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IBOY Satellite Projects

Coral Reefs and Mangroves: Modeling and Visualization (website)

Mangroves and coral reefs are being destroyed or degraded at an alarming rate. The problem is exacerbated by the lack of communication between oceanographers, biologists and resource managers. This project concerns the use of computer technology to enable interaction between physical oceanographers, biologists and resource managers to help remedy this situation and to assist in the further understanding and sustainable management of marine resources. Dr. Eric Wolanski FTSE is leading the project. A number of projects have been completed and others are underway:

On-going Projects

1. University of Guam Project

The Objectives of this on-going research are:

  • To determine the classes and concentrations of coastal pollutants associated with watershed discharges of greatest concern to reef health, to collect quantitative data on physical and chemical characteristics of coastal waters affected by watershed discharge and apply these to developing integrated management schemes
  • To apply these to developing integrated management schemes
  • To assess societal costs of insufficient watershed protection measures as they affect reefs and associated marine resources
  • To determine if coral reef restoration activities are practical if coupled with watershed restoration efforts and
  • To make this information readily accessible to stakeholders as a means of affecting appropriate environmental policy.

Completed Projects

2. KEPCO Mangrove Sequestration Project.

A major research agreement was signed in late 1995 between AIMS and two Japanese companies, the Kansai Electric Power Company Inc. (KEPCO), and its subsidiary Kansai Environmental Engineering Center Co. Ltd. (KEEC). The three organizations will share scientific information and relevant technologies during the course of the research project. The joint research project will study the production and transport of organic carbon in mangrove and coastal areas in the Hinchinbrook Channel for the first two years of the project, and then in a similar, but more disturbed ecosystem in Sawi Bay, Thailand. The research will evaluate the role that tropical ecosystems play in fixing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide, with or without serious human disturbance.

This research represents an important new step in understanding the role of tropical ecosystems in a regional and global context. Given the growing urgency of problems confronting coastal ecosystems worldwide, the Institute is seeking to make the strongest possible contribution to an understanding of these important natural systems and the effects of human impacts on these areas.

The main outputs of this project are:

  • Special issue December 1998 of Mangroves and Salt Marshes. "Carbon Fixation and Storage in Mangroves" Guest editor: T. Ayukai
  • Contribution to the special issue Phuket Marine Biological Center Special Publication 22 (2000). "Carbon Cycling in a Tropical Coastal Ecosystem, Sawi Bay, southern Thailand." 86pp, edited by B. Brown and P. Limpsaichol.
  • New book: E. Wolanski (ed). (2001). Oceanographic Processes of Coral Reefs: Physical and Biological Links in the Great Barrier Reef. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, 356pp. A CD with extensive visualization accompanies this.

3. IBM Modeling and Visualization Project

In early 1994 an oceanography team from AIMS merged forces with technology giant IBM, to improve management of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. With a $1.4 M supply of computing power and excellent IBM visualization software, AIMS has in a short period of time produced computer visualizations which break down the barriers of communication between oceanographers, biologists and resource managers. Formally called "Coral Reefs and Mangroves: Modeling and Management (CRAMMM)", the AIMS/IBM project will also benefit Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia who are seeking to protect their coastal environments. A major output of the research is the publication of the book E. Wolanski (2001) Oceanographic Processes of Coral Reefs: Physical and Biological Links on the Great Barrier Reef. CRC Press. Boca Raton, Florida. 356pp. Details are available here.

4. Ecohydrology of the Serengeti ecosystem, Tanzania

A small but important spin off of the IBM project was the extensive use of computer technology to:

  • Explore historical hydrological, water quality and animal migration and animal census data
  • Develop a model predicting the onset of the annual migration of the large herds of wildebeest and zebras as well as their population dynamics from 1960 until 2000.

The findings are summarized in a review paper in the November-December 1999 issue of American Scientist (1999), 87, 526-533.


