Having the best available information for decision making is essential to high quality, scientifically based management of the Marine Park. The Authority has a strategic and coordinated approach to information acquisition, management, analysis, interpretation, dissemination and application.
The Authority is a Registered Research Agency under the Australian Industry Research and Development Board and can conduct and manage research. However, as the Authority is a management agency, the majority of research is carried out by research institutions such as the CRC Reef Research Centre (CRC) and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS).
Some research and monitoring publications are also available.
Purpose of Research
Scientific Research is needed to:
- Ensure that decision making is supported by the best available information
- Increase our understanding of the natural variability of the Great Barrier Reef’s ecosystems and their response to natural or anthropogenic disturbances
- Provide accurate and timely scientific information and advice for Park management, including reporting on the state of the Great Barrier Reef
- Provide information systems and services that meet the needs and priorities of the organisation
- Achieve efficiency gains through the strategic and effective application of information technology
- Integrate and cooperate on information with other organisations with an interest or role in the management of the Marine Park and the World Heritage Area.
If research has been approved in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, researchers are requested to forward to the Authority or the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service a report on field work undertaken, including:
- A detailed list of specific research sites at the reefs or other locations visited (incorporating a map)
- Details of the names and quantities of specimens collected
- The location of the raw data collected
- Details of any reports or publications arising from the permitted research, either published or in preparation
- Implications for management of the Marine Park.
The details of this report are recorded on a computer database which, along with existing resource information, provides important data necessary for the planning and management of the Marine Park.
Research Ethics Committee
To address increased community interest and concern over research issues, the Authority established a Great Barrier Reef Research Ethics Committee on 19 March 1997, to ensure a more transparent and accountable research process. The Committee advises whether research proposed in referred permit applications constitutes reasonable use of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the World Heritage Area.
Terms of Reference
The Committee advises the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority on:
- Ethical aspects arising from research activities in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and World Heritage Area
- Criteria for the determination of manipulative and/or intrusive research which has ethical implications
- Research permit applications, assessment documentation and assessment reports involving research referred on the basis of meeting one or more of the referral criteria. This includes research funded and/or conducted by, or on behalf of, the Authority
- Actions and measures to ensure that the ethical review process provides adequate consideration of relevant issues.
Research Ethics Committee Membership
The Committee consists of five members including:
- A community specialist in heritage and conservation
- An expert in experimental design not involved in reef research, but with knowledge of marine ecosystems
- An ethicist/philosopher with expertise in the application of ethics relevant to natural resource management situations and environmental research
- A person reflecting the broad interests of the community in the Great Barrier Reef
- A senior officer of the Authority with knowledge of reef management, policy and procedures.
Although the Committee does not represent any particular group, it can receive advice through the appointed independent Chair. The Committee may also from time to time invite external experts to review aspects of matters where additional expertise may be required.
Because of the need for rapid consultation, the membership of the Research Ethics Committee consists of people who can be generally available at relatively short notice in the Townsville Region.