~500 m thick sedimentary
record of intermediate-depth drift deposits (Canterbury Drifts) that preserve paleoclimatic and
paleoceanographic events of the SW Pacific since ~4 Ma. Clay mineralogy, clay geochemistry, and
particle size (terrigenous fractions) data reveal a clear link between regional climatic and
oceanographic controls on drift deposition, as well as Southern Hemisphere (Antarctica) and global
influences (e.g. Milankovitch cycles). At the Early/Late Pliocene boundary (~3.5 Ma), smectite
contents significantly decrease in favour of clays more typical of physical weathering and increased
erosion (chlorite, illite, and stilpnomelane), marking the transition into a cooler Late Pliocene
environment. At ~3.16 Ma a marked coarsening of the mean sortable silt (mss) fraction implies
stronger Sub-Antarctic Mode Water flow, whilst from 3.16 Ma upward, fining of the mss fraction
suggests long-term slowing of SAMW flow at Site 1119. Increasing chlorite and clay-sized contents
up-core provide evidence for global long-term cooling and suggest a stronger influence of glacial
erosion on the South Island. The proxy analyses from this mid-latitude location provide new
information about the timing of environmental changes that are linked to both regional climatic and
oceanographic events as well as to global change, and distinguish for the first time, the climatic from
tectonic influence on sedimentation at Site 1119 over the last ~4 m.y.
Oral Abstracts

Exploring ecological shifts using qualitative modelling: alternative states on
Tasmanian rocky-reefs.
Martin Marzloff1,3, Jeffrey M. Dambacher2, Rich Little3, Stewart Frusher1, Craig R.
  School of Zoology & Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 5,
Hobart 7001, Australia.
  CSIRO Mathematical and Information Sciences, GPO Box 1538, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia.
  CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Castray Esplanade, Hobart, Tasmania 7000, Australia .

Alternative stable states characterise many ecosystems. Subtidal rocky-reefs on the east coast of
Tasmania persist in a range of different configurations, including so-called sea urchin „barrens‟ and
dense seaweed beds with a closed canopy. In creating and maintaining barrens habitat on temperate
reefs, sea urchins induce major losses of production, biodiversity and physical structure. The invasive
urchin Centrostephanus rodgersii has developed a network of barrens across its newly extended range
in Tasmania. In recent decades, this phenomenon has become a rising concern on the east coast of the
state as the two most valuable fisheries, for blacklip abalone (Haliotis rubra) and southern rock lobster
(Jasus edwardsii), are not viable on barrens. Thus, identifying triggers of barrens formation is critical
in the management of these reefs. Here we explore the dynamics of Tasmanian rocky-reef
communities using qualitative modelling informed by a deep empirical knowledge of interactions
among species. Loop analysis sacrifices precision of particular dynamics to maximize reality and
generality in providing a causal understanding of complex systems. The network topology forms
emergent feedback patterns that reveal a potential for meta-stability in this rocky-reef system, and the
models capture formation of urchin barrens and the mechanisms of the phase shifts. Fishing is
identified as a perturbation that can reduce resilience of the system in its original highly productive
seaweed-dominated state. We show that, despite their limitations to act as definitive management tools
for specific instantiations, qualitative loop models can be highly valuable in identifying the kinds of
system dynamics that managers need to consider in ecosystem-based management.

A decision support tool for visualising coral reef futures at regional scales
Jessica Melbourne-Thomas and Craig R. Johnson
School of Zoology, University of Tasmania

Models are useful tools for assessing tradeoffs that arise in managing coral reef systems. Moreover,
they provide a means to deal with the complex, multi-scale nature of coral reef dynamics. The
importance of a regional-scale approach to modelling and management is clear, given that reefs are
highly connected across regions by ocean currents, social structures, regional economies and global
markets. However, there are few regional-scale coral reef models that are accessible for decision
support in management and policy development. We present a spatially explicit regional-scale model
of a coral reef system which has been developed as a decision support tool. The model couples
dynamics from local (102 m) to regional (106 m) scales, and explicitly incorporates larval connectivity
patterns derived from sophisticated larval dispersal models. The approach is generic, so that the model
can be transferred between global regions. We describe instantiation and validation of the model for
two reef systems: (i) the Meso-American Reef system in the western Atlantic; and (ii) the Philippines
region of the South China Sea. We demonstrate how our model can be used to assess the ecological
and management implications of regional-scale patterns of larval connectivity, and present example
scenarios relating to coral bleaching and marine reserve placement. The value of our model as a
scenario testing tool is that it allows the user to visualise possible reef futures, and to assess the
likelihood of these futures under alternative management approaches.
                                                                                           Oral Abstracts

Planning for action: tackling the mismatch of scales between regional
planning and local implementation in Fiji
Morena Mills1, Stacy Jupiter 2 and Robert L Pressey 1
 Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Townsville,
QLD, Australia; 2 Wildlife Conservation Society South Pacific Program, Suva, Fiji Islands.

The mismatch of scales between regional conservation planning and local scale implementation
frequently prevents the translation of even the best conservation plans into effective conservation
actions. This mismatch between planning and implementation results from a number of scale-related
decisions taken during the planning process and leads to the outputs of plans not being applicable to
those working with on ground actions. In Fiji, community based actions have lead to 214 community
based Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), however we do not know whether these are ecologically
connected or achieving regional scale conservation goals. Our study aims: (1) To undertake a
national gap analysis to understand what conservation goals are not being achieved by current
conservation/resource management measures; (2) To better understand the opportunities and
constraints to conservation and/or resource management initiatives in Fiji; (3) To predict whether
community based action can achieve regional scale conservation goals; and, (4) To explore potential
of conservation planning to direct future MPAs. The results of this study will help to better inform
future national conservation strategies.

Parasites of king threadfin, Polydactylus macrochir, in Australian waters;
implications for stock structure and fisheries management
Brad Moore1, David Welch1,2, Robert Lester3
  Fishing and Fisheries Research Centre, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University
  Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Queensland
  Marine Parasitology Laboratory, School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, The University Of

One of the fundamental requirements of effective fisheries management is an understanding of the
biology and spatial relationships of the resource being harvested. These parameters are poorly
understood for northern Australia‟s fisheries for king threadfin, Polydactylus macrochir. The species‟
forms the second most important target species for northern Australia‟s inshore net fisheries after the
iconic barramundi (Lates calcarifer). King threadfin are also an important component of coastal
recreational and indigenous fisheries in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.
However, despite its commercial importance, the stock boundaries and movements of the species
across its distribution are currently undefined, so it is unknown whether fishing pressure in any one
region impacts on the sustainability of harvest elsewhere. Here we use parasite abundances to discern
the movements and connectivity of king threadfin from areas of primary and secondary fishing
importance across northern Australia. Management implications for the fisheries that take king
threadfin are discussed.
Oral Abstracts

Toward a threshold: climate change implications for physics,
phytoplankton and fish in a historically low-wind upwelling ecosystem
Nieblas, Anne-Elise1,2, Sloyan, Bernadette3,4, Haddon, Malcolm4, Butler, Alan4, Coleman,
Richard 5, Richardson, Anthony6,7
  School of Zoology, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.
  Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Climate Adaptation National Research Flagship,
CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.
   Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Hobart, Tasmania,
  CSIRO Wealth from Oceans National Research Flagship, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Hobart, Tasmania,
  Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
  CSIRO Climate Adaptation National Research Flagship, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Cleveland, Queensland,
  School of Mathematics and Physics, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland, Australia .