Animation (.avi)

-- Eric Wolanski

Faunal Biodiversity Values of Restored Rainforest (Queensland, Australia)

The restoration of forest cover to cleared land is an important environmental goal; however, conservation is not the sole impetus for replanting. In Australia, previously agricultural land is being planted with rainforest trees by agencies interested in conservation, small-scale cabinet timber plantations, and large-scale monoculture logging. The unassisted return of abandoned pasture to forest is another way of regaining tree cover. Our research as part of the Rainforest Cooperative Research Centre is examining the relative biodiversity values of these different methods of reforestation. We are using a set of 104 sites on the east coast of Queensland, Australia, to address many questions, including:

  • which methods of replanting result in the most 'typical' assemblages of rainforest plants and animals?
  • what is the relationship between plant richness and richness of colonising fauna?
  • does the on-site diversity of one group of animals (e.g. birds) correlate with that of others (herpetofauna, litter insects, mites)?
  • does replanting style affect ecological processes (seed predation, seedling recruitment, decomposition rate)?

The Flora and Fauna of Bass Strait Coasts and Islands

From 2001 - 2003 the Nature Conservation Branch of the Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment of the Tasmanian Government is surveying the extremely diverse, but poorly known, fauna and flora of the coasts and islands of the Bass Strait.

It is extremely important to document and monitor the biodiversity of islands. Their isolation from external species invasions makes them hotbeds of evolution often containing endemic species found nowhere else on Earth. At the same time, their isolation makes them extremely vulnerable to negative effects of human activities. The isolated fauna and flora have not evolved to withstand pressures of species invasions that can occur naturally for continental species. Therefore, species invasions resulting from human activities such as trade and travel can have especially devastating impacts on island species and habitats.

"The Flora and Fauna of the Bass Strait Coasts and Islands" is surveying the vascular flora and the fauna on the numerous islands in the stretch of water between Tasmania and Australia, including the archipelago of the Outer Furneaux Islands. The region is at the junction of two major sea currents and occupies several distinctive marine provinces. It also lies at the eastern extremity of a southern Mediterranean climatic belt. The confluence of these several ecological regions cause the area to be an ecological "transition zone” and, as is characteristic of transition zones, it is rich in biodiversity values. The transition zone between the ocean eco-tones contributes to high biomass of seabirds and marine fauna, while the climatic transition zone contributes to a diverse assemblage of vascular flora and plant communities. Furthermore, due to the palaeoecological history the region is a fascinating area in which to study the interactions of fire, humans, sea level rise and isolation on the flora and fauna of southeastern Australia. There are species endemic to Bass Strait and clearly a number of as yet undescribed species and interesting morphological variants.

The project is documenting prospective areas of high biodiversity values by combining flora and fauna expertise in field expeditions. This study is contributing much to the understanding of human influences on island biodiversity.

The first publication of the project, a product of three year survey, “One Hundred Islands: The Flora of the Outer Furneaux," (cover illustration) reveals that while not all the Outer Furneaux Islands are pristine and many bear some marks of human influence, there are still others that are relatively untouched. Even more encouraging is that there are islands that demonstrate that human existence can coexist with important natural values.

Results will continue to be published over the next two years in a series of books and scientific papers. The project leaders are publicizing the findings of the project through lectures to the public, specialist groups and students.

Harris, S., Buchanan A. and A. Connolly. One Hundred Islands: The Flora of the Outer Furneaux. Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment, Hobart 2001.

Press release:

-- Stephen Harris and Sally Bryant

Invertebrate diversity of southwestern Australian reefs

The project's objective is to research the diversity of invertebrate herbivores of rocky reefs in southwestern Australia. These reefs remain almost unstudied in comparison to their more celebrated tropical counterparts. As a result, even basic information, such as distribution and habitat preferences, of the organisms are at best poorly known. The main focus of this project is to research and document the distribution and habitat preferences of large invertebrate herbivores, but also investigating their interactions with other organisms. In so doing, the aim is to compile the distribution of species diversity (which can then be compared to current conservation efforts), and develop models that predict the effects of this diversity on reef functioning.

The research has recently been highlighted in Australian Geographic.


-- Mat Vanderklift

Mt. Weld Altitudinal Transect (website)

A joint Forestry Tasmania/DPIWE (Department of Primary Industry, Water and Environment) Nature Conservation Branch project is examining changes in biodiversity of invertebrate fauna with altitude and over a long-term time scale.

