Around the Reef - Reef Check Australia - June 2024

June 05, 2024

Dear Friend

Winter is officially here and the chill in the air is noticeable. Hopefully this means cooler water temperatures which will give our stressed corals some reprieve, not so great for those of us conducting in-water activities as we layer up the neoprene. Winter often brings calmer conditions and clearer waters so lets keep our fingers crossed.

This months email includes:

  • Action of the Month: Dive Deep: Discover your Ocean Footprint
  • News from the Field
  • Books and Podcasts
  • Current Coral Affairs
  • Get With the Program

Dive Deep: Discover Your Ocean Footprint!

June is the perfect time to dive deep into our personal connection to the ocean! With World Environment Day and World Oceans Day just around the corner, Reef Check Australia's "Dive Deep: Discover Your Ocean Footprint" Action of the Month is tailor-made for mindful exploration and impactful action.

Deep Dives for Deeper Understanding:

By diving deeper with specific calculators and guides that explore your impact on different areas, like plastic use, seafood choices, and carbon footprint, you can pinpoint where to make the most significant ocean-friendly changes. Here are a couple we have found so far.



  • Planet Ark's Home Energy Audit: This comprehensive tool helps users assess their home's energy consumption and identify areas for improvement. It provides personalized recommendations for saving energy and reducing your carbon footprint, which ultimately impacts the ocean.

  • WaterCare Calculator: This calculator estimates your household's water usage and offers tips for conserving water, another crucial aspect of minimizing your overall environmental impact, including on the ocean.

  • Carbon Neutral by 2050 Emissions Calculator: This Australian government tool allows you to estimate your personal carbon footprint and explore different scenarios for reducing it in line with the country's climate goals. This can help individuals understand their contribution to climate change and its influence on ocean health.

Beyond Quizzes and calculators: Taking Action:

  • Share Your Footprint: Once you've discovered your ocean footprint, share it with friends and family on social media! Use the hashtag #DiveDeepForTheOcean to spark conversations and inspire collective action.

  • Advocate for Change: Use your newfound knowledge to advocate for ocean-friendly policies and support organizations like Reef Check Australia working tirelessly to protect our seas.

  • Become an Ocean Champion: Commit to one or two actionable changes, be it reducing single-use plastics, choosing sustainable seafood, or supporting coral restoration projects. Every step counts towards a healthier ocean future.

Let's make June a month of exploration, education, and empowered action for our beloved oceans. Dive deep, discover your impact, and join the wave of changemakers dedicated to protecting our shared blue planet!

Remember, Reef Check Australia is here to support you on your journey. Visit our website for more resources, educational materials, and opportunities to get involved in ocean conservation efforts. Together, we can make a world of difference for the ocean, one conscious choice at a time.

News from the field

Stories and updates from our teams out & about. 

Reef Check Australia Makes a Splash at the Australian Coral Reef Symposium!

Our team was thrilled to be a part of the recent Australian Coral Reef Symposium (ACRS) held in Perth!

We presented two exciting talks based on upcoming research papers utilising valuable data collected by Reef Check Australia volunteers.

  • One presentation focused on coral bleaching trends in Southeast Queensland (SEQ). ☀️

  • The other explored the power of citizen science over 17 years, analysing reef health data from SEQ. 🪸

The response was fantastic! We connected with attendees from across Australia, all passionate about protecting our coral reefs. It was also a great opportunity to see so many old friends still working in the industry, as well as so many new faces.

The ACRS covered a wide range of crucial topics, including threats like crown-of-thorns starfish, innovative technologies, DNA analysis, bleaching impacts, reef resilience, and of course, the power of citizen science.

It was inspiring to see such broad representation and enthusiasm for coral reef conservation. Together, we can make a difference!

We are always looking for new ways to involve more people, so if you want to know how you can get involved, head on over to and or follow us on all the socials.

Stay tuned for upcoming publications based on the research presented at ACRS!

South East Queensland

Gold Coast Seaway, Wavebreak Island  - Clean Up Dive

Known locally as Wavebreak Island just across from the Gold Coast Seaway, this interesting site is home to a wide array of fish species, as well as being a hotspot for marine debris. Established as a reef health survey location in 2019 by Reef Check Australia in collaboration with Gold Coast City Council, this spot boasts a rocky scree starting at 5m and plunging down to 12m, with a strong current.

