Currently there is no comprehensive map of all the vast and diverse habitats for the whole Great Barrier Reef. Perhaps not surprising when the reef spans 2,300 kilometres, is made up of over 2,900 individual reefs, and is located up to 2,000 metres underwater! The ultimate vision of this project is to develop one contiguous baseline map for the whole of the Great Barrier Reef. This study will build on the previous study in the Capricorn Bunker group, and will adapt and improve existing mapping and modelling techniques. The improved methodology will be applied to the shallow offshore reefs of the Cairns to Cooktown Management Region, including characteristics such as bathymetry (water depth of ocean floor), geomorphological zones (reef slope, reef crest, reef flat, lagoon, and island) and benthic habitat type (describes dominant coral type such as: plate, branching, or massive/encrusting). The results of this project will contribute to a bigger project which will assess a management tool for mapping resilience.

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The coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef are an extensive, diverse and globally unique resource for Australia, but there is no entire map of its 3000 reefs. Help fund a map of the GBR Coral Reefs to ensure this essential form of environmental information is provided to better understand how to manage and sustain this natural wonder today and into the future.


Dr Chris Roelfsema from the University of Queensland shows us how he maps and studies the Great Barrier Reef.


Project Details

Location: Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

Researchers and Students: Chris Roelfsema, Eva Kovacs, Karlo Hock, Yves Marie, Juan Carlos Ortiz, David Callaghan, Stuart Phinn, and Peter Mumby. 

Funding agency: Great Barrier Reef Foundation

Timeframe: 2016-2017