Tag Archives: marine environment
Our Great Barrier Reef is never far from the news headlines. Its well-being, its future, ways to exploit and preserve it, all regular subjects of community discussion and public debate here in far north Queensland and across the nation.
It’s one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the only living thing on Earth visible from space. It’s bigger than quite a few countries – a network of complex but vulnerable ecosystems that sustains an abundance of marine life. It starts offshore of Bundaberg and parallels the Queensland coast up past the tip of Cape York in a marine park some 2300km long. 345,000 square kilometres, three thousand individual reefs and a thousand islands.
The statistics and the science tells us a great deal about the reef and the threats it faces. But that is an incomplete story, according to Iain McCalman. Iain has gotten to know the reef over many years, and he believes the Great Barrier Reef was created as much by human imagination as it was by natural processes. By considering human perceptions of and interactions with the Reef, we gain a more complete understanding of it, and of how to care for it.
Iain tells of the people drawn to the reef, often in life-changing ways, from Captain Cook and Matthew Flinders to castaway Ted Banfield and reef champions Judith Wright and John Busst – in his recently published The Reef – A Passionate History.
LISTEN to my interview with Iain McCalman here
Iain McCalman is a Research Professor in history at the University of Sydney and co-Director of the Sydney Environment Institute.
Martin launched 101 Animals of the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns this morning. It’s the latest in a series of field guides to the creatures of tropical far north Queensland put together since 2009 by Martin and his late partner Julia Cooper.
All the birds, mammals, fish, corals & reptiles you’ll see on the Reef are illustrated and there’s information and stories about them. It’s about to become available at tour operators and book shops in Cairns and Townsville, and will be available online here
LISTEN to my interview with Martin here
You don’t have to go very far in FNQ to find mangroves. Queensland is home to almost half of Australia’s mangrove areas, and a fair slice of that is here in far north Queensland. They’re not the gentlest of places – stifling hot, teeming with mozzies and sandflies, and there’s a good chance that slide mark in the mud was made by a crocodile who’s had an eye on you for a while now.
Mangroves are not everyone’s cup of tea – but I love them. Great for a get away from it all wander, and if you go with some info on just how these plants live in such harsh conditions, it’s a fascinating journey.
Mangroves are various types of trees up to medium height, and shrubs, that grow along our coasts in saline sediment habitats. The plants live between the high and low tide lines, where trees ought not flourish. But these species have adapted to a tough environment and play a really important role in the life of our sea creatures. About 70 per cent of the fish and seafood we eat uses mangroves for breeding or shelter.
LISTEN Click on the red arrow to hear ABC Far North wildlife correspondent Martin Cohen explain why mangroves exist, how they work and why they’re important.