Australian Marine Parks

Choukroun S, Harrison HB, Hoey As, Pratchett MS (2021) Coral Sea - Coral Reef Health Project: In situ measurements of water temperature and current flow. Report to the Director of National Parks. Australian Government, Canberra.


Executive summary

The Coral Sea Marine Park is potentially well-connected to adjacent
biogeographical provinces owing to westward flowing jets of the Southern
Equatorial Current, more specifically, the north Vanuatu jet and the New Caledonia
jet. However, patterns of connectivity for the Coral Sea are poorly understood due
to i) the lack of long-term measurements of water circulation and oceanographic
conditions and ii) the inherent constraints in existing hydrodynamic models.
Critically, the development and improvement of both biophysical and underlying
hydrodynamic models is fundamentally reliant on observational data, requiring in
situ measurements of environmental conditions over extended periods at a wide
range of locations.

A total of 84 Marotte HS (high sampling rate) drag and tilt current meters were
deployed during the course of this study, mostly within the Coral Sea Marine Park
(CSMP), providing time series measurements for flow velocity and direction, as well
as temperature. Importantly, separate field trips were undertaken to ensure timely
deployment of current meters at select reefs (mainly, Osprey and Bougainville
Reefs) to record environmental conditions throughout the critical summer period
(December – February).