Poster Australian Marine Sciences Association 2022

Predicting the Long-distance dispersal of mangrove propagules in the Great Barrier Reef (#467)

Gabriela Thompson-Saud 1 , Alana Grech 1 , Severine Choukroun 1 , Marcus Sheaves 2
  1. ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD, Australia
  2. College of Science and Engineering, James Cook University , Townsville, QLD, Australia

Dispersal and connectivity play crucial roles for mangrove forests, including replenishment and recovery following disturbance, maintenance of population structure at the scale of the distributional range of species, and supporting genetic diversity. This project will analyse the dispersal and connectivity of mangrove propagules in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) to improve understanding of metapopulation dynamics, population structure and to inform their management and conservation. Biophysical models that capture the hydrodynamic conditions of the GBR and the biological parameters of mangroves will be combined to predict dispersal and the results will be used in network analysis to measure connectivity. Additionally, a novel experimental approach to assess the wind-driven drift current in propagule dispersal will be performed (‘drift factor’). The drift factor is a correction used to account for depth-dependent current - a factor that is usually ignored in biophysical models but has a significant influence on propagule dispersal. Spatially-explicit scenario analyses will be conducted to understand potential changes to connectivity under future disturbance regimes. The results of this research will be the identification of key areas of propagule supply and potential changes in mangrove resilience under different management regimens.