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Cloud brightening field trials

Cloud brightening field trials. Photo courtesy of Southern Cross University

Sunlight-deflecting clouds and mass-produced baby corals among proposed Reef solutions

Experts will today provide a fascinating deep dive into the reef restoration innovations under investigation to help preserve and restore the Great Barrier Reef, at the international Great Barrier Reef Restoration Symposium, in Cairns.

National Environmental Science Program’s Tropical Water Quality Hub leader and symposium convenor Professor Damien Burrows said today’s program offered a series of in-depth sessions with world-leading experts.

“We will be delving into some of the greatest challenges, including: achieving the scale needed for effective restoration on the Great Barrier Reef, enhancing the temperature tolerance of corals, hydrodynamic mixing techniques to cool water, and crown-of-thorns starfish management,” he said.

“The aim is to harness the best knowhow available to position Great Barrier Reef restoration as the global benchmark for coral restoration. Collaboration is critical to achieving this.”

Australian Institute of Marine Science executive director, and Reef Restoration and Adaption Program director, David Mead said mass production and distribution of coral and manipulating sea clouds to deflect sunlight were two of a suite of novel restoration techniques being explored.

“Many of the restoration methods we are considering leverage natural Reef attributes such as connectivity, natural variability and the ability to inherit resilience,” he said.

“Scaling up restoration techniques to be effective across thousands of reefs and billions of corals presents serious challenges, but we believe these are not insurmountable.”  

Highlights of Tuesday 17 July:

  • Is it possible to alter water temperature and reduce light stress? – Dr Mark Baird, CSIRO
  • Can restoration technology be scaled to help the GBR? – David Mead, AIMS
  • An integrated approach to COTS management – Dr David Westcott, CSIRO
  • ‘Brightening’ marine clouds to shade reefs – Dr Daniel Harrison, University of Sydney
  • Using ultra-thin surface films to shade reefs – Dr Andrew Negri, AIMS
  • Mass production of coral for Reef-scale restoration – Peter Mellor, Worley Parsons
  • Coral settlement on 3D objects – Dr Andrew Heyward, AIMS
  • Applying industrial techniques to coral spawn slick harvesting and release – Dr Christopher Doropoulos, CSIRO

The Great Barrier Reef Restoration Symposium is a collaboration between the Tropical Water Quality Hub (TWQ) of the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program (NESP) and the  Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program (RRAP), with funding support from the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators (AMPTO) and the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre (RRRC). Additional partners include Reef Ecologic and the Reef Restoration Foundation. 


For a program and further information:

What: The Great Barrier Reef Restoration Symposium

Where: Pullan Reef Hotel Casino, Wharf Street, Cairns

When: from 8:30am, 17 July

Media inquiries: Danielle Koopman, Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program: 0402 968 131  Twitter: @DanKoop1