On Brisbane’s doorstep are a diversity of spectacular and unique reefs, which is a truly unusual scenario given proximity to large metropolitan area. In a short boat trip from the coastline of bustling Brisbane’s hub of 2 million people, you can find subtropical reefs that host a diversity of tropical and cold water marine species.
While these reefs may not be as extensive, diverse or well-known as the Great Barrier Reef, they are pretty special. The offshore site Flinders Reef, for instance, is home to 125 species of coral. Research shows that Moreton Bay’s inshore reefs have about half of the coral diversity of offshore reefs, as the corals that live here are more robust to tolerate water quality influences from the land.
Moreton Bay’s marine environments host the largest known aggregation of leopard sharks in the world, as well as seasonal aggregations of both manta rays and grey nurse sharks. There are even two coral species that feature Moreton Bay in their name!
The region’s waterways are under growing pressure from a rapidly increasing human presence, with the SEQ population expected to reach 4 million by 2026. Stressors such as habitat loss, nutrient runoff, boating, anchoring, overfishing, marine debris and climate change will have increasing consequences for reefs in the SEQ region. As such, long-term monitoring of these habitats is critical.