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Understanding behaviour: The role of ability, values, knowledge, and perceptions in the behaviours of snorkellers at Turquoise Bay and Oyster Stacks, Ningaloo W.A.

Godwin, Danielle (2020) Understanding behaviour: The role of ability, values, knowledge, and perceptions in the behaviours of snorkellers at Turquoise Bay and Oyster Stacks, Ningaloo W.A. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

Snorkelling is a popular recreational activity, being particularly common in marine protected areas which strive to strike a balance between conservation and human use. There are ongoing concerns, however, that growth in snorkel tourism may increase pressures and impacts on popular sites such as the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. While previous studies have looked at ‘how’ snorkellers impact the reef, few have looked at behavioural drivers in order to understand ‘why.’ This study analyses how the key attributes of ability, values, knowledge and perceptions of snorkellers relate to their self-reported behaviours. Data was collected using an online social survey of visitors who snorkelled at two popular yet contrasting sites within the Ningaloo Marine Park (Turquoise Bay and Oyster Stacks), using a survey designed to capture the key attributes as variables. These variables were tested for association using Chi-square test and Spearman’s rank-order correlation or Cramer’s V. The results showed that overall, snorkellers who reported greater ability, pro-environmental values, and greater knowledge, were more likely to also report greater perceptions of damaging behaviour and fewer self-reported coral contacting behaviours. The strongest association was between values and behaviours, while the weakest association was between ability and perceptions. The results of this study indicate that respondents generally consider themselves to have strong ability, pro-environmental values and good knowledge whilst also reporting high perceptions of the impacts of damaging behaviours and engaging in few damaging behaviours. These findings are indicative of a pattern amongst the respondents and would benefit from in-water observation of snorkellers for further validation. This knowledge can help inform management approaches such as tailored messaging to target the normative belief that most people want to be seen to be doing the ‘right’ thing which, in the context of this study, means not impacting upon the coral reef.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Environmental and Conservation Sciences
Supervisor(s): Hughes, Michael and Kobryn, Halina
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/59289
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