Coral reefs face a growing number of threats, from climate change and storm damage, to sediment and nutrient run-off. Join us in the water on the Great Barrier Reef to help scientists develop best-practice methods for coral recovery.
Coral reefs are under threat globally. Warming sea surface temperatures are leading to stronger cyclones which physically damage corals with massive wave action, and warmer waters also promote ‘coral bleaching’. In 2015 and 2016, the Great Barrier Reef saw back-to-back catastrophic bleaching events affect huge areas on this iconic World Heritage Area. Human activities such as coastal and inland development increase both sedimentation and nutrient run-off, which are harmful to corals as well. They can even lead to the outbreak of the Crown-of-Thorns sea star, which is a predator of coral tissues.
These multitude of impacts happening more and more frequently mean that reefs have less and less time to recover and regrow, leading to an ecosystem shift to algae-dominated environments. With this ‘macro’algae dominating the seafloor, new corals cannot settle and recolonize the area. Reef managers and scientists know that active intervention is needed to restore the reef. But what is the most effective way to go about this?
On this expedition, participants can get involved through scuba or snorkel activities. You will assist researchers in making baseline measurements of environmental conditions, actively removing algae, deploying coral recruitment (settlement) tiles, and assessing fish and invertebrate diversity and abundance. By joining this expedition, you’ll be at the forefront of active reef restoration science. You will assist researchers in experiments that aim to develop best practice methods for removing this macroalgae and allowing coral to regrow. You will be directly involved in filling in the gaps that will enable reef managers to make evidence-based decisions about active interventions that support the recovery of the Great Barrier Reef, and reefs all over the world.