Hervey Bay marine biologist Ian Butler will discuss his research on the historical ecology on the coral reefs.
Hervey Bay marine biologist Ian Butler will discuss his research on the historical ecology on the coral reefs. Contributed

Wonders of reef to be revealed at talk

THE past, present and future of Hervey Bay's coral reefs will be up for discussion at a Wildlife Queensland presentation on November 8.

Hervey Bay-based marine biologist Ian Butler, who spent nine years working in Cambodia, Papua New Guinea and the US, will discuss his research on the historical ecology of Hervey Bay's coral reefs and how they have coped with floods and other environmental "stresses" over the past 6500 years.

Although not as rich in different types of species as the Great Barrier Reef, Wildlife Queensland Fraser Coast branch member Carol Bussey said Hervey Bay's reefs, from Scarness to Gatakers Bay, still contained a large variety of coral species that needed to be protected.

"Coral reefs provide habitat for marine creatures such as fish, octopus, sponges, nudibranchs and many other species and, in fact, artificial reefs are created in some places to increase fish habitat and tourism opportunities," she said.

Ms Bussey said natural disasters, pollution and global warming posed the main threat to the coral.

"These corals have to contend with a lot of stress; with storm damage, contaminated storm water run-off going straight into the Bay, and worst of all, damage due to sediment deposited when the Mary River floods," she said.

"On top of these, the new stress of global warming has been added.

"Once the temperature of the ocean climbs above 32 degrees Centigrade, the coral begins to 'bleach' and die."

While local environmental groups are currently revegetating the banks of the Mary River, leading to improved water quality and less sediment smothering of the coral, Ms Bussey said Fraser Coast residents could also play a small part in saving the region's coral.

"We also need to ensure that pollutants are minimised in urban stormwater.

"In fact, it would be best if we attempted to mimic nature and allowed the stormwater to be filtered through artificial urban wetlands to be purified before it enters the sea."

The presentation will be held at the Arts and Crafts Village, at the corner of Bideford and Colyton Sts, Torquay on Saturday, November 8, at 2pm.

Phone Carol on 4129 5979.



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