On the northern side of the wall, the rocky substrate is covered with fishing line. Despite cleaning the area as a part of annual reef surveys in the area, based on the amount of debris that continues to be recorded here, a dedicated clean up dive was organised to actively target marine debris here, as a part of wider clean up Australia day efforts.

A total of 3.7kg of debris consisting of fishing line, lures, rope, bits of nets and plastic was removed from this location during the clean up dive. A camp chair, dive mask and glass bottles (adding an addition 3kg to the debris removed) were also removed.

A massive shoutout to our amazing team and a heartfelt thank you to Skipper Harry of Gold Coast Dive Adventures for getting us to site, for looking out for us on the surface and for taking care of the boat 🙌🚤

Reef Check Acknowledge the people of the Yugambeh language region of the Gold Coast, Traditional Custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging.

This project has received funding support from The City of Gold Coasts Catchment and Citizen Science Grants Program.

Ocean Film Festival - Noosa

A team of ambassadors and surveyors from Reef Check Australia (RCA) attended this years ‘Ocean Film Festival World Tour’ held at The J Noosa on Thursday 14th March 2024. The sold-out event featured a unique selection of films of varying lengths and styles covering topics such as ocean adventure and exploration, the oceanic environment, marine creatures, ocean related sports, coastal cultures and ocean lovers. The films were inspiring, compelling, sometimes nail biting (see Ice Maiden – Australian solo-sailor Lisa Blair’s circumnavigation of Antarctica) and championed the Ocean Film Festival World Tour’s vision ‘to inspire you to explore, respect, enjoy, and protect our oceans’.

Several research and conservation partners including RCA convened information stalls at the festival. Our ambassadors and surveyors responded to a large amount of interest from attendees wanting to learn more about what we do and how to get involved and keep in touch. We also had a chance to network with other stall holders and share information.

Thanks to Sarah and her team of organisers from Ocean Film Festival World Tour for putting on such a valuable event and for inviting RCA to be a part of it.

Reef Check Acknowledge the Kabi Kabi people of the Noosa region, Traditional Custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place, and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging.


Green Island, Moreton Bay - Reef Health Survey

Moreton Bay is a region adjacent to the city of Brisbane and hosts its port, as well as various other coastal suburbs that encroach onto the bay. Various islands sit within the bay, and are called home to sub-tropical coral reefs, fish, marine megafauna such as dugongs, turtles, and sharks and lots of invertebrates. Reef Check Australia survey divers head to locations within the bay in both summer and winter to monitor the seasonal changes that occur over long periods of time.

In late February a team of four surveyors went out into the bay to survey the health of coral reefs and how it’s been faring recently. Reef Check Australia has been monitoring Southeast Queensland reefs since 2007, and Green Island since 2017, as part of a partnership with Port of Brisbane to monitor the effects of activities in the Bay. On this day, we surveyed a site off Green Island on the western side dubbed “Green Island West”.

A high level of silt and macroalgae (sargassum) meant the site was a challenging dive, with the water column filled with turbidity. Nevertheless, the surveyors endured and completed the bi-annual survey, finding some hard corals blooming, a small stingray, butterfly fish and snapper! Unfortunately, some human impacts were recorded on the site (a discarded fishing net and additional land based trash). Coral bleaching being recorded in all four transects, in high occurrence.

The importance of surveying sites like Green Island cannot be underestimated, for the anthropogenic impacts on marine ecosystems are generally felt by habitats adjacent to urbanised areas such as this one. Collecting this information allows policymakers to make informed evidence-based decisions when attempting conservation governance.

Thank you to Go Dive Brisbane for getting us to our reef health monitoring site. We appreciate that many of the sites we visit are not regularly on the tourist circuit, although we believe they should be!

Reef Check Acknowledge the Quandamooka people of Danggar (Green Island), Traditional Custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and future.

This project is supported by the Port of Brisbane as a part of their environmental monitoring program.

Great Barrier Reef

Rowes Bay Sustainability House Open Day

Written by Pearl Wood.

🌿What an incredible day at the Rowes Bay Sustainability Centre Open Day!🌿

Our team was lucky enough to score a spot at the Rowes Bay Sustainability Centre celebrating their open day. Our team of passionate volunteers set up our vibrant market stall for their open day, adorned with educational materials, interactive displays, and a contagious enthusiasm for sustainability. As the event kicked off, we eagerly engaged with visitors of all ages, sparking thought-provoking conversations and igniting a shared passion for environmental stewardship.