Upwelling regions comprise just 1% of the global ocean by area, but account for 20% of global
productivity. However, some of these productive ecosystems are vulnerable to climate change.
Understanding and assessing the impacts of climate change on primary and fisheries productivity in
upwelling ecosystems will be vital for informing adaptive management procedures aimed at sustaining
ecosystem health and fisheries viability. Wind-driven upwelling systems operate under the “optimal
environment window” for which wind speed is strong enough to promote vertical mixing of nutrients
to enhance productivity, but not so strong to lead to deleterious turbulent mixing or more pronounced
advection that may reduce productivity. We examine an upwelling system in southeastern Australia
that operates at low-wind velocities, and suboptimal productivity. Using environmental data that is
spatially-comparable to the resolution of climate models, we develop biophysical statistical models for
historical conditions to describe the relationship between oceanographic drivers, primary productivity,
and commercial marine species with differing r- and K-selected life history traits. We then use climate
models to make projections of the likely impacts of climate change on ecosystem productivity in a
regional low-wind upwelling system for a range of CO2 emission scenarios. We find that monthly
alongshore winds are expected to alter by 5-90% by 2100, with the principal change as increased
spring and summer upwelling-favourable wind stress. We assess how this affects the upwelling
ecosystem in regards to the optimal environmental window and investigate likely impacts on primary
productivity and abundance of disparate commercial marine species as a result.

Ocean dynamics of the Browse Basin
Matthew Rayson, Michael Meuleners, Greg Ivey, Nicole Jones and Geoff Wake
University of Western Australia, School of Environmental Systems Engineering

In the present study, we have described the spatial and temporal variability of the tidally driven
dynamics in a topographically complex, macro-tidal environment using a combination of field data
from moored instruments and a numerical model. It is the first comprehensive study to describe the
dynamics of the Browse Basin on the Australian North West Shelf. The study of tidal dynamics in
shelf regions is important as it influences the transport and mixing of tracers which is often neglected
from global circulation models (i.e. Bluelink). The interaction between the tidal flow and the
topography results in the generation of internal waves. The internal wave climate in the Browse Basin
was found to be highly variable with mainly linear and some nonlinear waves generated from a variety
of topographic features and propagating in all directions – not simply onshore, for example. The
generation of internal wave energy within the Browse Basin was found to be most intense in regions
of near critical topography. This talk is based on a paper recently submitted to the Journal of
Geophysical Research- Oceans.
                                                                                                 Oral Abstracts

Trophic interactions detected using molecular techniques: case studies on
temperate marine predators in Tasmania
Redd, KS1, Frusher, SD2, Jarman, SN3, Johnson, CR4
1 Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute, Marine Research Laboratories, University of Tasmania, Private
Bag 49, Hobart, TAS 7001, Australia.
2 Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute, Marine Research Laboratories, University of Tasmania, Private
Bag 49, Hobart, TAS 7001, Australia.
3 Department of the Environment and Heritage, Australian Antarctic Division, 203 Channel Highway, Kingston,
TAS 7050, Australia.
4 School of Zoology, University of Tasmania , Private Bag 5, Hobart, TAS 7001, Australia.

Quantifying consumer interactions in the marine environment remains a key challenge for ecologists.
Molecular detection techniques provide a robust approach to this problem and other issues in dietary
studies of consumers. Here we outline a general PCR-based assay and specific quantitative PCR-based
assay for the southern Australian sea urchin species, Centrostephanus rodgersii and Heliocidaris
erythrogramma. By analysing faecal pellets collected from southern rock lobsters (Jasus edwardsii)
for sea urchin DNA, we are able to show predation by lobsters on these sea urchin species in eastern
Tasmania. We will also report on using DNA sequence analysis to identify gut contents from seven
gilled sharks (Notorynchus cepedianus) and describe the techniques used to study the diet of this
species. We provide a validation for the utility of molecular prey detection techniques to significantly
improve the resolution of traditional morphological prey identification protocols. We demonstrate the
utility of these techniques to address complex ecological and behavioural issues essential for informed
ecosystem based management of rocky reefs and temperate marine ecosystems.

Contribution of seedling recruitment to the infilling of gaps in a Western
Australian seagrass meadow
David O. Rivers1, Diana I. Walker1 and Gary A. Kendrick1
    School of Plant Biology, University of Western Australia, Crawley WA 6009

We assessed the contribution of seedling recruitment and clonal plant growth to infilling of gaps in a
Perth seagrass meadow. The aims of this study were to 1) quantify gap infilling and erosion rates; 2)
examine the spatial pattern of seedling settlement within gaps; and 3) measure seedling survival and
new seagrass patch formation. Three gaps ranging in size from 45 to 120 m2 were mapped monthly
from November 2007 to June 2009. Seagrass seedlings that settled into the gaps were tagged and their
survival tracked. Infilling and erosion rates, seedling settlement and survival varied greatly among
gaps. Greater than 90% of infilling was due to clonal growth of Posidonia australis and Posidonia
sinuosa from the gap margin; the remainder of infilling was from seedling recruitment of Amphibolis
antarctica and Amphibolis griffithii. Seedling settlement at all gaps showed a clustered pattern that
correlated with the presence of seagrass matte (exposed belowground plant material). Seedling
turnover was rapid, yet seedling survival after one year ranged from 7 – 25% among the three gaps.
We conclude that the presence of seagrass matte within gaps aids the settlement of Amphibolis
seedlings, and that seedling recruitment plays an important role in gap infilling. The creation of new
seagrass patches via seedling recruitment maintains seagrass diversity in this system because the
species recruiting (A. antarctica and A. griffithii) are from a different genus than those infilling by
clonal expansion from the gap edges (P. australis and P. sinuosa).
Oral Abstracts

Production and transport of particulate matter in a regional current system
adjacent to a fringing coral reef
Cecile Rousseaux1, Anya M. Waite1, Ryan Lowe2 and Peter A. Thompson3
  School of Environmental Systems Engineering, University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Hwy, Crawley WA
  School of Earth and Environment, University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Hwy, Crawley WA 6009
  CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, GPO Box 1538, Hobart Tasmania, 7001

While recycling of nutrients play a key role in coral reef food webs, it is increasingly evident that reefs
must rely on the production, supply and incorporation of particulate matter from the ocean to sustain
their high productivity. Due to its proximity to Ningaloo Reef, the Leeuwin Current off Western
Australia may represent a significant source of particulate matter for the reef. We combine ocean
colour data product and model data with field observations to understand the processes affecting the
delivery of particulate matter to the reef at different temporal and spatial scales. In spring/summer,
when the conditions are upwelling favourable, the high production usually generated by these events is
not evident in the Ningaloo region. In the last decade, however, a phytoplankton blooms develops in
this region around April each year. The phytoplankton concentration reached in June/July is
approximately four times than that observed in summer. This increase in particulate matter is
associated with an annual deepening of the mixed layer depth in this region. Field observations bring
additional information about the diversity, productivity and cross-shelf transport of this particulate
matter. These results show that the bloom observed during autumn 2008 was mainly represented by
diatoms and that these were mainly taking up nitrate rather than ammonium. The dominance of
downwelling favourable conditions and the analysis of nitrate profiles allow us to identify the
deepening of the MLD as the mechanisms replenishing the surface layer with nitrate that in turns
allow the phytoplankton bloom to develop.

