Protecting the reefs coastal frontier

Ocean Health

Protecting the reef's coastal frontier

Be part of one of the longest running mangrove forest studies in Australia.

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The facts

Why the research is important

Why the research is important

To preserve the Great Barrier Reef, we need to understand and protect the mangroves.

Recent damaging storm events demonstrate how Australian coastal habitats can be altered and severely impacted in an instant. But other impacts, like land clearing, use of pesticides and global climate change are more pervasive by occurring slowly over many years. These incremental and chronic pressures weaken and alter natural ecosystems, lowering their resilience, and significantly reduce their capacity to respond to change. Until now, we have had few ways to measure and monitor these longer-term responses and consequences; yet managers and scientists need expert knowledge of the extent of natural habitats, their condition and how they are changing.


Mangroves are super carbon storage

This project will provide invaluable baseline information on the health of one of Australia’s iconic estuarine systems. Mangroves play a crucial role in protecting coral reefs by buffering shorelines from severe cyclonic storms and floods, and filtering runoff—earning them the apt title of ‘kidneys of the coast’. Without mangroves, the reef would not be able to exist as we know it. The survival and long-term sustainability of these iconic natural ecosystems are intimately linked. Protecting the Great Barrier Reef from increasing human pressures means we must pay special attention to the condition of coastal mangroves. The Daintree region is recognised worldwide as Australia’s exotic wet tropical wilderness region—teeming with natural wonders amidst widespread, pristine rainforests and lush mangroves. And, the plan is to keep it that way. Comparatively, the Mackay region is heavily modified by agriculture and urbanization which place pressure on mangroves habitats, but make the ecosystem services provided by mangroves even more important for maintaining the health of the Great Barrier Reef.  Comparing the natural and human influences on mangrove health in these two locations will provide important information to assist with managing mangroves into the future with the aim of enhancing mangrove conservation and preservation on the Great Barrier Reef.

About the research area

Location 1: Daintree River, North Queensland. Location 2: Mackay, North Queensland, Australia, Australia & South Pacific

Daily life in the field


This is a summary:

The Scientists


MangroveWatch Director

ABOUT Jock Mackenzie

About 15 years ago Jock discovered how truly amazing and useful mangroves are and since then he has developed a passion for their conservation and protection. He’s continually surprised by the fascinating complex interactions that occur in this environment and the functional benefits they provide to people in coastal areas. His main interests are in developing an increased awareness of how people influence mangroves, the processes that detract from their capacity to provide the ecosystem services upon which we rely, and what we can do to reduce those threats.


Accommodations and Food

Accommodations and Food


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