Reef And Rivers Podcast

Reef And Rivers Podcast

Healthy waterways underpin the vibrant lifestyle, economy and environment of the Wet Tropics Region in Far North Queensland. They also underpin the health and well-being of Australia's iconic Great Barrier Reef. We talk to people from around the region to learn more about our waterways, the critters that call them home and the people and projects working to improve their health.

Episodes

December 5, 2023 21 mins

Micro invertebrates are tiny creatures that are invisible to the naked eye but form the basis of the food web in our waterways. Dr. Robert Walsh talks about the importance and diversity of microfauna for sustaining aquatic systems and reveals that their eggs can remain viable for up to 400-500 years, meaning that extinct species could come alive again if water is added!

 

 

 

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Australia loves its prawns so much that Queensland's aquaculture industry produces more than $200M of produce of each year, but is it sustainable? Kim Hooper, Executive Officer of the Australian Prawn Farmers Association, talks about the industry, how it works and how it minimises its impact on local waterways. 

 

 

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Millions of tourists come to north Queensland each year to experience the natural wonder of the Gre...

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Seagrass meadows play a critically important role in the reef ecosystem. They are nursery habitat for fish and prawns, they stabilise sediment and protect coastlines from erosion, they suck up and filter nutrients coming down from rivers into the reef lagoon, they absorb carbon and also help buffer the reef from pathogens and diseases. 

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The Great Barrier Reef is about the size of Japan or Italy and there are millions of dollars being invested in improving the runoff of water flowing off the land. How do we know if these reef projects are actually working? 

Fiona Barron is the coordinator of the Paddock to Reef Program in the Wet Tropics, which tracks progress against targets in Australia's Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan. 

 

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September 26, 2023 24 mins

Professor Mark Kennard discovered the Bloomfield River Cod in the early 90's whilst undertaking fish surveys as a research assistant. It is the only tropical cod in the world that has avoided predators by living in an 11 kms stretch of the Bloomfield River between two waterfalls.  

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Did you know that seagrass is the only plant in the world that is capable of fruiting and flowering underwater? This is just one of many fascinating facts shared by Dr. Samantha Tol in this week’s Reef & Rivers podcast. Samantha is a researcher at JCU and well known in the marine science world for her research into dugong and sea turtle poo. Her findings confirmed that dugongs and turtles are like the cassowari...

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The sugarcane industry is a highly visible part of the Wet Tropics landscape – if you drive between Ingham and the Daintree, you can’t miss it. Employing more than 4000 direct jobs and supporting another 1800, it contributes over $630 million to our local rural economies. However, since the health of the Great Barrier Reef has been in the spotlight, so too has the impact of the sugar industry on water quality.

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Nathan Waltham, Senior Principal Researcher at James Cook University, is an expert in coastal landscape ecology and processes. 

In this episode of the Reef & Rivers podcast Nathan talks about the importance of different wetland habitats, the pressures from urban development and the future fo restoration work. 

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This is the 8th annual Wet Tropics Waterway Health Report Card to be released by Wet Tropics Waterways to assess the health and condition of freshwater basins, estuaries, inshore and offshore areas of the Wet Tropics in Far North Queensland. 

Independent Chair Dr Greg Vinall explains some of the key findings in 2023.

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December 20, 2022 10 mins

If you’ve visited the Cairns Aquarium you’ll know that biodiversity and conservation education are a driving force behind their business model. In fact, raising awareness about the biodiversity in our world heritage-listed reef and rainforest underpins their entire philosophy.

With over 100,000 visitors annually, the Aquarium is in a unique position to educate and influence. Christine Jorgensen is a senior wildlife educator at the ...

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The Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project was an ambitious 4-year social change and reef water quality project, and has been described as a blueprint to accelerating progress towards achieving reef water quality targets.

The project had unprecedented engagement from the agricultural sector and resulted in 23,966 of hectares of land under confirmed practice change, and saved an estimated 73 tonnes of dissolved inorganic nitrogen from...

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Despite its name, the Johnstone River snapping turtle is no snappier than any other freshwater turtle – and is perhaps better known by its alias, the ‘bum breather’. According to turtle expert Alistair Freeman, this ability for cloacal respiration is thought to enable bum breathers to stay under water for prolonged periods to avoid predation, although this is still only theory.

Robust and adaptable, the Johnstone River snapping tur...

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October 19, 2022 8 mins

Mangroves and saltmarsh are important coastal ecosystems that help purify water, buffer coastal communities from extreme weather and provide fish nurseries for our recreational and commercial fishing industries. They’re also among the most efficient ecosystems in the world at sequestering and storing carbon – but are under threat from climate change as well as local pressures such as urban development, rubbish, pollution and weeds.

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They might look pretty – or at least, pretty harmless, but Australia’s ornamental fish trade can pose a serious threat to our waterways. Once an invasive is established, it makes eradication almost impossible, which means prevention is always better than cure.

In this episode we’re joined by freshwater fish biologist Mariah Millington to find out exactly what impact ornamental fish are having on our native species, as well as what ...

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September 20, 2022 16 mins

Tropical cyclones, though destructive, are part of the natural dynamics of the rainforest and reef. We often see their land-based impacts most vividly, but they also impact coral reefs and seagrass beds.

We catch up with Professor Steve Turton to find out how anthropogenic climate change is changing the frequency, intensity and location of cyclones, and what this means for reef and seagrass beds.

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September 6, 2022 17 mins

Equal parts fearful and fascinating, bull sharks have a reputation as strong, aggressive sharks and are one of the most common species that anglers are likely to encounter in the estuaries and inshore marine zone.

Nicolas Lubitz is a Ph.D candidate at James Cook University, and tracks bull sharks to find out where they travel and why. Join us to learn about the unique life cycles of bull sharks, whether they might be exhibiting nat...

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August 23, 2022 28 mins

When we think about waterway pollution, things like paracetamol and caffeine probably aren’t the first things that come to mind – but they’re among the alarmingly long list of pharmaceuticals and consumables that are literally passing through our bodies and into waterways.

Ecotoxicologist Dr Frederic Leusch joins us to talk about what’s turning up, where it’s turning up, and what it means for aquatic critters.

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The 2022 Wet Tropics Waterway Health Report Card was released today. A lot of complex science goes on behind the report, and it can get a bit heavy, so we asked our Independent Chair Dr Greg Vinall to break it down.

Join us, to learn about the good news stories and the areas in which we could be doing better; what’s impacting waterway health grades and what’s being done to mitigate threats; and how we’re increasing our ability to a...

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