Large feeding areas, consistent feeding rates and territorial exclusion of
herbivores by the temperate herbivorous damselfish Parma mccullochi
Ben Saunders, Euan Harvey, Gary Kendrick
School of Plant Biology, University of Western Australia, Crawley 6009, WA, Australia

The territories of herbivorous damselfish incorporate necessary resources for survival, including an
algal food resource in close proximity to a shelter site. The maintenance of turfing algal gardens has
been widely documented in tropical species but rarely in any temperate species. Mechanisms through
which these gardens of palatable algae are maintained are varied, but include behavioural processes
such as localised herbivory, selective weeding and altered grazing pressure through exclusion of
herbivorous competitors. The McCullochs Scalyfin (Parma mccullochi) is a ubiquitous pomacentrid
species on subtidal rocky reef in temperate Western Australia. Behavioural observations were
performed on P. mccullochi to determine; 1) the area over which they feed; 2) temporal patterns in
feeding rates; and 3) rates and success of territorial exclusion of herbivorous fishes. P. mccullochi
maintain extensive feeding areas within their territories, with a mean area of 8.8m2. These areas
included both epilithic turfing algae and epiphytic algae on seagrass. Feeding rates peaked at midday,
and remained consistent between days of sampling and between months of sampling. Through chasing,
P. mccullochi agonistically exclude from their territories, both conspecifics and other herbivorous fish,
especially Kyphosids. We propose that the combination of a consistent feeding effort over an
extensive feeding area, and the territorial exclusion of other herbivorous fish, results in an altered
grazing pressure within the territory, and a temporally consistent level of algal disturbance. This in
turn may lead to an altered algal assemblage or the long term maintenance of the existing turfing and
epiphytic assemblages within territories.
                                                                                         Oral Abstracts

Sediment composition influences growth and root morphology of Posidonia
australis Hook f. seedlings: implications for restoration
John Statton
Kings Park and Botanic Garden & University of Western Australia

Seed-based restoration of Posidonia seagrasses is in its infancy, with little known about
seedling growth dynamics and responses to environmental factors. In a mesocosm experiment,
we investigated the role of sediment composition on early seedling growth, in particular, the
development of seagrass root systems in response to the sediment characteristics. Seedlings
were grown in three sediment types, unsorted carbonate (sheltered west coast), unsorted silica
(sheltered south coast), and well-sorted silica (exposed locations), typical of sediments found
in their natural environment in temperate W.A (Carruthers et al, 2007). To each of these
sediment types organic matter was supplied, or not, in the form of dried seagrass wrack.
Seedlings were cultivated for seven months and growth and morphology was measured at one,
three, five and seven months after planting. Sediment type alone had no effect on biomass
whereas the presence of organic matter increased seedlings growth (roots, leaves, rhizome &
total seedling). However this increase was only evident in carbonate and unsorted silica
sediments, not well-sorted silica sediments. Total root length, lateral root length and number,
and specific root length increased in carbonate and unsorted silica sediments, and in
sediments with organic matter present. This study highlights that early seedling growth and
morphology of P. australis seagrasses in culture facilities are strongly influenced by the
sediment characteristics, with implications for developing elite seedlings as an alternative
form of transplant units in seagrass restoration projects.

Biodiversity and habitat specialisation of ectosymbionts associated with
branching corals
Jessica S. Stella1, G. P. Jones1,2 and M. S. Pratchett2
School of Marine and Tropical Biology, and 2ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook
University, Townsville, Queensland 4811, Australia.

The biodiversity of coral reefs is dominated by invertebrates, with many living in close association
with branching corals yet the degree of dependence of symbiotic invertebrates on coral reef habitats is
poorly understood. Given the magnitude of the predicted impacts of climate change, an evaluation of
the degree of specialization of invertebrates to certain branching coral hosts is vital to assess the
potential loss of biodiversity on coral reefs. As coral bleaching is predicted to result in a decline in
coral cover and an eventual shift in coral community composition, corals species least resistant to
bleaching (e.g. branching) are likely to disappear. This study quantified species richness of
invertebrates associated with four species of branching corals at Lizard Island in the northern Great
Barrier Reef. One hundred seventy eight species from 12 different phyla were extracted across 50
replicate colonies of each coral host. Invertebrates accounted for the greatest numerical abundance and
species richness for all four corals. Many species (42%) were found on only one of the four different
coral species, while only 13% were found across all four coral hosts. The high number of species that
associate with only 1 (out of 4) of their alternate host corals indicates that either there are many
species that are either habitat specialists, particularly rare, or both. As both specialist and rare species
face increased risk of extinction, it appears that a significant biodiversity loss (74 species found in this
study alone) may result from sustained and ongoing coral reef degradation.
                                                                                        Poster Abstracts

Towards an integrated coastal management and disaster mitigation
planning from conceptual to practical framework: a case study on sea level
rise impacts at North Coast of Central Java Province, Indonesia
Firdaus Agung
Centre for Disaster Studies, School of Earth and Environmental Science, James Cook University

This research demonstrates how coastal management and disaster mitigation planning could benefit
and support each other in responding climate change impacts to coastal areas. The case study will
apply four level of analysis. First analysis is on concept and literature review to see if coastal
management and disaster management could be integrated conceptually. A number of existing
regulations and laws from other counties are also evaluated to see how its concepts are applied in laws.
Secondly, a GIS-based analysis will be conducted to reveal spatial distribution of sea level rise
inundation, community vulnerability and existing land use includes socio-economic infrastructure and
coastal habitats. Sea level rise inundation is overlaid against social vulnerability and existing land use
to see overall impacts of sea level rise. Thirdly, existing laws and planning documents are evaluated to
see if they are responsive to existing problems related to sea level rise. Finally, integration analysis is
carried out to explore gap, benefit and problems for integration between coastal management and
disaster mitigation planning.The outputs will contribute to a number of outcomes: 1) Indonesian
context in implementing coastal management and disaster management could benefit countries in the
region in terms of lessons learned, planning problems and integration challenge, 2) supporting
international agenda on disaster risk reduction especially to address organizational, legal and policy
frameworks (the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005 – 2015), and 3) contributing and add to existing
knowledge on coastal management and disaster mitigation fields especially in context of integration
between two approaches.

