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Eye On The Reef Photo-Point Enhancement Project

A coral reef monitoring project using geo-reference underwater photograph and artificial intelligence to bridge the gap between tourism citizen science staff and dedicated marine science.

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Project Summary

Reef Teach is the lead partner in a ground-breaking new pilot project, that was launched in 2019, to promote the use of geo-reference images, analysed by artificial intelligence to monitor changes in coral over time. The findings from this research will provide valuable information to further our understanding of the complexities of coral reef ecosystems. By adding to our current knowledge base, these findings will ensure that the best management can be put in place for the Great Barrier Reef.

Reef Teach is training tourism staff in setting up survey locations and data collection. Underwater images will be taken by tourism operators and trained staff several times a year, along a defined monitoring path. These images will then be analysed by artificial intelligence at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) using the latest in machine learning technology. The data collected will enhance the already established Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s (GBRMPA) Eye on the Reef program (EOR).

With the current changes we are seeing on reefs around the world, the information collected from this project is even more important now, than ever before. You can be part of this exciting project by joining our Marine Discovery Internship.

Research Objectives

  • Detecting changes in the condition of coral reefs that are regularly visited by the tourism industry in the Great Barrier Reef
  • Build on the GBRMPA’s Eye on the Reef (EoR) Tourism Weekly program by incorporating photographs of the reef that can provide evidence and information of the condition of reefs over time
  • Promote the use of images in citizen science coral reef monitoring
  • Enhance site stewardship and understanding of the sites visited on a daily basis by the tourism fleet
  • Identify subtle changes in ecosystem health, unfavourable behaviours that lead to coral damage
  • Provide an early warning system for broader scale impacts such as Crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks
  • Enhance tourism staff participation in citizen science and further develop their reef ecology knowledge
  • Increase community reef ecology knowledge and awareness

Project Stakeholders

Australian Government - Reef Trust
GBRMPA - Eye On The Reef
Great Barrier Reef Foundation
Australian Institute of Marine Science

This project is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, with support from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Australian Institute of Marine Science. Reef Teach has also dedicated funds and resources to the initial stages of the project, raised through its Internship and education programs.

Acknowledgement Of Country
Reef Teach acknowledges, recognises and respects the Elders, families and forebears of the the Bama Peoples – the Aboriginal rainforest people who are traditional custodians/owners of the lands that cover our region. We also acknowledge, recognise and respect other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who call our region and the Great Barrier Reef their home.