Results from a new dredging study in Western Australia’s Dampier Archipelago provide, for the first time, a framework for assessing likely impacts of dredging on coral populations, and for evaluating the timeframes and likelihood of population recovery from impacts.
In April 2014 and March 2015 studies of coral populations were undertaken at Enderby and West Lewis Islands in the Dampier Archipelago, outside the central Port of Dampier and largely unaffected by shipping or other port related activities.
The corals investigated in this study were Acropora millepora, Turbinaria mesenterina and massive Porites spp. (mainly P. lobata and P. lutea) because they were among the most common coral taxa on reefs of the Pilbara, and on many reefs globally.
For each species populations were carefully measured, mapped and tagged, then re-located and measured again one year later in order to compile measurements of colony growth, mortality and recruitment. In total 737 colonies were tagged and relocated.