One species or two? An integrative approach to exploring species
boundaries in the Australian sea urchin Heliocidaris erythrogramma
Rachel M. Binks, W. Jason Kennington, Jonathan P. Evans, Jane Prince
School of Animal Biology, University of Western Australia, Crawley WA 6009

A recurring problem in biological sciences is the capacity to distinguish and classify organisms to the
species level. Traditional taxonomic methods typically utilise morphological variation for this purpose
which, while usually adequate, can fail in extreme cases, either due to the lack of diagnostic features
(i.e. cryptic species) or in the over-abundance of diagnostic features (i.e. intraspecific polymorphism).
In these cases, the use of additional information such as ecological, molecular or reproductive data is
necessary to aid in elucidating species boundaries. Heliocidaris erythrogramma, a dominant and
endemic feature of Australia‟s temperate rocky reefs, represents one such case. In Western Australia,
the species is known to exhibit extensive morphological variation with regard to both spine shape and
external colouration and is currently classified as a single, polymorphic species; however, this
variation has never been studied empirically. We used an integrative approach, combining
morphological, molecular and reproductive data, to thoroughly explore the potential for species
boundaries between the two dominant colour morphs in Western Australian populations of H.
erythrogramma. Indeed, we found remarkable differentiation between these morphs, with regard to
spine shape (via geometric-morphometric analysis) and nuclear genetic markers (via microsatellite
analysis at 16 loci), as well as a temporal asynchrony in their spawning seasons. These data suggest
that these morphs may indeed represent multiple species, and mitochondrial sequencing is currently
underway, as a final step in clarifying the taxonomic status of H. erythrogramma.
Poster Abstracts

Flow structure in submerged kelp canopies on a fringing limestone reef in
temperate Western Australia
Eloise Brown1,2, Graham Symonds3, Carolyn Oldham2, Euan Harvey1
1. School of Plant Biology, University of Western Australia
2. School of Environmental Systems Engineering, University of Western Australia
3. CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research

Boundary layer dynamics in submerged canopies and complex reef habitat are generally not well
understood, yet have the potential to shape benthic ecology by controlling the fate of suspended matter
and nutrients in these systems. This research examined wave-driven hydrodynamics and turbulence in
Western Australian fringing limestone reefs with Ecklonia radiata kelp canopy. The experimental
approach involved a field study and a physical model of reef with 1:10 scaled-down kelp. Using an
array of 4 acoustic Doppler velocimeters (ADV), water velocities were measured in the field at fixed
heights through the kelp canopy and on bare reef over 3 weeks during several winter storms. Spectral
analysis indicated that there was a fully developed turbulent boundary layer. A significant vertical
intensification of turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) dissipation rate (ε) occurred within the kelp canopy.
However, comparisons between bare reef and kelp canopy suggest that the removal of kelp canopy
had no impact on ε. In the laboratory, TKE was parameterized as a function of reef roughness, canopy
density and distance from the canopy edge. Profiles of the flow field were measured with paired
ADVs sampling at 25 Hz over bare reef, over five densities of model kelp canopy, and at five
distances away from the edge of the model canopy. TKE decreased with canopy density and with
distance away from the canopy edge, suggesting that even in the presence of wave-orbital velocities,
edge effects are significant in adjacent habitats. The ecological implications of these hydrodynamics
will be discussed.

Relationships between fish population and the physical structure of
Australia’s temperate reefs in response to marine protection
Matthew J Cameron
Department of Zoology, University of Tasmania / Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute

Marine resource management is increasingly shifting towards multi-species, ecosystem-based
approaches to managing marine fisheries. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are emerging as one such
ecosystem-based approach. Their effective implementation requires knowledge of the relevant
environmental parameters, resources and habitats at multiple scales that are important in shaping the
spatial distributions and abundances of marine communities. Reef-fish communities are often highly
variable and patchily distributed across reef environments. Previous research and anecdotal
observations have lead our research team to hypothesise that the physical structure and complexity of
temperate-reef habitat may be highly important in structuring fish community composition and
function. Variation in the settlement of reef fish larvae has been shown to be important in determining
temporal and spatial variation in adult fish populations but research is suggesting that post-recruitment
processes such as competition, predation and disturbance are also very important in structuring adult
reef fish populations. The physical structure and complexity of reef habitats; rugosity, substratum or
refuge space diversity, vertical relief and the proportion of hard substrata may be key driving forces
behind post-recruitment processes. My research aims to describe patterns in the spatial variability of
temperate-reef fish distributions and assemblages and determine how these are related to the physical
structure and complexity of temperate-reef habitats around Tasmania and Southern Australia. I am
investigating the causal ecological processes behind patterns of fish-habitat association with the aim of
identifying how physical reef structure and complexity may affect the recovery of fish populations
within MPAs following the cessation of fishing.
                                                                                   Poster Abstracts

Analysis of vessel patterns to improve a biofouling risk assessment model

Alisha Dahlstrom1, Ashley Coutts2, Marnie Campbell1, Chad Hewitt1
  Australian Maritime College

Management of nonindigenous aquatic species (NAS) associated with biofouling is difficult given
limited information and resources. Risk assessment aids this management by clearly defining the
components of the decision involved, taking into account potential impacts on environmental,
economic, social, and cultural values, as well as identifying where additional research is needed. The
biofouling risk assessment model used in this assessment consists of two parts: the probability
(likelihood) and magnitude of impacts (consequences) of NAS introduction, both of which are subject
to high degrees of uncertainty. This project will focus on one component of the likelihood analysis,
vessel transport patterns. Factors such as where vessels come from, where they go, how long they take
to get from port to port, and their duration in port, all effect the likelihood of uptake, transport,
survival, and introduction of NAS. For example, „days spent in port‟ for a vessel is an important factor
for both uptake in port of origin and inoculation in port of destination, as a long period in port can
provide a species with enough time to become established on a vessel or on a port substrate. However,
many of these vessel patterns are unknown. Here, vessel transport patterns to Australia from 2002-
2007 are analysed to improve understanding and reduce uncertainty within the risk assessment process.
The analysis will present the relationships between days in port, vessel category, bioregion(s) visited,
and vessel speed. Where data is available, these analyses have been combined with NAS
presence/absence data within bioregions to provide additional support to the risk assessment model.

