Sep 8, 2016

American Students Aid in Reef Restoration


MCN

22nd May 2016

Above:  Ohio State University students removing algae under the PIcnic Bay jetty.

In the midst of the 3rd major coral bleaching event, The Ohio State University students from the US travelled across the globe to help intervene with the local issue.  Working under the guidance of Drs. Adam Smith and Dani Ceccarelli through the Reef Recovery Project, the students have recently learned about the imbalance of coral to macroalgae in the reef in Picnic Bay on Magnetic Island.  Macroalgae is overpowering and harming the coral survival and ecosystems as a whole.  The reefs are vital to ocean biodiversity and health, future medicines, possible cures, and ecotourism. This is a local issue with global implications; if the reefs die, so do one of the wonders of the world.

The students participated in a field experiment to remove algae from reefs in distress. In full snorkelling gear, the first group of students set up quadrants from which they took the samples. The next two groups collected algae from those quadrants. After the collection, the students gathered on the beach to assess the amount of algae removed. In under two hours, the students were able to extract 256 pieces, totalling roughly 11 kilograms from eight square meters of ground covered.

Regarding the experience, one of the students Justin Smith from Dover, Ohio said, “I have never snorkelled before. Snorkelling for the first time in The Great Barrier reef was amazing and helping in the process of restoring the reef was a truly rewarding experience. I believe locals and tourists can make a difference in the future of the Great Barrier Reef by partaking in this simple task.” Dr. Ceccarelli had this to say of working with the students, “It is really exciting to begin a project with such a great group of enthusiastic research assistants.”

In the next two months, four additional study abroad groups will participate in the Reef Recovery Project. It will continue to provide hands on education for tourists, promoting worldwide awareness of the issue. This project will help to sustain one of Australia’s most treasured assets, the Great Barrier Reef.

https://www.facebook.com/abcnews.au/videos/10155109700499988/

The Reef Recovery Project is supported by Reef Ecologic, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Sealink Queensland, Bungalow Bay Koala Village.

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