This project aims to use photos taken by divers to help improve statistical models of the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is one of the world’s largest living treasures. It is one of the few natural formations that can be seen from outer space. It is one of the largest and most diverse eco-systems on earth and has been identified as a World Heritage Area.

about_img01However, the GBR is in trouble. Australia has been asked to report to UNESCO on the state of conservation of the reef.

An important part of the evidence base for conservation is the development of mathematical and statistical models to help estimate reef health, predict trends over time and assess human and environmental impacts.

But we have a problem: we lack data.

The GBR is huge – it’s 348,000 square kilometres – larger than Italy! After decades of monitoring we only have data on a small part of it.

How can we see more of the GBR? How can we collect more data?

 


Citizen science can help.about_img02

Recreational divers take many photos of the reef. We want to ‘geo-tag’ them to a digital map of the GBR, then extract information about coral cover, water quality, crown of thorns, coral bleaching etc. We can automatically detect some of these and ask experts to ‘enter the photos’ and help us with others.

This ‘people power’ will dramatically improve our maths and stats models and help us to do conservation better. Together we can protect one of our world’s most beautiful and important places.

What are the “many eyes”?

  • The eyes of our researchers
  • The eyes of our monitors
  • The eyes of our divers
  • The eyes of tourists
  • The eyes of UNESCO
  • The eyes of the animals and fish that live in the GBR