Role of turbulence in sediment transport in low energy environments
Saif Ullah Farooqi, Charitha Pattiaratchi
School of Environmental Systems Engineering, The University of Western Australia

Sediment transport processes are not well understood particularly in the deeper ocean. In the classical
sediment transport theory, it is postulated that a critical velocity should be exceeded before sediment
re-suspension and transport occurs. However, in low energy environments, such as in the deep sea,
this critical velocity is rarely exceeded but sediment re-suspension and transport has been observed.
This contradiction has been postulated to be due to high frequency fluctuations of velocity due to
turbulence present near the seabed. However, there is no field evidence to prove or refute this
hypothesis. In this project, to develop a better understanding of turbulence generation, characteristics
and its relationship to sediment movement, a field study is planned to be conducted in the Gorgon field
along the North West Shelf of Western Australia. This study is part of the South-East Asian Scientific
and Environmental ROV Partnership using Existing INdustrial Technology (SEA SERPENT) project
funded by Chevron, Australia. One of the main problems encountered in obtaining high temporal
resolution field data from the deeper ocean is the lack of suitable platforms to deploy instrumentation.
Usually we require large ships which are expensive and unavailable for research purposes. Thus in this
project submersible Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV‟s), which are based on drilling rigs and
offshore platforms will be used for deploying current meters that record near-bed high resolution
velocity fluctuations, suspended sediment concentrations and hence their transport along the seabed.
The results of the project will be of relevance to understanding the relationship between near-bed
turbulence and sediment re-suspension and to determine the fate of contaminants produced by drilling
operations (e.g. those associated with lubricants etc.) resulting from offshore oil and gas industrial
Poster Abstracts

Environmental and anthropogenic influences upon Western Australian
marine fish functional diversity and functional groups

Ben Ford
School of Plant Biology (Botany), Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Western

Functional diversity is an aspect of ecology concerned with the ecological role of organisms rather
than the traditional utilisation of taxonomic identity, and is an approach growing in significance.
Functional diversity has been utilised to investigate environmental and anthropogenic impacts, and
resilience of ecosystem function. It has been proposed that functional diversity provides greater
explanatory and predictive strength than traditional methods due to utilising ecologically relevant
biological traits. This study aims to determine suitable functional traits of reef fishes, establish the
functional groups that result from these traits and measure the multivariate “trait-space” occupied by
various assemblages. The main rationale of the study is to compare the functional diversity, functional
groups and functional redundancy of fishes spatially and temporally across environmental gradients
and differing levels of anthropogenic impacts. Results from the study will test theoretical models and
provide practical applications. Results will also provide an increased understanding of the ecology of
Western Australian reef fishes and improve our ability to assess the extent of anthropogenic impacts,
and the resilience of the ecosystems to both localised (i.e. fisheries) and global (i.e. climate change)

Beach ridge plain palaeo-record suggests a dramatically variable late-
Holocene tropical cyclone climate in North Queensland, Australia
Tony Forsyth
School of Earth and Environmental Science, James Cook University, Cairns Campus

A recent study in north-east Queensland, Australia suggested that a coarse-grained sand beach ridge
plain may have been deposited by storm surge and waves during intense tropical cyclones. These
landforms have not previously been recognised to house relatively long-term records of these natural
hazards. The results of a second study into a similar coarse-grained beach ridge plain at Rockingham
Bay, north east Queensland, confirms this conclusion and are presented here. This beach ridge plain is
1.8 km-wide and is comprised of nineteen coarse-grained sand ridges. Conservative estimates based
on numerical modelling suggest that waves plus surge associated with extreme intensity tropical
cyclones are likely to be responsible for the elevation of individual ridges of this beach ridge plain.
The OSL chronology of these ridges also suggests that there has been considerable variability in the
frequency of high magnitude tropical cyclone induced marine inundations here over the past 5,000
years. The results of this study are likely to contribute to a considerably improved understanding of the
tropical cyclone climatology of this region.
                                                                                       Poster Abstracts

How will the largest green turtle population in the world be affected by
climate change?

Mariana M.P.B. Fuentes
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University, Australia

Sea turtles are thought to be particularly vulnerable to climate change. Not only they are threatened
globally by a range of anthropogenic activities - which reduces their resilience to climate change- but
they also have life history traits strongly tied to environmental variables and nest in coastal areas
vulnerable to sea level rise and cyclonic activities. Climate change can affect sea turtles in three broad
ways: 1) their distribution, 2) foraging ecology and 3) reproductive output. The broad aim of this
study is to explore how sea turtles‟ reproductive output will be affected by a) increase in temperature,
b) projected shift in cyclonic patterns and c) sea level rise. For this, the northern Great Barrier Reef
(nGBR) green turtle population, the largest green turtle population in the world, is used as a case study.
Nesting for this population occurs in the northern GBR region and in Torres Strait. Our results to date
indicate that:
    - The sex ratio of hatchlings produced by this population will skew towards females.
    - This population exposure to cyclone will decrease by 25% by 2070.
    - 38% of available nesting area across all the rookeries used by this population may be
         inundated as a result of sea level rise.
A vulnerability assessment has been conducted to investigate the cumulative impact of the different
climatic processes on sea turtles.

Life history of tropical sharks caught in Queensland’s commercial net

Alastair Harry
James Cook University

A large, commercial net fishery operating on the east coast of Queensland targets a variety of finfish
species in rivers, estuaries and nearshore habitats. Tropical sharks of the order Carcharhiniform make
up the majority of the catch in this fishery by weight, and are sold for their fins and flesh. The biology
and catch composition of these species is poorly known and is presently being investigated so that an
ecological risk assessment can be carried out, and the sustainability of the fishery determined. The
biology of species examined to date has been highly variable. The three most commonly caught
species of whaler shark appear to be quite productive, growing rapidly and maturing quickly. Two
other commonly caught whaler species are only caught as juveniles. Two species of hammerheads
caught by the fishery are slower growing, and have been severely depleted elsewhere in the world as a
result of overfishing. In Queensland they appear to be relatively common still, probably owing to the
population structuring and sexual segregation characteristic of these species. The biology of many
less-frequently caught species is still unknown and therefore of some concern. Demographic
population modelling will be carried out using the biological data collected to examine in detail the
response of each species to exploitation.
Poster Abstracts

Dynamics of ocean exchange and larval dispersal in Shark Bay, Western

Yasha Hetzel, Chari Pattiaratchi, Ryan Lowe
School of Environmental Systems Engineering, University of Western Australia

Shark Bay in Western Australia is a World Heritage Property renowned for its pristine natural
environment and the economic value of its prawn and scallop fishing industry, valued at up to $58
million per year. The scallop (Amusium balloti) fishery has experienced dramatic inter-annual
variability in catch, with actual catch levels often much lower than predicted. A possible explanation
for this is that changing environmental conditions, such as currents or temperature, cause recruitment
to vary from year-to-year. The mechanism for this, however, is unknown. Current research aims to
identify and predict physical oceanographic mechanisms for the year-to-year fluctuations in scallop
catch through collection of field measurements as well as hydrodynamic/larval dispersal modelling. A
brief overview of the research and initial field results are presented.

Climate change impacts on coral nutrition in the Ningaloo coral reef

Saskia Hinrichs, Anya M. Waite, Ryan Lowe, Jim Falter, Ming Feng, Nassos Vafeidis
University of Western Australia

Ningaloo Reef, Australia‟s largest fringing reef is under increasing pressure from climate change and
human impacts. Despite this, fundamental data on how coral reef ecosystems function are still sparse,
especially in regard to one of the most important aspects: their nutrition. Marine nutrients brought
across the reef by ocean currents are essential for coral growth, survival and calcification, as well as
for their reproductive success. Light is essential for the supply of energy and carbon to the coral.
Climate change leading to sea-level rise is likely to lead to a reduction in light intensity, as well as
changes in current speed and distribution, so, it is important to investigate what impact this will have
on the feeding behaviour of corals. The field work will be carried out in Cape Range National Park
and will consist of flume and field experiments. In the flume, uptake rates as well as metabolism rates
of corals are measured under different flow speed and light levels. In the field, environmental and
coral metabolism parameters will be sampled along transects of light and flow energy to determine the
impacts of environmental changes on nutrient supply and coral nutrition. In addition, corals will be
transplanted in habitats with different light/current regimes to simulate the impact of future climate
change scenarios. Preliminary flume experiments have been carried out (June 2009) to determine
whether picoplankton is an important food source and can be used for future experiments; however,
more work will need to be done to resolve this issue.
                                                                                        Poster Abstracts

Extractive reserves effectiveness to socio-environmental sustainability in
Milena Kiatkoski Kim1, Naína Pierri2
1 School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University. Townsville, QLD 4811.
  Socio-environmental Laboratory, Marine Studies Centre, Federal University of Paraná. PO Box 50002, Pontal
do Sul, Pontal do Paraná, Paraná, 83255-000, Brazil.

