In 2019, the Derwent Estuary Program (DEP) engaged IMAS to assess the functional status of inshore temperate reef ecosystems within the Derwent estuary.
The project was intended as a starting point to better understand how rocky reefs change over time and as a result of different pressures within the environment. Within the context of the planned expansion of salmon farming in Storm Bay the aim of the project was to examine whether rocky reef communities could be used as a biological indicator of nutrient availability.
To carry out this assessment, researchers used the recently developed rapid visual assessment (RVA) methodology (White et al. 2021). The application of RVA surveys has provided a benchmark from which any future change in the functional status of reef ecosystems within the Derwent estuary can be measured. Project outputs highlight the potential use of RVA methods in ongoing monitoring programs for determining changes in nutrient availability and other environmental pressures on rocky reef ecosystems.