Dataset: The Great Barrier Reef Long-term Chlorophyll Monitoring (1992-2009)


The chlorophyll monitoring under the Reef Plan Marine Monitoring Programme (Reef Plan MMP) is an extension from the Long-term Chlorophyll Monitoring Program, which was initiated by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) in December 1992 as a long-term water quality monitoring program. The chlorophyll monitoring has been managed by the Australian Institute of Marine Science since 1999 and is an important part of the AIMS water quality research and monitoring activities. Since 2005, the Chlorophyll Monitoring is a component of the Reef Plan Marine Monitoring Program, a responsibility of the GBRMPA under the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan. Sample analysis and data management has been undertaken by AIMS.\n The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is the largest contiguous coral reef ecosystem in the world. The biological productivity of the GBR is supported by nutrients (e.g. nitrogen, phosphorus, silicate, iron) supplied from a number of sources, including upwelling from the Coral Sea, rainwater, nitrogen fixation by cyanobacteria and runoff from the adjacent catchment. Freshwater runoff is the largest source of new nitrogen to the GBR, however, the nutrients used by GBR marine primary producers (phytoplankton, benthic algae, seagrasses and mangroves) come predominantly from recycling of nutrients already in the system. Water quality is one of the most important factors determining the long-term health of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). \n \n Increased nutrient availability, for example from human activity (e.g. agricultural runoff, soil erosion, discharges of sewage and aquaculture waste) usually leads to an increase in chlorophyll concentrations in coastal waters because of increased phytoplankton biomass. Phytoplankton can rapidly deplete nutrients to levels which would be difficult to sample and analyse directly. Concentrations of the plant pigment chlorophyll a (occurs in all marine phytoplankton) are a useful proxy indicator of the amount of nutrients incorporated into phytoplankton biomass. Chlorophyll a is today the most commonly used parameter for the monitoring of phytoplankton biomass and nutrient status, as an index of water quality.\n The data can be downloaded\n Data have been used for the e-Atlas: \n\n

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