An altitudinal transect has been established with permanent floristic plots every 100 meters in altitude from 100 meters to 1300 meters above sea level. Along the transect, a wide range of biological and topographical observations are made on a regular basis. As part of the Warra LTER invertebrate program, pitfall and Malaise traps to collect invertebrates, have been set up at each 100 meters increment. These are monitored monthly.

Monitoring will continue for one year to obtain a baseline database of invertebrates. Based on this data set selected invertebrate groups will be intensively studied to obtain indicators of change. Monitoring of other biological parameters will continue and be linked to the invertebrate project. A poster display was presented to the Australian Entomological Society Scientific Conference to be held in Sydney in September 2001 to draw attention to the project. A paper on the baseline data presented will be presented at the 6th Invertebrate Biodiversity and Conservation Conference in Australia December 2002.

--Dick Bashford

Dr. Bashford is also an affiliate member of the IBOY Core Network Project, GLIDE – Global Litter Invertebrate Decomposition Experiment. A site description on the Warra GLIDE site can be found at

New Zealand Birds (website)

Edward O. Wilson wrote in his book on biodiversity that we should "aim at nothing less than a full count, a complete catalogue of life on earth," the web site, New Zealand Birds, is a small contribution to that effort.

The objective in developing this web site is to bring New Zealand's birds, and the dangers that imperil them, to the attention of the world. Also, the website emphasizes that New Zealand is the land of birds, even though what New Zealand has now is a mere remnant of its earlier fauna. This project intends to have all the endemic birds fully listed, articles written and graphically illustrated by the end of the year 2002. More than two-thirds have already been done.

A homestay and the birdwatching program are being developed in conjunction with the directory of New Zealand's birds. Eco-tourism is a very useful tool in conserving and drawing attention to the natural world. Birdwatching has a very important educational function. Once birds and their habitats become economically important then there will be more emphasis placed on conserving them.


-- Narena Olliver

The Representative Areas Program (RAP) - protecting the biodiversity of the Great Barrier Reef (website)

During 2001-2002, research institutions, museums, universities, government organizations and private consultancies across Queensland are collaborating with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to develop an innovative approach to managing the biodiversity of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), called the Representative Areas Program (RAP). The RAP aims to increase protection of the biodiversity across the entire World Heritage Area (the largest marine protected area in the world and an area half the size of Texas), by establishing a network of highly protected areas that includes examples of all known habitats and communities. Some 70 broad scale areas (termed bioregions) have been mapped; each bioregion possesses distinct biodiversity and ecosystem processes, many are ecologically connected and together they support a divers and functioning GBR. Importantly, in selecting the representative areas network, RAP considers not only the biology and ecology of all bioregions, but also takes social, economic and cultural information into account and will engage in major public participation programs to select areas that best protect the biodiversity while minimizing negative impacts on existing users.

The program has a number of discrete phases:

  • 1999 - develop map of bioregions across the entire GBR
  • 1999-2000 - develop/refine the analytical tools for identification and selection of the reserve network
  • 2000-2001 - collate social, economic & cultural data and gain public acceptance of the RAP approach
  • early 2001 - identify the potential networks of candidate area and seek public comment
  • late 2001- assess social/economic/cultural/practical implications to refine candidate areas
  • early 2002 - select network(s) of highly protected areas and prepare draft zoning plan
  • mid 2002 - release the draft zoning plan for public comment
  • late 2002 - finalize the zoning plan and seek Parliamentary approval

There are already products from RAP that deliver new information on biodiversity, which are also useful for the planning and management of the GBR, including:

  • a map of bioregions of the GBR
  • several analytical tools ('Marxan' and 'Trader') that assist in selecting network options for representative areas

Expected product in 2001 and 2002 will include:

  • maps of 'candidate area potential', based on the 70 bioregions (early 2001)
  • a new statutory zoning plan for the GBR comprising a network of highly protected areas (late 2002)
  • a series of technical reports detailing the methods and outcomes of RAP (late 2002)

For detailed information on RAP including a map of the bioregions, see GBRMPA web site:

A booklet/brochures on RAP are available from GBRMPA (email:

-- Jon Day, Leanne Fernandes


Tasmanian Earthworms

A CD-ROM on "Tasmanian Earthworms" is now available that includes a comprehensive introduction to biology/morphology/reproduction, plus a revision of the megadrile families of the world. This 800 page monograph with 222 figures would be of value to ecologists, taxonomists, teachers, and students involved in this field of study, particularly those in Australia but also workers from other regions of the Globe.

