Dive Australia’s Great Barrier Reef while helping Earthwatch scientists unravel the mystery of coral disease. Your work may be critical to protecting coral from disease.
Scuba divers from around the world come to the Great Barrier Reef, an Australian World Heritage Area, to explore its extraordinary diversity of animal and plant life. Over the past decades, however, disease has wiped out a significant area of the reef and threatens not only the remaining coral in the region but also other coral reefs in the Pacific and Caribbean. This disease, called black band disease, is poorly understood.
By joining this expedition, you’ll be at the forefront of international research on coral reef disease. You’ll live at the Orpheus Island Research Station, operated by James Cook University—actually inside the borders of the World Heritage Area. Your involvement, which will require scuba and open-water dive skills as well as specific certifications, will help Earthwatch researchers to assess how the reef is recovering from recent cyclones, any seasonal changes that may be going on, and the impact of light, temperature, and water quality on disease progression.
Working at a variety of dive sites, you’ll conduct underwater surveys by tagging and photographing diseased areas, which will be monitored over time to assess the condition of the coral. In the aquarium, you’ll set up and conduct experiments that measure light, temperature, pH, and nutrients of the water.
Note: To be eligible for this project, participants must complete and pass a commercial dive medical assessment performed by a SPUMS doctor prior to the beginning of the project. Visit SPUMS website to locate a doctor. The cost of the assessment ranges between AUD$200-AUD$300. For further information, please contact us.
Download diving requirements checklist.