Since 2000 the Remote Sensing Research Centre has focused on developing approaches to map and monitor coral reefs. The reef habitats are monitored at various hierarchical spatial scales using integrated remote sensing and field data. These spatial scales are: Reef, Reef Type, Geomorphic, Benthic Community and Patch Reef Scale. Our focus study areas since 2000 are Heron Reef and Capricorn Bunker group, however we also have conducted work in Asia Pacific (e.g. Fiji, Cook Island, Marshall Island, Solomon, Indonesia, Philippines).

For Heron Reef since 2002 we acquired, on an annual basis, a variety of high spatial resolution airborne and satellite imagery and combination with geo-referenced photo transects. We developed and improved field methods to collate information on benthic composition or optical properties for water column and bottom type, or collected other physical properties such as wave climate and rugosity. This projects focus is to develop a time series of benthic habitat maps.


Short documentary on the field component of the coral reef habitat mapping research, produced by Djoy Roelfsema with footage from: Dr. Javier Leon & Dr. Karen Joyce (drones), Dr. Chris Roelfsema (underwater) and Djoy Roelfsema (above and underwater). Production for UQ School of Earth and Environmental Science


benthic surveys


Project Details


  • Heron Island, Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia
  • Indonesia
  • Solomons
  • Philippines
  • Fiji
  • Marshall Islands
  • Cook Islands
  • Belize

People: Chris Roelfsema (PI), Stuart Phinn, Eva Kovacs, Denise Perez, Rodney Borrego, Javier Leon, Emily Shaw, Mitchell Lyons, Megan Saunders, and Robert Canto

Funding: Various.

Timeframe: 2001-