The monograph includes background information, a comprehensive introduction to study methods, and describes 228 species in 38 genera belonging to 4 families of earthworms from Tasmania. Prior to 1997 approximately 55 species were known while in the three years to 2000 studies by the author had almost doubled this to 95 species comprising: 69 natives, 1 new-endemic, 23 exotics and 2 translocated mainland endemics. The current account makes new combinations and adds 136 new native taxa, several with interesting morphological adaptations never before seen, to nearly triple the total of Tasmanian endemics to 202 species in 24 genera. This biodiversity compares with species totals of approximately:

  • 48 from Britain and Ireland
  • 78 from Japan
  • 160 from North America and Canada
  • 174 from Myanmar
  • 180 from France
  • 192 from New Zealand
  • 350 from the Indian subcontinent
  • 350 from mainland Australia

Previously known species are fully revised, some are placed in synonym, a few are restored, and in two cases, neotypes are designated. Tasmania, an island state about the same size as Ireland, Sri Lanka, or Hispaniola, can now claim the first earthworm described from Australasia viz. Megascolides orthostichon (Schmarda, 1861), the first Australian report of Lumbricus terrestris Linnaeus, 1758, a new littoral species of Pontodrilus Perrier, 1874 with an argument for Australian endemicity of this genus, as well as the first well known loss of a native species from the World fauna due to the extinction of Hypolimnus pedderensis ­ the Lake Pedder Earthworm. All 18 megadrile Oligochaeta Families of the world are reviewed and revised in order to place Tasmanian genera in the context of the global fauna. The long anticipated "missing-link" of Octochaetidae in Australia is newly determined, e.g. Octochaetus ambrosensis (Blakemore 1997). No endemic Acanthodrilidae or Octochaetidae occur in Tasmania as are found on both the North and South Islands of New Zealand and in northern Australia. All Tasmania's earthworms belong to the Megascolecidae s. strict. A new Family is proposed in order to remove a 'troublesome' and 'puzzling' element, the genus Exxus Gates, 1959 that complied with the Octochaetidae except that its two pairs of prostates had the apomorphic racemose state, and which was placed by disparate authors in either a restricted Megascolecidae or an expanded Acanthodrilidae, although it actually complied with neither. Presumed to be an Australian genus, the present study concludes that it is most likely from Central America (possibly around Puerto Rico). The fresh classification presented, like more previous ones, owes much to the 'Classical System' originally devised by Michaelsen (1900, 1907, 1921, 1929), presented in its final form by Stephenson (1930), and modified by Lee (1959), Gates (1959, 1972), and Sims (1966, 1982).

The price for the "Tasmanian Earthworms" CD-ROM is AUS$100, US$55, or £UK38. There are special prices for schools, to non-institutionalized students, and for CSIRO ­ Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. Details of these are available on application to the author. All prices include tax but there is an additional postage and handling fee of AUS$10 per CD (or equivalent currency) that needs to be added to invoice totals. PC format is Microsoft Word '97 or higher, the ability to read CDs and to view GIF/JPEG files. A complementary DELTA/INTKEY interactive computer guide to the species is also available for distribution to accompany the CD-ROM monograph. Enquiries in the first instance should be made to the author: Rob Blakemore PhD, P.O. Box 404 Kippax, Canberra ACT 2615 Australia. Telephone: + 61 2 6278 5610 Email:

-- Rob Blakemore

Last updated December 4, 2002

IBOY took place during 2001 and 2002 and is now completed. Information on the projects, activities and products that took place during IBOY are available on these pages. Many of the projects are still continuing their research and education activities and links to their homepages can be found on the project pages.

For more information on on-going activities of IBOY's parent organization, DIVERSITAS, see

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