Marine Extractive Reserves (MERs) are Brazilian protected areas that can potentially match
conservation and development of local communities by granting exclusivity over resources and co-
management. This study aimed to evaluate to which extent marine ERs are achieving their objectives
by assessing changes and inferring tendencies of three sustainability dimensions (environmental,
socio-economic and governance) after the MER creation. The analysis was based on primary and
secondary information of two case studies. Results show that both areas are advancing towards
sustainability. The model is theoretically sound but governmental agencies have no sufficient means to
acknowledge their responsibilities satisfactorily. There are strong indicators that pressure on marine
resources decreased significantly after the reserve creation. Nevertheless, the environmental
sustainability depends on the consolidation of socio-economic benefits, which is currently the main
challenge for the MERs governance. It has been pursued through investments in capacity building and
management plans‟ reviews, but such initiatives are not likely to succeed unless all institutions are
able to fulfil their roles in the management.

Reassessing a purported communal shark nursery in Cleveland Bay,
Queensland Australia
Michael Kinney, Colin Simpfendorfer
Fishing and Fisheries Research Centre, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University,
Queensland , Australia

In light of the recent establishment of more discerning criteria for nursery area identification this study
seeks to reassess the status of communal shark nursery areas. Fisheries-independent sampling
commenced in January of 2008 in Cleveland Bay, Queensalnd, and is ongoing. Sampling is stratified
by depth and utilizes two gear types targeting large and small sharks to more fully understand species‟
distribution and spatial usage of the bay. Previous studies identified Cleveland Bay as a communal
shark nursery area which at least eight species of sharks were thought to share. Preliminary analysis of
catch data provides the first indication of possible niche separation among these species. In addition,
the routine capture of large mature sharks in the shallow waters of the bay using baited long lines
indicates that these shallow areas may not be providing as much refuge for juveniles from predation as
was previously hypothesized. Clearly the use of Cleveland Bay as a nursery by several shark species is
more complicated then previously thought. The results of this study should help improve our
understanding of shark nursery-area ecology and the links between juvenile and adult sections of the
population, which will be essential for creating proper conservation and fisheries management
strategies for shark populations. The outcomes of this project will also have important implications for
the management of inshore habitats and will provide a more inclusive ecological perspective on the
role of communal shark nursery areas.
Poster Abstracts

Heavy metal loading in a common opportunistic algae (Ulva rigida)
Jessica Miller1 and Catriona MacLeod2
    School of Plant Science, University of Tasmania
    Tasmanian Aquaculture & Fisheries Institute, University of Tasmania

Heavy metals are a major contamination issue in the Derwent with much of the estuary having levels
in excess of the ANZECC guidelines. Although several studies have been undertaken to assess metal
loading in recreational fish species and benthic invertebrates, to date there have been no studies
looking at the impact on macroalgae. Ulva rigida is a ubiquitous, opportunistic green macroalgae
which is widespread throughout the Derwent. It is commonly used for monitoring metal
contamination in estuaries, with recent studies focusing on using U. rigida as a bioindicator of Zn, Cu
and Pb loadings. In this study metal concentrations were measured and algal biomass estimated at 9
sites throughout the Derwent and Channel regions. This data was related to existing sediment loadings
and water quality data to examine spatial relationships. Preliminary results suggest strong differential
uptakes in metals and spatial gradients within the estuary and beyond. The significance of these
findings will be discussed.

Reproductive ecology of the kelp Ecklonia radiata
Margaret Mohring
University of Western Australia

The dominant habitat-forming species on shallow subtidal reefs in temperate Australia is the kelp
Ecklonia radiata. Like other Laminariales, E. radiata has a diphasic life cycle with microscopic
gametophyte and a macroscopic sporophyte stages. Despite E. radiata‟s critical role in the ecological
functioning of temperate reef communities, surprisingly little is known about its reproductive ecology,
and the ecology of its microscopic life stages. Most studies of the microscopic stages require spores to
be released. Sporulation methods were reviewed and synthesised, and an optimal technique for
inducing spores was devised. From the findings of this experiment, we recommend that future studies
use a standardised approach so that results can be compared across species and experiments. The exact
time when E. radiata plants release spores (sporulation) is currently unknown. Every week for one
year E. radiata plants will be treated to release spores, which will then be counted so that the time
when most spores are present in the tissue, and when these spores are released, can be determined.
This experiment began in September 2009 and in the nine weeks following spore densities have
declined to almost zero. Temperature, sediments, and light and nutrient levels influence the
recruitment of various species of Laminariales; however little information exists for E. radiata. Spores
will be settled in aquaria subjected to a range of conditions and the growth and survival rates of the
gametophytes will be recorded. Together these experiments will provide an understanding of the
reproductive ecology of E. radiata.
                                                                                           Poster Abstracts

The role of sedimentary environments in driving seagrass landscape

Jillian Ooi Lean Sim1, Kimberly Van Niel2, Gary Kendrick1
    School of Plant Biology. Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of Western Australia
    School of Earth & Environment, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of Western Australia

Seagrasses are flowering marine plants that have many important ecological and economic functions.
It has been suggested that high sediment loads are amongst the major causes of global seagrass decline.
However, we have a limited understanding of how sedimentary environments may drive seagrass
systems, and this gap is particularly visible in Southeast Asia. In order to fill this knowledge gap, we
examine the role of sedimentary environments in driving tropical seagrass landscapes patterns in Pulau
Tinggi, Malaysia, by using a spatial, multi-scale approach based on gradient analysis. Techniques
employed for this purpose include satellite imagery analysis for landscape-level patterns, drop and
towed video work for seagrass mapping at finer scales, supplemented by SCUBA surveys for ground-
truthing. Here, we present an outline of this study and present some results of a preliminary survey on
seagrass distribution in Pulau Tinggi.

