Minister joins Citizen Scientists of UniDive on Flinders Reef

28 March 2017


Environment and National Parks Minister Steven Miles joined reef citizen scientists from UniDive on Saturday (25 March) to do an ecological survey of Flinders Reef near Moreton Island.

Mr Miles said the Flinders Reef Ecological Assessment project was being coordinated and managed by UniDive, had been ongoing since June last year, and was due to conclude at the end of this year.

“We provided $5000 sponsorship to UniDive to help train divers for this project, and it was great to join them on the water on the weekend to see the surveys being done first-hand.

Mr Miles said the UniDive divers have all been trained in globally accepted survey techniques based on Reef Check Australia and UQ led Coral Watch program.

“The project will provide publicly accessible data, maps and reports of the health of the Flinders Reef.

“Among other things, this will be very useful data to ensure that management plans to protect the health of the coasts and local waterways of Moreton Bay are effective,” Mr Miles said.

Mr Miles said the Flinders Reef Ecological Assessment project was being led by Dr Chris Roelfsema, UniDive member and research fellow and lecturer at the university’s Remote Sensing Research Centre at the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

“Flinders Reef is known around Australia as a well-known dive site and plays an important role in Queensland’s marine ecosystem, being one of the most southerly true coral reefs,” Dr Roelfsema said.

“This project records fish species and families, invertebrate numbers, substrate type, and any observed reef impacts.

“The project will lead to the creation of habitat maps, publications and data sets, and will involve a number of presentations that among other things will help make the wider community aware of these precious marine sites and understand the importance of protecting them.

“We are proud to have Steven Miles and his department’s support and it was a delight to have him join us on Saturday to get a first-hand look at how the Flinders Reef Ecological Assessment project is progressing,” Dr Roelfsema said.

UniDive is a University of Queensland Underwater Club and divers that will do the survey are mostly staff and students.