Projects

High-resolution depth model for the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea

There is a critical lack of information about the location and extent of deep-water ecosystems and seabed habitats for about a third of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area that lies deeper than 200 m. In addition much of the inter-reef (between reefs) seabed shallower than 100 m on the Great Barrier Reef shelf, and for many of the shallow coral reefs themselves, have never been adequately mapped using modern echosounder techniques.

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Satellite bathymetry of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea

A major limitation for studying the Great Barrier Reef, over 2000 km long, is the lack of digital bathymetry data over all of the reefs. The Royal Australian Navy have previously surveyed large parts of the GBR and Coral Sea with airborne lidar bathymetry for navigational safety, but there still remain areas of shallow reef that have never had modern bathymetric surveys conducted over them.

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Deep Osprey Reef mapping project

Osprey Reef lies on the northern Queensland Plateau, which is a huge submerged carbonate platform that was once part of mainland Australia, then separated and subsided during the break-up of Gondwana millions of years ago. Scattered over the Queensland Plateau are emergent coral reefs that have kept pace with platform subsidence and continued growing level to present day sea-levels. Osprey Reef is one such reef and the steep walls drop more than 1.5 km into the surrounding Queensland Plateau.

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Coldwater corals in the Coral Sea

Coldwater corals occur globally in the deep ocean and are a diverse group of stony corals, soft corals, black corals and lace corals. These corals differ from tropical shallow-water corals because they lack symbiotic algae and typically exist in deeper waters below the sunlit zone. Like shallow-water corals, they can form reefs or mounds on the deep seafloor, which provide the complex habitat and variety of niches for a distinct and unique ecosystem.

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