Heavy metal levels in Greenback flounder (Rhombosolea tapirina)
Sarah Payne*1 Dan Minnucci*1 and 2 Catriona Macleod
    School of Zoology, University of Tasmania
    Tasmanian Aquaculture & Fisheries Institute, University of Tasmania

Heavy metals are a major contamination issue in the Derwent estuary. Industrial inputs over the last 70
years have resulted in significantly elevated levels of many metals including several of particular
concern for human health (eg. Hg, Cu, Pb, Zn, As). Previous studies have shown regionally high metal
levels in flathead, bream, trout and shellfish, with Ralphs Bay (RB) being an area identified as being
of particular concern. This study investigated metal loadings in greenback flounder from Ralphs Bay,
as compared with fish from a comparatively less polluted location, Cloudy Bay (CB). Flounder are a
key recreational target species, with significant fishing effort being focussed in RB. The results to date
show that Hg and As levels were significantly higher in RB than CB (although not above FSANZ
recommendations). These observations support previous suggestions that metal levels in Ralphs Bay
fish do not directly reflect the lower levels in sediment/water. Age determination showed that the fish
collected from RB were generally younger than those from CB; it is important to note that metal
accumulation will be strongly affected by age. Hg uptake appears to be strongly related to fish size
with an abrupt increase in levels apparent in fish greater than 23cm in length; possible explanations for
this are discussed. This preliminary data suggests that at present there does not appear to be major
health risk associated with the consumption of flounder from Ralphs Bay.
Poster Abstracts

The role of ocean dynamics on seagrass seed dispersal and recruitment in
Western Australia

Leonardo Ruiz Montoya
School of Earth and Environment, University of Western Australia

Seagrasses are a diverse group of marine angiosperms that create complex ecosystems and provide
different ecological services. During last decades they have been seriously affected by human
activities, either directly or indirectly. Scientists have lately looked into these ecosystems in order to
gain better understanding of their complexity and to protect them more efficiently. However most of
the reproductive studies have focused on vegetative growth, leaving aside sexual reproduction.
Australia possesses the greatest diversity of temperate seagrasses, and yet little is known of the fate of
seeds after being released. A hydrodynamic model will help define the trajectories that seeds of three
different families (Halophila, Heterozostera and Posidonia) take on the western coast. In order to
achieve the particle tracking within the model, we will quantify important physical characteristics (size,
volume, density, buoyancy) of seeds that will help us to understand the strategies that these families
use, filling a void in sexual reproduction and recruitment.

The puzzling sex life of Pocillopora damicornis…

Sebastian Schmidt-Roach
University of Tasmania and Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville

Pocillopora damicornis is a widely distributed reef coral with a complex and unclear life history and
population structure. Generally it is thought to produce brooded asexual planulae, and sexual larvae
through broadcast spawning. However populations on the Great Barrier Reef exhibit high levels of
genotypic diversity, consistent with predominantly sexual reproduction and recruitment despite the
fact that recent genetic studies showed that all brooded larvae of this species were produced asexually.
From an evolutionary perspective it is puzzling how P. damicornis can maintain genotypically diverse
populations that appear to be solely sexually derived and still invest vast amounts of energy into a
form of reproduction that is apparently not utilised. My project will take an in-depth look into the life
history of this species to resolve this apparent contradiction. I will examine how reproduction in P.
damicornis varies over time and at different latitudes. I present preliminary data based on
mitochondrial and nuclear DNA makers which suggests that P. damicornis consists of at least two
cryptic species with slightly different morphology. Interestingly the two morphotypes appear to have
different modes of reproduction, one that is more prone to release larvae after full moon and the other
releasing larvae following the new moon. The presence of cryptic species with apparently different
modes of reproduction may well explain why previous studies have failed to resolve the disagreement
between population genetic structure and reproduction. Overall my project will have a great impact on
our current understanding of evolutionary and ecological processes occurring in corals.
                                                                                       Poster Abstracts

Automated Underwater Vehicle “Sirius’ a sophisticated non-extractive
assessment and monitoring tool

Jan Seiler
University of Tasmania and CSIRO

Since the implementation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) imagery-yielding, non-extractive
assessment and monitoring tools have seen vast improvement. Different designs have their advantages
and disadvantages whilst image quality (resolution) is usually compromised by ease of deployment
and asset cost. The IMOS facility AUV „Sirius‟ operated by the Australian Centre for Field Robotics
(Sydney) is a highly-sophisticated multi-sensor platform that can manoeuvre in almost any
environment. In a survey in October 2008 „Sirius‟ was deployed over deep-water reefs off the SE
coast of Tasmania. Geo-referenced digital stereo image pairs, taken every second, were used to fine-
scale topography reconstruction. Topography features such as rugosity, slope, and aspect served as
habitat surrogates to explore Sirius‟ ability to automate habitat mapping. A relatively small training
dataset of representative images of different habitats was sufficient to predict the remainder of the
study area with >95% accuracy. The definition of habitat classes could easily be adopted to reflect
national habitat mapping initiatives such as SeaMap for Tasmania.

A need for a journey around zinc biogeochemistry

Marie Sinoir, Butler, Edward C.V. Bowie, Andrew R
IASOS and CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research

Zinc is a co-limiting micronutrient in seawater. Its distribution is nutrient-like, depleted at the surface
by biological activity, concentrations increase with depth. Zinc varies in the horizontal, as well as the
vertical. Concentrations in the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific decrease from the former to the latter
with phytoplankton uptake and physicochemical processes along the path of the main global
circulation. Precise and accurate determination of this micronutrient is challenged by the low
concentrations and different chemical forms in seawater. The current focus is on Flow Injection
Analysis combined with fluorescence detection (FIA-FL). It is a simple, robust, low-cost and portable
method allowing a direct measurement of zinc. Pretreatment of samples (e.g., by ultraviolet radiation,
acidification, extraction on resin columns) should help in determining more precisely the speciation.
Zinc is a co-factor in two relevant enzymes present in the marine microorganisms, Carbonic
Anhydrase (CA) and Alkaline Phosphatase (AP) implicated, respectively, in carbon and phosphorus
uptake. Working with different species of phytoplankton under several zinc concentrations will give
insights on CA activity. This enzyme is, through its effects on carbon uptake, critically important in
the context of global warming and ocean acidification. Cultures, once characterised for growth rate or
carbon uptake rate, will be subjected to different carbon dioxide concentrations. The phytoplankton
response under different CO2 and zinc conditions should prove valuable in assessing changes to their
ecosystem. The final aim is to create a biogeochemical model integrating the results from the
experiments for a better understanding of zinc biogeochemical cycling and prediction of possible
changes from human disruption of the ocean.
Poster Abstracts

Social mimicry of Pomacentrus moluccensis by Chaetodon aureofasciatus:
associative preferences and sensory systems

Jennifer A. C. Smith, Geoffrey P. Jones
James Cook University, Townsville

Many coral reef species are strongly associated with one another, although the benefits of such
associations are poorly understood. This study examined the common occurrence of juvenile
butterflyfish, Chaetodon aureofasciatus, within groups of lemon damselfish, Pomacentrus
moluccensis, on Acropora spp. corals at Orpheus Island, Great Barrier Reef. Given that both species
are yellow, I investigated whether the association is a form of mimicry. I also examined the strength
of choice by juvenile C. aureofasciatus for P. moluccensis and the underlying sensory mechanisms
used when making these choices. C. aureofasciatus was four times more likely to occur on corals if
groups of P. moluccensis were present. Patterns of abundance and behaviour conformed to
expectations for mimetic relationships. P. moluccensis is more abundant than C. aureofasciatus, and
is found in all areas occupied by C. aureofasciatus at both local habitat, and global distribution scales.
Review of the predators and diet of both species, identifies the association as a form of social mimicry
by eliminating all other possible forms of mimicry. Pair-wise habitat choice experiments determined
that C. aureofasciatus choose occupied habitats over empty ones, regardless of occupant or habitat
quality. While P. moluccensis were chosen over both conspecifics and P. wardi. A selection of trials
was repeated isolating for a single sensory system, visual, olfactory, or mechanical. Visual cues
resulted in the same choices as both senses, although the responses were not as strong. This indicates
that at this level of development, vision is the primary sensory system used by C. aureofasciatus in
maintaining the association.

