After months of careful planning, 300 Australian coral reef researchers have launched a small flotilla of research vessels, each one filled to the gills with highly trained experts. Their tightly coordinated mission is a race against time – to document coral bleaching along the 1000km-long top half of the Great Barrier Reef before more of the heavily bleached corals die.
“So far we have collectively undertaken 12 separate missions using research vessels, and by the end of this month we will have examined close to 90 reefs that have also been surveyed
from the air,” says Prof. Morgan Pratchett, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.
Research divers survey coral bleaching on a reef off of Port Douglas. Credit: ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies / Cassandra Thompson.