In November 2019 we went into our "Search for Biodiversity" expedition with an ambitious plan to examine reef health, biodiversity and storm damage along a 400km stretch of the northern Great Barrier Reef. Our team certainly rose to the occasion, achieving an impressive number of surveys, citizen science programs and media projects. Here is a summary of all that was accomplished during our two-week expedition:
70 sites assess for coral cover, fish abundance and diversity, impacts, and overall aesthetic beauty
20 manta tows, covering over 10km of reef
20 360 degree video scenes to be used as new content in upcoming virtual reality experiences
17 Reef Health and Impact Surveys (RHIS)
17 significant or ecologically important species sightings, including 4 whale sharks, 3 pods of dolphins, 2 bryde's whales, 15 grey reef sharks, 1 tiger shark and 1 sailfish!
7 microplastic tows, collected in collaboration with International Seakeepers Society.
6 mangrove islands surveyed for mangrove health, conducted in partnership with Mangrove Watch
5 Eye on the Reef Rapid surveys, a quantitative census of ecologically important fish species
5 reef biodiversity surveys to determine the diversity of hard coral species within those sites, conducted by coral expert Dr. Charlie Veron
4 underwater visual censuses of mobile predators, including observations of at least 6 species of sharks
3 beach-clean ups, contributing to Tangaroa Blue's Reef Clean initiative.