Effects of Centrostephanus rodgersii and fishing on black-lip abalone
(Haliotis rubra)

Elisabeth Strain and Craig Johnson
School of Zoology, University of Tasmania.

The Tasmanian Haliotis rubra fishery supplies ~25% of the world market and, valued at ~$120 M p.a.,
is the State's most valuable fishery. Management of this fishery requires a robust understanding of the
interactions between H. rubra and other components of the temperate rocky reef ecosystem. We
examine (1) the nature of interactions between H. rubra and the invasive urchin (Centrostephanus
rodgersii) and (2) whether fishing of H. rubra leads to changes to benthic community structure.
Manipulative experiments showed that H. rubra had no detectable effects on C. rodgersii behaviour,
movement and growth. In contrast, introduction of C. rodgersii causes abalone to flee, seek shelter in
microhabitats, and negatively impacts on their growth. H. rubra would not venture into barrens
created by urchin overgrazing, irrespective of whether the urchin was present, suggesting that lack
food and/or shelter explains the absence of abalone on C. rodgersii barrens. This research suggests,
management of C. rodgersii to optimise the H. rubra fishery requires complete removal of urchins and
regrowth of barrens. Experimental removals of H. rubra resulted in overgrowth of encrusting algae by
sediment, filamentous and foliose algae and sessile invertebrates. Emergent abalone actively moved
away from areas covered in this habitat, affecting recruitment. These changes create a positive
feedback loop, because increased fishing renders a greater proportion of the benthos unsuitable for
abalone. Since heavy fishing of abalone can cause shifts to habitat types poorly conducive to abalone,
that management should consider the effects of fishing H. rubra on benthic habitat structure.
                                                                                     Poster Abstracts

Resolving issues of scale in the management of migratory marine species:
social resilience and the role of bridging organizations
Kristen Cheri Weiss, Helene Marsh, Mark Hamann
    School of Earth and Environmental Science, James Cook University, Townsville

One of the significant problems associated with natural resource management is the mismatch between
the scale of management and scale of ecological processes or units being managed. This scale
mismatch between institutional and ecological scales can contribute to a decrease in social-ecological
resilience through ecosystem mismanagement and resulting decrease in human well-being. Co-
management has been established as one method of managing marine resources across scales, but
„scaling up‟ management from community to regional and international levels has proven difficult due
to weak cross-scale linkages. Some authors suggest that institutional redundancy and diversity can
enhance social resilience in a governance system, much as ecological redundancy is thought to confer
resilience in ecosystems. Our study examined co-management arrangements for dugongs and green
turtles in Australia at several scales, from the community to international level, to measure (1) the
linkages and knowledge flow across management scales; and (2) managers‟ perceptions of
institutional redundancy, and whether redundancy confers resilience to this particular management
network. Our results suggest that the main obstacles to effective marine species management in
Australia include the lack of clear institutional mandates and uneven information flow across scales,
resulting in negative effects (and perceptions) of redundancy. However, certain agencies may function
as “bridging organizations”, playing an important role in building cross-scale linkages and enhancing
social resilience. Stronger cross-scale communication networks that build greater trust and incorporate
multiple ways of knowing will aid in more resilient co-management arrangements that provide better
protection for marine wildlife while meeting the needs of all stakeholders.

Cross shore processer on the Rottnest Continental Shelf in Western
Thisara Welhena
School of Environmental Systems Engineering, The University of Western Australia

Near shore processes on the Rottnest Continental Shelf is of high concern due to rapidly growing
population of the coastal region in Perth which has meant a growth of coastal developments, increase
of ship traffic, recreational activities, waste water management, fishing and naval activities. Western
Australian Ocean is mainly influenced by southward flowing Leeuwin current, northward flowing
Capes current and strong equatorward wind stress.
This research focuses on understanding the mechanism of cross shore processes in the Rottnest
Continental shelf located in much shallower coastal waters , less than 50m of depth. Dynamics of this
particular coastal region is highly influenced by the transient cross shelf currents generated by density
variation across the shelf. Such temporal and spatial variation of density and salinity of sea water can
cause due to excessive evaporation caused by heat, turbulent mixing due to equatorward wind stress.
Further the interaction between menders of Leeuwin current and Capes current can also have an effect
on the process.

Subsurface current data is collected by Slocum gliders, deployed off Two Rocks in the Rottnest
Continental Shelf. Surface currents can be analysed by studying the surface currents monitored via
High frequency Radar In addition to that CTD mooring data along the two rocks can also be used to
understand the dynamics across the two rocks transit
CO2-induced effects on phytoplankton, krill nutrition and the Antarctic
food web
Cathryn Wynn-Edwards, Andrew McMinn, Patti Virtue, Andrew Davidson, Peter Nichols,
So Kawaguchi, Simon Wright
University of Tasmania
Ocean acidification due to increased levels of atmospheric CO2 is a newly recognized threat to marine
ecosystems. The Southern Ocean is one of the most vulnerable regions, due to the increased solubility
of CO2 in colder waters and the upwelling of CO2-rich waters in winter. Previous research has reported
changes in the composition and nutritional quality of primary producers at high pCO 2. Very little,
however, is known about the effects of elevated CO2 on phytoplankton at high latitudes or the flow-on
effects for biogeochemistry and trophodynamics. This study examines the effects of elevated CO 2 on
Antarctic primary producers and the ramifications of any changes in their availability and nutritional
value for Euphausia superba, the Antarctic krill. Krill are a keystone species in the Antarctic food
chain and, with declining catches of other taxa, are potentially a major source of protein in the future.
CO2-induced changes in the availability and quality of their food could greatly affect their survival,
production and growth in the future. Selected phytoplankton taxa will be grown at a range of CO 2
concentrations and their growth, C:N:P, protein, lipid and carbohydrate content determined over a
growth cycle. Abundant taxa in the Southern Ocean will then be grown at various CO2 concentrations
and fed to krill larvae and adults to determine changes in their survival, growth, grazing, assimilation
efficiency, dry mass and nutritional status (C:N:P, protein, carbohydrate, lipid content). Results will
provide the first vital insights into the effects of ocean acidification on the trophodynamics in
Antarctic waters.
EMAIL ADDRESSES OF PRESENTERS                                                     

This publication and funding for the Australian National Network in Marine Science is provided by
  the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.