Great Barrier Reef scientists and tourism operators team up to grow coral

An underwater brigade of ecologists, biologists and tour operators recently donned their neoprene”uniforms” and united off Cairns, Australia to verify the results of a four-year investigation Coral maintenance program which aims to protect valuable assets Great Barrier Reef sites against future extreme weather events.

Funded by the Australian Government Partnership Reef Trust and the Foundation of the Great Barrier Reefthe program is a joint partnership between University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Port Douglas scientists and team Wavelength Reef Cruises.

Speaking of opal reef after concluding a two-week expedition last Friday, lead UTS coral researcher and scientist Professor David Suggestett say it Coral maintenance program has been “An unprecedented success”:

“It’s been a year since we’ve been able to visit these specific reef sites and they look spectacular. We have had two years now of very good growing conditions. The coral looks very vibrant. We are seeing a lot more recruitment so it gives us a lot of positive encouragement that the reef sites (Coral Nurture) are recovering.

Suggestion added:

“The collective action of operators planting tens of thousands of corals means we can now begin to understand how, when and why coral replanting is successful. This is now fueling a new stewardship-based management for the Great Barrier Reef.

the Feed the coral The program began four years ago when John and jenny edmondsonboth marine biologists and co-owners of Wavelength Reef Cruises set out to help tourist operators build reef resilience after experiencing the 2016 bleaching event. They have since recruited five other Cairns-Port Douglas reef operators into the Coral maintenance program.

According to jenny edmonson:

“After the bleaching in 2016, it was hard to come here and see everything. We came up with ideas on how to have a cheap and quick way to plant large amounts of coral and thus bring the sites back to what We are now seeing a truly incredible percentage of coral cover just from planting and natural recovery.

the Coral maintenance program is simple and low-tech. Under the guidance of scientists, it relies on staff from reef tour boats to maximize their reef visits and tend to coral nurseries while tourists enjoy the wonders of the nearby Great Barrier Reef.

For more information, see the Coral Nurture Program Website.

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