About

I am a coastal ecologist with particular interest in seagrass biology. I aim to understand environmental requirements for maintaining healthy seagrass meadows. These are the foundation of healthy ecological communities, including dugong and turtle populations. I am interested in knowing what can impact upon seagrass meadow health and how we can most reliably detect these impacts. To this end, I am engaged in long-term monitoring and do the underpinning experimental research. I have extensive experience in localized impacts such as water quality and low light. However, I am increasingly exploring global-scale impacts and how these interact with local-scale stressors. 

 

Research Disciplines
Publications

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
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ResearchOnline@JCU stores 49+ research outputs authored by Dr Catherine Collier from 2007 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Department of the Environment and Energy - National Environmental Science Program (NESP) - Tropical Water Quality Hub (TWQ Hub)

Deriving ecologically relevant load targets to meet desire ecosystem condition for the Great Barrier Reef: a case study for seagrass meadows in the Burdekin region

Indicative Funding
$345,364 over 3 years
Summary
This project will derive ecologically relevant targets (ERTs) for water quality and sediment loads by: 1) defining seagrass desired state targets; 2) calculating water quality guidelines (light); and 3) calculating ERTs for terrestrially sourced sediment loads. Historical and new data collections will be used to derive ERTs via statistical models and eReefs (RECOM), and the seagrass sub-model in eReefs will be used to test ERTs. A framework for setting seagrass desired state will be developed for the entire GBR and water quality guidelines and sediment load ERTs will be quantitatively defined for the Burdekin basin where suspended sediments affect seagrass condition.
Investigators
Catherine Collier in collaboration with Matthew Adams, Megan Saunders, Mark Baird, Jon Brodie, Alexandra Carter, Michael Rasheed, Len McKenzie, Kate O'Brien, Carissa Klein, Robert Coles and Katherine Martin (TropWATER, The University of Queensland, Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority)
Keywords
Seagrass; Sediment Loads; Indicators; eReefs; Water Quality; benthic light

Department of the Environment and Energy - National Environmental Science Program (NESP) - Tropical Water Quality Hub (TWQ Hub)

Benthic light as ecologically-validated GBR-wide indicator for water quality: drivers, thresholds and cumulative risks

Indicative Funding
$18,000 over 3 years (administered by AIMS)
Summary
The project will develop a water quality indicator based on benthic irradiance (the amount of light penetrating to the seafloor). Using experiments and field data we will develop irradiance thresholds for measures of ecosystem health, and develop prototype guideline values. We will develop a new remote sensing algorithm of benthic irradiance, validated against open-water irradiance data. We will quantify benthic irradiance through the GBR, near-daily over 14 years, and assess region-specific drivers of trends including river discharges. Ur indicator can directly feed into Reef Plan report cards, irradiance as a limiting factor, and about cumulative risks in the context of coral bleaching.
Investigators
Katharina Fabricius and Catherine Collier in collaboration with Scarla Weeks, Murray Logan, Line Bay, Christian Lonborg, Marites Canto, Sam Noonan and Veronique Mocellin (Australian Institute of Marine Science, The University of Queensland and TropWATER)
Keywords
Water Quality Guidelines; Remote Sensing; benthic irradiance; Ecosystem Health; light thresholds

Department of the Environment and Energy - National Environmental Science Program (NESP) - Tropical Water Quality Hub (TWQ Hub)

Developing and refining biological indicators for seagrass condition assessments in an integrated monitoring program

Indicative Funding
$68,584 over 2 years (administered by Reef and Rainforest Research Centre)
Summary
Refinement of biological indicators for condition assessment is an immediate priority as highlighted in a recent review of the GBR Marine Monitoring Program (MMP). Seagrass carbohydrate content is an early-warning indicator of water quality impacts. Samples collected quarterly since 2008 will be analysed and used to establish baselines and optimize protocols for applying carbohydrates as an indicator for future monitoring. Furthermore, calibration formulae to convert seagrass percent cover, the principal condition indicator, to biomass will be developed allowing integration across programs critical for the Reef-Wide Integrated Monitoring and Reporting Program. This project provides excellent value for money because samples have been collected in-kind.
Investigators
Catherine Collier in collaboration with Len McKenzie, Katherine Martin, Lucas Langlois, Naomi Smith, Rudi Yoshida and Rahel Zemoi (TropWATER and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority)
Keywords
seagrass; Biomass; Water Quality; storage reserves; indicators

Department of the Environment and Energy - National Environmental Science Program (NESP) - Tropical Water Quality Hub (TWQ Hub)

Light thresholds for seagrasses of the GBR: a synthesis and guiding document for managing seagrass

Indicative Funding
$29,755 (administered by Reef and Rainforest Research Centre)
Summary
Light levels (ie water quality/turbidity) can be managed to minimise seagrass losses. Recent attempts to define threshold levels of light required to maintain GBR seagrass state has resulted in a spectrum of recommendations with no single definitive source document to guide regulation. We will compile the available information on light thresholds into a guiding document, which will become a key reference for managers and regulators to use in generating relevant water quality guidelines and conditions for developments such as dredging programs. It will also highlight research information needs and provide interim guidelines for immediate management application.
Investigators
Catherine Collier, Michael Rasheed and Katie Chartrand in collaboration with Carol Honchin and Adam Fletcher (TropWATER, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Ports North)
Keywords
Seagrass; Dredging; Light; Monitoring; Turbidity

Great Barrier Reef Foundation - Contract Research

Seagrass Growth and Diversity: Attributes of a Resilient GBR

Indicative Funding
$319,967 over 3 years
Summary
The 'Growth' attribute will be carried into Phase II for pilot-scale testing and incorporation into the Reef Resilience Index, while the 'Diversity' attribute will continue as a feasibility study. "Growth' will be predicted using the photosynthesis to respiration ratio (P:R), which indicates energetic status and seagrass populations at risk. The predictive capacity of the model will be tested through pilot-studies into P:R and other growth indicators. Diversity, including genetic and species diversity, show preliminary evidence they respond in the ways relating to climate change. This proposal includes the design of a monitoring framework and leverages off existing data sources to maximise cost-effectiveness.
Investigators
Catherine Collier in collaboration with Len McKenzie, Sven Uthicke, Michelle Waycott, Jent Kornelis van Dijk, Kate O'Brien, Matthew Adams, Stuart Phinn and Chris Roelfsema (TropWATER, University of Adelaide and The University of Queensland)
Keywords
Seagrass; Climate Change; Productivity; Growth

Department of the Environment and Energy - National Environmental Research Program - Tropical Ecosystems Hub

The chronic effects of pesticides and their persistence in tropical waters

Indicative Funding
$117,250 over 5 years (administered by Australian Institute of Marine Science)
Summary
Pesticides have been detected in the GBR and they inhibit photosynthesis, thereby reducing primary productivity and calcification in marine species. When plants and corals are stressed from increased sea surface temperatures, additional stresses from reduced salinity and at high irradiance the impact of secondary chronic pollution such as herbicides exposure can become additive or synergistic. Little is known of the fate and persistence of herbicides in the lagoon of the GBR. Understanding the half-lives of these compounds and the toxicity of their breakdown products in the tropical marine environment are critical data-gaps required to develop realistic ecological risk models.
Investigators
Andrew Negri and Catherine Collier in collaboration with Jochen Mueller, Peter Ralph and Victor Beltran (Australian Institute of Marine Science, TropWATER, The University of Queensland and University of Tasmania)
Keywords
Herbicides; Water Quality; Seagrass; Climate Change
Supervision

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

Completed
Collaboration

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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  4. Dr Michael Rasheed
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