Throughout the day, we had the pleasure of connecting with a diverse array of individuals, from young eco-warriors to seasoned environmental advocates. It was heartwarming to witness the genuine curiosity and enthusiasm in their eyes as we conversed. But perhaps the most memorable moment came when we had the honour of meeting with the inspiring  Townsville City Council staff representing the towns sustainable achievements. Their unwavering dedication to environmental conservation and support left us in awe, reaffirming our commitment to protecting our precious reefs and oceans.

As the day unfolded, our colourful display became a hub of activity, attracting curious minds and sparking meaningful discussions about the importance of reef health. The children, in particular, were captivated by the colourful corals (fake) and fascinating shells we had on display, eagerly asking questions and soaking up knowledge like sponges.

But it wasn't just about spreading awareness; it was also about inspiring action. We encouraged visitors to think critically about their daily habits and how they could make a tangible difference in preserving our planet and the different volunteer opportunities we offer.

We thank the Rowes Bay Sustainability Centre for hosting such a remarkable event and the individuals who attended that were eager to live a more sustainable life. This project is made possible through support from Townsville City Council through their Creek to Coral program.

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on where these activities take place, the Wulgurukaba of Gurambilbarra and Yunbenun, Bindal, Gugu Badhun and Nywaigi People of the Townsville region. We pay our respects to their elders, past, present and emerging and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in our community today.

Alma Bay Magnetic Island – Reef Health Surveys 

The weather has been proving a challenge for our team this season, but a small group headed over to beautiful Magnetic Island in the hope that conditions would be suitable to survey the reefs that lie within Alma Bay. These reefs are accessible from shore, with the corals occurring on the rock walls on either side of the bay, making this a popular snorkelling and diving spot. The site also hosts the Arcadian Surf Club making it a great area for families. Whilst the visibility was limited it was sufficient to conduct the survey safely. The amount of hard coral detected on transect for both sites has remained consistent with our previous surveys, with less rubble detected. Coral bleaching was detected on both sites, with less than 1% of the population impacted on Site 1 and 2% on Site 2.  Unknown coral damage was the most recorded impact at 5 counts and 11 counts respectively. Target invertebrates were not observed on transect. A big thanks to our amazing team; Rachelle Brown, Jenni Calcraft, Terry Farr, Julie Schubert and our newest member Taylor Hosler, without whom these surveys would not be possible.

This project is made possible through support from Townsville City Council through their Creek to Coral program, and the Integrated Coral Reef Citizen Science 2.0 Program funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on where these activities take place, the Manbarra and Bwgcolman people of Palm Island, and the Wulgurukaba and Bindal People of the Townsville and Magnetic Island region. We pay our respects to their elders, past, present and emerging and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in our community today.


Books and podcasts

Have you read or listened to something lately that you would like to share? Let us know and we can feature it here

Life on the Reef by Andrey Ryanskiy

This awesome book which is available as a pdf, presents the mostly sessile inhabitants of coral reefs. "The reef animals and marine plants considered in the book are grouped into 10 phyla: Corals & allies (Cnidaria), Sea Squirts (Tunicata), Sponges (Porifera), Moss Animals (Bryozoa), Comb Jellies (Ctenophora), Brachiopods, Entoprocts, Foraminiferans, Sea Weeds and Cyanobacteria". A great addition to your marine ID library.


Current Coral Affairs

Check out some of the latest news and research about our ocean

Naked Sea Butterflies!

Beautiful unusual marine creatures.

Read now in: Dive Magazine

How deep is the deepest blue hole?

Deeper than you think!

Read now in: Dive Magazine

Get with the Program

Here's what we've got coming up in the next few weeks, keep checking the website for more updates. 

Fri 31 May - Sun 2 Jun | Pranafest. Tickets are also available just to attend on the weekend. Head to to get your tickets.

Sun 2 June | Townsville Ecofiesta. For more info

Sun 2 June | Logan Eco Action Festival. For more info head to:

Sat 8 June | Marine Bioblitz Bowen - stay tuned for more details

Sat 13 July | Whale Festival Gold Coast - check out Humpbacks and Highrises on facebook for more details.

If you missed any of our Coast to Coral online events, remember you can always catch-up by taking a look at our YouTube Channel here  

and don't forget our annual reports by region are available on our website!

Thanks for reading! If you want to help our work to empower more people to protect Australian reefs, please consider making a monthly tax-deductible donation. 



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