Ground-breaking coral reef research from the Global Change Institute (GCI) is featured in a special edition of TIME Magazine, the highest circulation of any weekly news magazine on the planet, which hit newsstands in the US today.
GCI’s Catlin Seaview Survey has earned an eight-page spread in TIME Magazine’s feature on 100 new scientific discoveries – described as fascinating, momentous and mind-expanding.
TIME magazine journalist Bryan Walsh joined GCI’s Dr Manuel Gonzalez-Rivero and his team as they conducted coral reef research in the waters off the coast of the Central American country of Belize. Bryan witnessed first-hand how researchers are creating a global baseline for coral reef health.
GCI researchers are documenting the composition and health of coral reefs using custom-designed underwater equipment, such as a specialist camera system (SVII) and modified remotely operated vehicles to access rarely studied deep reefs. They are capturing spectacular 360-degree images which are accurately GPS-located so researchers can re-visit the same locations in later years and document changes happening on the reef.
Data collected by the project contributes to the Catlin Global Reef Record, a free online standardised research tool and global ocean database, which allows scientists to remotely study coral reefs. The project has unprecedented outreach potential too by offering the public access to coral reefs from the comfort of their homes through Street View in Google Maps.
The Catlin Seaview Survey commenced in September 2012 on Australia’s iconic Great Barrier Reef. In 2013 the team focussed on the coral reefs of the Caribbean and Bermuda, while in 2014 the major campaign area was the waters of South-East Asia. The team has recorded additional survey areas including the Galapagos Islands, the Red Sea, a re-survey of the Great Barrier Reef and temperate water locations including Monaco and Sydney. The reefs of the Indian Ocean are next and will be surveyed this year. The reef imagery to date covers more than 700 kilometres of reef and sea scapes.