A world first at the time of inception, Marine Discoveries is the lead partner with AIMS and GBRMPA in a project that links science, management and industry.
The project began in 2018 and builds on existing and proven methodology through the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s (GBRMPA) ‘Eye on the Reef’ program. Through the introduction of geo-referenced images, analysed by artificial intelligence to monitor changes in coral over time this project is becoming a key tool to monitoring the changes of the Great Barrier Reef.
This project has been integrated over the years into the everyday surveying that tourism operators do. It has created an enduring change in the industry that will lead to increased knowledge of their sites, for regenerative visitor experience and strong management.
Through Marine Discoveries support and mentoring, operators select representative locations and Marine Discoveries trains the staff in the data collection.
The innovation in this project comes from the introduction of the AI. It gives us the ability to analyse thousands of images quickly and regularly to observe and understand how coral is changing on the reef. The geo-referencing allows the photos to be repeatable and the data reliable.
The tourism industry is, and always has been, actively monitoring and reporting on reef health – since 1986. The GBRMPA uses this data to inform their management or decide on incident responses. Through our project, tourism operators throughout the GBR are now taking underwater images several times a year with the data we collect being integrated by GBRMPA into the Reef 2050 Integrated Monitoring and Reporting Program, as well as being used by Marine Discoveries for future research.
With the current changes we are seeing on reefs around the world, the information we can collect through scientific studies is even more important now than ever before.