The Catlin Seaview Survey is the first comprehensive study of the Great Barrier Reef to document the composition and health of the world’s coral reefs across an unparalleled depth range of 0-100m.
With the help of Google Street View, the survey reached a global audience of more than a billion people in 2012.
The project includes a shallow and deep reef survey and began on the Great Barrier Reef in 2012.
The shallow reef survey involves photographing the reef in full 360 degree panoramic vision on an unprecedented scale using specially developed cameras. These images are analysed automatically using image recognition software, specially designed by UQ researchers, creating a baseline for scientific analysis from remote locations. The visual baseline will be made freely available through The Global Reef Record, an online open source research tool, for scientists all around the world to study and for global citizens to have free access to.
A deep reef survey, led by the Global Change Institute’s Dr Pim Bongaerts looks into the effects of climate change on one of the least known ecosystems on the planet – the deep-water reefs or mesophotic coral ecosystems (between 30-100m). This will provide a comprehensive study of the health composition and biodiversity of the deep reefs and experimentally assess their susceptibility to increased temperature and climate change.
For further information, visit www.catlinseaviewsurvey.com or follow the expedition diary of Global Change Institute divers at http://globalchange.org.au/catlinseaviewsurvey
Facts and figures
More than half of the Great Barrier Reef’s coral has been lost in the last 30 years, and it’s likely that another half of remaining coral will be gone by 2022. This staggering decline makes cataloguing the remaining flora and fauna more important than ever. The Catlin Seaview Survey will provide the first detailed view of the deeper layers of the reef and allow a global audience of web users to join them.
An estimated 1.5 million scuba divers and snorkelers explore the Great Barrier Reef every year but the majority of the reef lies below 30 metres and beyond their reach. Researchers from the Catlin Seaview Survey will unveil this largely unexplored and hidden part of the world.
As part of the surveys conducted in 2012, the shallow reef team, (0-30m) used a high-resolution, 360-degree panoramic camera to take over 100,000 images providing the most detailed picture of the reef ever produced.
The deep reef team used remote-controlled diving robots to plunge down to a maximum of 100m where they have already unveiled a host of new species and ecosystems quite different to those just a few metres above.
Surveying the same spots year after year, and expanding the project to other reefs around the world, researchers hope to discover how climate change and other impacts are affecting reefs globally.