Surveying experts to assess threats to marine species

Our latest research into anthropogenic threats affecting marine-associated fauna in Spencer Gulf (South Australia) has just been published! For the next 50 days you can download and read all about impacts to whales, dolphins, sea lions, fur seals, seabirds, shorebirds, sharks, rays, fish, cuttlefish, and sea horses for free here. This research formed part of a broader project investigating current and future shipping and port scenarios as a case study to investigate an integrated approach to management in Spencer Gulf.

Spencer Gulf is an important region for economic development in South Australia. It is also an inverse estuary home to iconic species and extensive biodiversity. Our study assessed the effects of anthropogenic threats to resident and migratory species in the region. We used surveys of experts to assess 27 threats against 38 threatened, protected and iconic species in the region; with the threats assessed either for individual species or for taxonomic and functional groups. Climate change posed the greatest overall threat across species. The greatest threats at a regional scale varied among different functional groups of organisms. Our findings provide a synthesis of key threats and vulnerable species. They also provide focus for future monitoring and threat mitigation efforts in the region.

More information: Robbins WD, C Huveneers, GJ Parra, L Möller & BM Gillanders (2017) Anthropogenic threat assessment of marine-associated fauna in Spencer Gulf, South Australia. Marine Policy 81: 392-400 (


Female western blue groper, Achoerodus viridis (Source: Graham Edgar / Reef Life Survey. License: CC BY Attribution-NonCommerical-ShareAlike)

Shortfin mako, Isurus oxyrinchus (Source: Patrick Doll / Wikimedia Commons. License: CC BY Attribution-NonCommerical-ShareAlike)

Short-beaked common dolphin, Delphinus delphis (Source: Wikimedia Commons. License: CC BY Attribution-ShareAlike)

Fairy tern, Sternula nereis (Source: JJ Harrison. License: CC BY Attribution-ShareAlike)