Divers wanted for GBR study

Scientists are calling for volunteer divers to help survey the health of a remote corner of the Great Barrier Reef.

Earthwatch Australia and the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences are planning a detailed study of the coral reefs surrounding Orpheus Island to assess the extent of coral disease.

Scientists fear the reef around the small island, located around 1200km northwest of Brisbane, is at risk from rising sea temperatures.

Earthwatch Executive Director Richard Gilmore said the study was a unique opportunity for divers to give hands-on help to the scientific community.

“Volunteers will get to experience this unique marine park filled with an unusually wide variety of reef habitats, clam gardens as well as submerged indigenous sites and recent shipwrecks,” he said.

“(The study will) help scientists understand more about the factors influencing the health of coral reefs.

“It’s a great way to experience something different, while making a difference to this important World Heritage site.”

He said the divers will help survey, tag and photograph diseased areas of the reef, which scientists will then monitor over time.

Source: heraldsun.com.au