Advanced, miniature cameras on drones are capturing details of landscapes that have previously been invisible. QUT researchers are using them to fly low over reefs, capturing almost 100 times the colours captured by standard cameras.
“High-altitude surveys of reefs may lack the resolution necessary to identify individual corals or bleaching effects,” says Associate Professor Felipe Gonzalez, who is leading a team of researchers and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) engineers from QUT in a partnership project between QUT and the Australian Institute for Marine Science (AIMS).
Australia and Japan are both island nations with vast maritime reserves and responsibilities. Together we’re developing the science needed to understand, use, enjoy and protect our unique marine ecosystems. And we’re collaborating to solve some of the mysteries of the ocean systems that drive the world’s climate.
Attack of the giant starfish
The waters off Japan’s tropical Okinawa Islands are home to hundreds of species of coral. The reefs attract a rich diversity of life: fish, turtles, whale sharks, and… the crown-of-thorns starfish.
Five thousand kilometres to the south is the Great Barrier Reef—the world’s largest reef system and one of the richest and most diverse natural ecosystems on Earth. The Australian Government is committed to protecting the Reef and has developed a plan to 2050 to ensure the sustainability of the Reef. But the Reef has lost half its coral cover in the past 30 years and periodic plagues of crown-of-thorns are responsible for more than forty per cent of the coral loss. Continue reading Exploring the mystery of the oceans→
Coastal land clearing has led to poor water quality in the Great Barrier Reef lagoon and threats to reef animals, according to the first data providing evidence of the damage.
The Water Quality and Ecosystem Health research team at the Australian Institute of Marine Science has collected 20 years of data, which shows the connection between high rates of land clearing and reduced reef water quality in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
“Our analyses show that water quality in the lagoon dropped significantly during the late 1990s and early 2000s, a period that coincided with very high rates of vegetation clearing on land adjacent to rivers,” says research team leader, Britta Schaffelke.
Coral reef organisms that help build homes for thousands of other species face extinction by 2100, thanks to increased CO2 levels and ocean acidification.
Researchers from the Australian Institute of Marine Science have discovered that ocean acidification around naturally occurring CO2 seeps in Papua New Guinea offer a glimpse of a future high-CO2 world and its impact on coral reef ecosystems, including the possible complete loss of creatures called Foraminifera, or forams.