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Catlin Seaview Survey

The Catlin Seaview Survey aims to carry out the first comprehensive study to document the composition and health of coral reefs on the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea across an unprecedented depth range (0-100m). Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg is the chief scientist on the project and will oversee the three components of the Catlin Seaview Survey.

The different components (in short)

1) Shallow Reef Survey - Richard Vevers and Christophe Bailhache (Underwater Earth)
The shallow reef survey will involve photographing the reef in full 360 degree panoramic vision on an unprecedented scale using specially developed cameras. These images will be analysed automatically using image recognition software creating an incredibly rich broad scale baseline for scientific analysis from locations along the entire length of the 2300km reef. The visual baseline will be made freely available through Google, for scientists all around the world to study.

2) Deep Reef Survey - Dr Pim Bongaerts
The deep reef survey looks into the effects of climate change on one of the least known ecosystems on the planet – the deep-water reefs or mesophotic coral ecosystems (between 30-100m). It will provide a comprehensive study of the health composition and biodiversity of the deepwater reefs on the Great Barrier Reef as well as experimentally assess their susceptibility to increased temperature and climate change.

3) Mega Fauna Survey - Dr Richard FitzPatrick
The third component of the survey is the mega fauna survey. This is led by Emmy award winning cinematographer and shark researcher Richard Fitzpatrick. This part will involve tagging and tracking manta rays, turtles and tiger sharks using satellite tags and tracking their movements live in relation to oceanographic data. This is a really important study as there are almost no comprehensive studies that have examined how large animals are changing their distributions in response to rapidly warming seas.

Catlin Seaview Survey and the CRE lab

The Catlin Seaview Survey is a collaborative effort between the Global Change Institute (The University of Queensland), not-for-profit organisation Underwater Earth (project creators), and partner Google, that is sponsored by the Catlin Group Limited. The Coral Reef Ecosystems lab is strongly involved in the shallow and deep reef components of the Catlin Seaview Project, with Prof. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg as chief scientist of the overall project, Dr Pim Bongaerts leading the "Deep Reef Survey" component, and several lab members as part of the research team. As such, the lab and its collaborators will be responsible for analysis of the acquired data from the visual census, using automated image classification and recognition analyses. Additionally, it will cover the deep reef component, which involves studies on the biodiversity, genetic connectivity, physiology and reproduction of corals on mesophotic reefs.

Student Position Openings

At the end of March 2012 we will be advertising several student projects in relation to the Catlin Seaview Project - some focusing on the analysis of the broad-scale surveying data, the others will be revolving around the deep reef component.