Reef Check’s E-News
The new threat of climate change increases the need for coral reef monitoring.
Australia is home to the world's most extensive and pristine coral reefs. Queensland's Great Barrier Reef is one of Australia's greatest icons. Along with most other coral reefs around the world, it is under enormous pressure from human activities and climate change. Although Australia's reefs are among the best managed in the world, they are not immune to these threats.
Fertiliser (nutrient) pollution
Global Climate Change
Coral reefs are valuable assets
Not only do they provide direct sustenance in terms of food for local communities, they also shelter coastlines from storms and tidal waves and create a substantial source of income for the area through the tourism industry. Research also indicates that coral reef animals like sponges are an important source of medical cures for a number of diseases including, potentially, cancer.
Striking the right balance
Sustainable use of natural resources means that resources continue to provide for similar use by future generations. Finding the right balance between resource use and the reef's capacity to maintain its health into the future is the challenge faced by managers such as GBRMPA. Reef Check Australia helps by providing more information on how the natural environment functions and how it reacts to human use.
A record for a lifetime
Most importantly, we are able to provide long-term reliable data for our sites over a number of years. This helps to create a solid baseline - an original record of coral reef health that can be used for future comparison:
Nowhere is the problem of shifting baselines greater than for coral reefs. During my thirty-year career, I have watched every coral reef ecosystem I have studied change almost unrecognizably from the way it used to be. But when I try to explain these changes to younger scientists who were not there before they are sceptical because who could possibly imagine that such changes have occurred? There is a generation gap in scientific perspective.
Jeremy Jackson, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
The world's coral reefs are in crisis
In August 2002, Reef Check International released its first five-year report, The Global Coral Reef Crisis - Trends and Solutions. The report concluded that there was virtually no reef in the world that remained untouched by human impacts. Yet the success stories discussed in the report show that, with proper monitoring, management and protection, coral reefs can recover.
We can make a difference
We are now in a unique position, with the right knowledge and the programs in place, to take positive action but we need your help to do more. Find out how you can help us and do your bit to save your reefs today!