Rigorous science, extensive research and regular monitoring are at the heart of our efforts to protect the Reef. Our work is effective, targeted and collaborative with a clear focus on getting results.

Our Reef is spectacular and it deserves the best efforts we have to offer.

We deliver programs and actions to protect the Reef based on the latest scientific research and advice from local knowledge holders and Traditional Owner partners.

We use independent science to understand the true condition of the Reef and the challenges it faces. This knowledge helps us focus our efforts where they are most needed and ensures that we get results.

Our actions are making a difference. We are reducing environmental pressures and increasing the resilience of the Reef, but there’s more work to do.

Tagline: Our Reef Our Wonder

    Monitoring and reporting

    The success of all Reef protection programs is regularly monitored and reported.

    • UNESCO
      The UNESCO World Heritage Committee monitors the state of conservation of all properties on the World Heritage List. It is regularly updated about achievements, new investments and key policy changes to protect the Great Barrier Reef.
    • Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
      The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority issues weekly Reef health reports during summer and monthly reports during the cooler months.
    • Reef 2050 Integrated Monitoring and Reporting Program (RIMReP)
      RIMReP brings together information to guide Reef management decisions. Access information through the Reef Knowledge System which enables the early detection of trends and changes in the Reef’s environment.
    • Reef Water Quality Report Cards
      Reef Water Quality Report Cards measure progress towards the Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan targets, objectives and long-term outcome. Regional report cards outline the condition of local waterways in the Fitzroy, Gladstone, Wet Tropics, Townsville Dry Tropics and Mackay–Whitsunday–Isaac areas.
    • Statewide Landcover and Trees Study (SLATS)
      Retaining native vegetation is critical for maintaining biodiversity, preventing land degradation and improving water quality. This study uses satellite imagery to monitor changes in Queensland’s woody vegetation. A Native Vegetation Scientific Expert Panel has been established to help understand the factors behind land clearing identified in the SLATS report.
    • Outlook Report
      The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority publishes the Outlook Report every five years which examines the Great Barrier Reef’s health, pressures and likely future.
    • Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS)
      AIMS has been monitoring the length and breadth of the Reef for more than 35 years. It provides essential data on the status of coral and fish communities. Access AIMS Reef monitoring data through the Reef reports hub.
    • Social and Economic Long-Term Monitoring Program
      This program assists Reef managers and decision-makers to better understand the social, economic, cultural, institutional and environmental factors that impact the Reef.
    • Queensland Future Climate dashboard
      The dashboard provides access to state-of-the-art climate data based on the most recent climate model outputs and simulations.
    • Queensland Climate Action Plan
      This website shows the state’s total greenhouse gas emissions and progress towards its 2030 emissions target.
    • Data and mapping
      A range of data and mapping tools, systems, maps, imagery and data sets provide accurate, up-to-date spatial information about Queensland resources including Great Barrier Reef locations.

    Science and research

    All plans for managing the Great Barrier Reef are based on the best available scientific evidence and research.

    • Scientific Consensus Statement
      The Scientific Consensus Statement is a major independent review of land-based impacts on Reef water quality and ecosystem condition. The findings underpin all actions in the Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan.
    • Reef Water Quality Independent Science Panel
      The panel provides science-based and technical advice on water quality science needs including implementing and monitoring progress against the Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan.
    • Reef 2050 Independent Expert Panel
      This panel provides broader scientific and expert advice related to the Great Barrier Reef including support for implementing the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan.
    • Citizen science
      A range of citizen science projects collect data and help protect and monitor wildlife and habitats.
    • CSIRO’s Reef research
      CSIRO research covers a wide spectrum and addresses many issues facing the Reef.
    • Marine park research activities
      Zoning Plans and regulations control how research activities are conducted in the marine park.
    • Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority eLibrary
      A range of research and scientific reports are available through the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority eLibrary.
    • Australian Institute for Marine Science (AIMS) research
      AIMS provides research and knowledge to help governments and industry make informed decisions about sustainable marine management.
    • Centre for Tropical Water and Aquatic Ecosystem Research (TropWATER)
      TropWATER at James Cook University brings together freshwater, estuarine and marine expertise. It conducts research related to water science, resource management and the ecology of water ecosystems.
    • Queensland science capability directory
      The directory provides information on research centres, institutes, facilities, research stations, laboratories and other research organisations in Reef catchments.
    • ReefWorks
      Supported by the Queensland Government, ReefWorks is Australia’s tropical marine technology test range to safely test marine technologies, uncrewed systems and new sensors in a real-world environment.
    • CSIRO’s climate change research
      CSIRO’s body of research on climate change has information on building resilience, developing low-emissions technologies and improving climate knowledge.
    • Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
      The Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (2005–2022) provided knowledge to foster the sustainable use, adaptive governance and effective management of the world’s coral reefs to enhance human wellbeing.
    • Tropical Water Quality Hub
      The National Environmental Science Program (NESP) Tropical Water Quality Hub (2015–2021) delivered innovative research to maintain and improve tropical water quality from the catchment to the Reef.

    Case studies

    Monitoring coral health

    Volunteers are helping monitor the health of the Great Barrier Reef through the not-for-profit citizen science program CoralWatch. Based at The University of Queensland, CoralWatch has developed a simple chart for assessing coral health. Volunteers are also encouraged to take action to reduce their carbon emissions and help save the Reef.

    Snorkeller comparing the colour of coral using the CoralWatch Coral Health Chart
    Image details

    Snorkeller monitoring coral using the CoralWatch Coral Health Chart

    Photo credit: © CoralWatch

    Master Reef Guide Michelle

    Meet Master Reef Guide Michelle Barry from Spirit of Freedom and learn more about why the cod hole is her favourite dive site. Michelle is one of many Master Reef Guides who conduct regular Reef surveys which provide valuable data about Reef health.

    Watch video about Master Reef Guide Michelle

    Master Reef Guide Matt

    Master Reef Guide Matt Fields from Ocean Freedom and Ocean Free is privileged to conduct Eye on the Reef surveys which helps us understand the health of the Reef. Matt collects data on bleaching events, algae growth, coral diseases and our amazing marine life including sea turtles, grazing herbivores and sharks.

    Watch video about Master Reef Guide Matt

    Yarul Dhingiga: Keppel Bay Reef rehabilitation project

    Reef Joint Field Management Program rangers worked with the Woppaburra Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement Aboriginal Corporation and local tourism operators to trial a localised reef rehabilitation technique. They installed 200 Mars Assisted Reef Restoration System (MARRS) reef stars near Great Keppel Island. The metal frames provide a stable platform for corals to attach to and grow. Results from other trials have shown new coral growth and increased coral cover.

    Watch video about Yarul Dhingiga: Keppel Bay Reef rehabilitation project

    Using technology to monitor our Reefs

    The Reef Joint Field Management Program is testing and implementing new technologies, such as underwater drones, that will help us monitor Reef health. The five-year Technology Transformation Project is investigating new equipment that will make it easier to monitor the 348,000 square kilometres of islands, cays and reefs.

    Watch video about Using technology to monitor our Reefs


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