Western Australian coral reef, unique new research


This 2013 video from the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is called Scuba Diving with an Amazing Sea Cucumber.

From the Science Network Western Australia:

Rare chance at never-before-studied Kimberley reef

January 4, 2016 by Samille Mitchell

The weather gods conspired to provide a rare chance to survey a remote and rarely visited section of north Kimberley reef recently, with footage that will inform the future study of reefs through climate change.

Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPAW) researchers and Wunambal Gaambera traditional owners took advantage of the rare weather conditions to visit East Holothuria Reef, about 30km from the tip of Bougainville Peninsula, to conduct coral surveys.

They uncovered a flourishing and extremely biodiverse reef system, resplendent with corals and fishes, in a spectacular and never-before-studied part of the Kimberley’s underwater world.

“It is right in the top corner of the Bougainville Peninsula where wind-against-tides creates very rough sea conditions for much of the time,” says DPAW research scientist Andrew Halford.

“But we lucked-in with glass-off weather during neap tides—it was like a good perfect storm.”

The team traversed multiple 100-metre transects of the reef placing a camera on the bottom every 10 metres, which took photos every five seconds to record the diversity of the coral community.

Such footage will be used as a benchmark at monitoring sites across the north Kimberley, to enable conservation managers to study how reefs change and respond to different circumstances such as storms or a changing climate.

“We will be establishing long-term monitoring sites in the Kimberley that we can go back to and keep track of over time,” Dr Halford says.

“We’ll be able to see whether healthy reef communities can adapt to changing conditions over time.”

The big picture

The DPAW survey was part of a much larger examination of Kimberley benthic communities conducted by the Australian Institute of Marine Science, CSIRO, and the WA Museum, under the WA Marine Science Institute-managed Kimberley Marine Research Program.

These organisations are using large research vessels to study the diversity of the Kimberley marine benthic environment. The DPAW survey complimented their work by assessing shallower near-shore areas that are inaccessible to the larger boats.

Dr Halford says traditional owners are also playing an important role in monitoring these remote marine systems.

“As well as providing traditional knowledge of these areas, the idea is that eventually traditional owner groups will go out and do the surveying themselves,” Dr Halford says.

“They can take the footage and then the images can be sent to experts for analysis.”

Philippine coral reef live webcam, in California


This video, from the USA, says about itself:

Live Coral Reef Cam | California Academy of Sciences

Dive into the Academy’s Philippine Coral Reef tank— one of the deepest exhibits of live corals in the world. This impressive tank houses a broad range of aquatic life from the coral reefs and mangroves of the Philippines, a global biodiversity hotspot and an important location for scientific research. Tune in daily at 11:30 am and 2:30 pm PST to watch and listen as Academy divers feed the creatures in the Philippine Coral Reef exhibit and answer visitor questions.

The California Academy of Sciences is the only place in the world with an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum, and 4-story rainforest all under one roof.

Good Great Barrier Reef news from Australia


This 2014 video is about the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

From WWF:

Landmark victory for the Reef, and people power, as dredge spoil dump ban passed in Qld Parliament

Posted on 12 November 2015

New laws banning the sea dumping of industrial dredge spoil have passed in the Queensland Parliament in one of the most significant conservation victories ever for the Great Barrier Reef, said WWF-Australia and the Australian Marine Conservation Society.

WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman said that, for more than a century, dumping huge amounts of dredge spoil in Reef waters was the norm. But the continuing decline of Australia’s national icon sparked an international campaign to end this out-dated practice.

“For everyone around the world who cares about the Reef this is a moment to savour,” said Mr O’Gorman.

“We’ve stopped up to 46 million cubic metres of dredge spoil from being dumped in Reef waters in coming years.

“That’s enough dredge spoil to fill 4.6 million dump trucks. If you lined those trucks up end-to-end on Highway 1 they would circle Australia three times.

“This is a huge win for people power. We thank the scientists, mums and dads, Australians young and old, and concerned citizens around the world who have all contributed to this victory. And we thank the Federal and Queensland Governments for listening and acting,” he said.

AMCS Reef Campaign Director Imogen Zethoven said: “The dumping ban becoming law sits alongside the establishment of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, the World Heritage Area and the green zones as landmark moments for Reef protection”.

In June the Federal Government banned the dumping of dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. But in recent years about 80% of dumping has occurred outside the park, closer to shore. The Queensland Government’s Sustainable Ports Development Bill now extends protection to the whole World Heritage Area. It also restricts major new capital dredging to Townsville, Abbot Point, Gladstone, and Hay Point/Mackay.

WWF-Australia and AMCS thanked the Liberal-National Party Opposition and two cross benchers for joining the government to support the Ports Bill.

“It’s particularly heartening to see genuine bipartisan support for the new law, since it fulfils key commitments made to the World Heritage Committee in the Reef 2050 Plan. The Queensland LNP should be congratulated for strengthening their position on Reef protection,” Ms Zethoven said.

Ms Zethoven said many challenges remained.

“The latest dredging plan for Abbot Point could be approved any day, the promised ban on transhipping has not yet been achieved, the Ports Bill doesn’t cover dumping of dredge spoil from smaller projects like marinas, and each year about one million cubic metres of spoil from maintenance dredging is dumped in Reef waters,” she said.

AMCS and WWF want to work with the Queensland Government to reduce that volume per year and minimise the impacts.

WWF-Australia Media Contact:
Mark Symons, Senior Media Officer, 0400 985 571

Indonesian fish and coral research


Whale shark

November 2011. Read here about marine research in Indonesia: tagging whale sharks, maybe new fish species discovered, and coral.

Scientists attempt to breed ‘super coral’ to save threatened reefs: here.

RYAN DUFFY: SAVING THE CORAL REEFS On this episode of “Now What,” Duffy finds how researchers are trying to rescue the coral reefs dying off around the world. [HuffPost]