A behind-the-desk look at the work of GHHP’s Science Team
While the data contained in GHHP’s annual Report Card may look simple enough when reduced to an easy-to-read, four-page leaflet, you can guarantee the process required to do so is quite the opposite. We chatted to Dr Mark Schultz and Mac Hansler from GHHP’s Science Team about their role in producing the report card and how they synthesize the hundreds of measurements, grades and scores collected each year.
WHO COLLECTS THE DATA EACH YEAR AND HOW?
Mark: The data used to create the Report Card is collected by the Port Curtis Integrated Monitoring Program (PCIMP) and contractors engaged by GHHP including AIMS (Australian Institute of Marine Science), James Cook University (JCU) and CQUniversity. Data collection for the 2022 Report Card began in July 2021 and concluded in June this year with repeat sampling used ensure consistency between years. For 2022, the team collected data for seven environmental, eight social and nine economic indicators. These new measurements will then be combined with previous data for mangroves and Indigenous cultural heritage to calculate the final scores and grades for 2022.
HOW DO THE FINAL SCORES AND GRADES GET CALCULATED?
MAC: Our contractors input all the data into GHHP’s Data Information Management System (DIMS), which enables them to calculate the scores and grades for each measure based on methods developed in conjunction with GHHP’s Independent Science Panel (ISP).
It’s then up to Mark and I to review the resulting scores, grades and reports before the DIMS is used to calculate the overall zone and harbour scores.
For the Environmental component, the scores for each indicator such as seagrass or coral are aggregated upward from the measures to produce the final scores for each indicator and indicator group. The indicator groups, water and sediment quality, habitats and fish and crabs, are then aggregated to produce the overall Environmental score and grade. Apart from fish health, where a whole harbour score is produced, scores and grades are also generated for each of the 13 individual harbour environmental monitoring zones.
A single whole harbour score is produced for the Social, Cultural and Economic components. For Indigenous cultural heritage, scores and grades are produced for four management zones and as well as an overarching regional score. While all of these components are included in each annual report, new data for Social, Cultural and Economic indicators is only collected every four years.
WHO PUTS THE REPORT CARD TOGETHER?
Mark: Mac and I have the job of writing all the components for the Report Card, including the technical report, website material and draft report card text. We’re actually working on all of that at the moment in preparation for the 2022 Report Card launch early next year. We’ll then circulate the drafts for each of those components amongst GHHP’s Management Committee and Independent Science Panel before it all gets passed to our Communications Team to design and format.
BESIDES PREPARING THE ANNUAL REPORT CARD, WHAT ELSE DOES YOUR JOB ENTAIL?
MAC: While the Report Card and all its components does form a big part of our role here at GHHP, there’s plenty of other tasks that keep up busy during the year. We coordinate ISP reviews of all report card projects, review reports and manage the different science projects GHHP conducts during the year, meet with the wider regional report card network, manage the DIMS system and ensure that all project results get communicated to the community and our stakeholders through the various products and publications we produce. We’re currently preparing for the final ISP, Management Committee and Partner meetings of the year, where we’ll deliver all of the 2022 Report Card results.