With more than 60 Reef-saving projects underway right now, we are the action station for the Reef, bringing together people and science to save our Reef and its marine life.
Saving endangered turtles
Nowhere on Earth do more green turtles come to nest than Raine Island. We’ve recorded more than 64,000 green turtles here in one nesting season alone, with as many as 20,000 at once inching their way onto Raine Island’s deserted beaches to nest having travelled thousands of kilometres to the same place they themselves hatched decades prior.
Despite these ancient creatures existing since the time of the dinosaurs, right now the green turtle is endangered globally. We’re working to save the endangered green turtle by restoring the world’s largest green turtle nesting area on Raine Island. Through our world-leading Raine Island Recovery Project, we’re bringing together Raine Island’s Traditional Owners the Wuthathi Nation and Meriam Nation (Ugar, Mer, Erub), government and business – a unique collaboration to ensure a future for the Reef’s green turtles.
In a world-first, our researchers have successfully pioneered small-scale coral restoration using a technique dubbed Coral IVF.
Coral only spawns once a year in a natural phenomenon that has been described as an underwater snowstorm. During this event, our researchers capture the coral eggs and sperm from healthy reefs to rear millions of baby corals in specially-designed enclosures on the Reef, and in tanks, before delivering them onto small areas of damaged reefs to restore and repopulate them. The success of this world-leading research not only applies to the Great Barrier Reef but to all coral reefs around the world. We can start to restore and repair damaged coral populations where the natural supply of coral larvae has been compromised.
Pioneering Reef forecasting
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living thing on Earth. However, its vast size makes it hard to monitor. Great Barrier Reef Foundation has partnered with the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO and the Queensland Government to build the world’s largest Reef forecasting and modelling program, known as eReefs, combining satellite technology with powerful models and machine learning to develop the tools needed to save our Reef.
Just as the Bureau of Meteorology does for weather, eReefs is delivering Reef water quality information online in near real time, enabling anyone to track the effects of rising water temperatures, cyclones, floods and other impacts on the Reef.
Restoring Reef island habitats
Islands and their connected reefs play a crucial role as habitat refuges for the thousands of species that live and thrive on the Great Barrier Reef. Likened to climate change arks, Reef islands provide a safe home for wildlife to rest, feed, shelter and breed.
The Reef Islands Initiative was launched in 2018 as the largest reef habitat rehabilitation project of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere – bringing together Traditional Owners, scientists, local tourism leaders, governments and the community to protect and restore critical habitats.
Right now, in the early stages of the 10-year program, we’ve already seen critical turtle nesting habitat increased by 125% at Lady Elliot Island – the first location for the Initiative.
And we’re only just getting started, with work in the Whitsundays set to ignite a local reef restoration movement.
Find out more about our Reef saving projects at www.barrierreef.org