Researchers find climate change indicators


A scuba diver using measuring equipment on kelp beds

NSW DPI researcher, Dr Tom Davis, testing the holdfast strength of kelp in Port Stephens. Photo credit: Meryl Larkin.


NSW Department of Primary Industries researchers have identified three important biological indicators that will act as early warning signs of climate-driven changes to NSW’s marine environment.

The researchers have published findings from field studies that show the health of rocky reefs in the state’s marine estate can be effectively measured by tracking the:

  • size and spread of kelp and coral habitats
  • diversity of fish populations
  • distribution of sea urchins.

The research team comprising marine scientists, DPI Fisheries compliance officers and Marine Park rangers studied marine ecosystems along 1,000km of the NSW coastline.

Team leader, Dr Tom Davis, said the findings had established a baseline health check for rocky reefs in the NSW marine estate. He added that the results would also provide valuable information for planning future projects to preserve and rehabilitate the state’s marine habitats.


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Page last updated/reviewed: 14 May 2020