We use the best available knowledge to manage the Great Barrier Reef and ensure it remains healthy for future generations.

Scientific information is one major source of knowledge that is contributed by a wide range of research institutions, government agencies, universities, commercial companies and consultants, stakeholders, Traditional Owners and community members.

We engage with research providers and major research programs through a number of long-standing formal relationships, including participation in relevant boards and committees, and formal membership in research teams, as well as through one-on-one communication between individual staff members and the scientific community.

Our science information needs

Our Science Strategy and Information Needs 2014-2019 sets out our future scientific information needs. It aims to ensure scientific activities are relevant, targeted to address critical management issues, and that scientific outputs are easily accessible.

The strategy draws on our Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2014 and strategic assessment that outline the Reef’s health, management and likely future, and is supported by a searchable register of detailed questions.

How we use the information

Our management is based on a comprehensive and up-to-date understanding of the Region – its values and the pressures affecting it. We use scientific information in:

  • Measuring impacts to the Reef (including cumulative impacts)
  • Identifying emerging risks to the Reef
  • Defining objectives (including targets)
  • Setting triggers for management intervention
  • Developing policy and management strategies and assessing performance
  • Providing expert advice
  • Making decisions (for example permits and environmental impact assessments)
  • Adaptive management
  • Raising awareness
  • State of the environment reporting
  • Developing community partnerships based on shared understanding
  • Preparing the Outlook Report.

Sources of information

We receive scientific information about the Reef and its management from a range of sources including:

Research programs

A large proportion of management-relevant science was generated through the following federal environmental research programs:

The National Environmental Science Programme commenced in January 2015. It builds on its predecessors — the National Environmental Research Program and the Australian Climate Change Science Programme — to support decision-makers to understand, manage and conserve Australia’s environment with the best available information, based on world-class science.

Research grants

The Reef Guardians Grant Program offers grants for research conducting in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park that aligns with our research needs.