Research finds current models underestimate the impact of hurricanes and typhoons on coral reef communities
Big and strong cyclones can harm coral reefs as far as 1000 kilometres away from their paths, new research shows.
A study led by Dr Marji Puotinen from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) sounds a warning about the way strong cyclone winds build extreme seas that affect coral reefs in Australia and around the world.
Conventional modelling used to predict how a cyclone, hurricane or typhoon might impact corals assumes that wave damage occurs primarily within 100 kilometres of its track.
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).