How We’re Helping The Great Barrier Reef
Small World Journeys’ students participate in a citizen-science program called CoralWatch. CoralWatch is a not-for-profit citizen science program based at The University of Queensland working with volunteers worldwide to increase understanding of coral reefs, coral bleaching and climate change. Our students make excellent volunteers!
Recently CoralWatch honoured our efforts and the hug amount of data we’ve collected about the Great Barrier Reef and printed the Small World Journeys logo on their colour charts!
3 June 2022
Coral Health and “Bleaching”
Symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) live within the coral tissue in healthy coral. The algae gives the coral its colour, and also gives the coral food and energy. If the coral is put under stress, caused from such things as a water temperature rise, this can make the coral drive out the symbiotic algae. This makes the normal brownish-green colour change to white, known as “bleaching.”
Small World Journeys’ logo printed on the CoralWatch cards!
CoralWatch developed the Coral Health Chart in 2002. The chart standardises changes in coral colours, and provides a simple way for people to quantify coral health and contribute to the CoralWatch global database. Small World Journeys is one of the world’s prolific collectors of the data, and our returning student groups can compare results year on year. Our groups collect data on coral colours, which helps to identify signs of coral bleaching or poor health. To date our groups have recorded thousands of corals at the Great Barrier Reef, all logged in the CoralWatch database.
To honour our contributions, CoralWatch recently printed our logo on their Coral Health charts!
Why Are Healthy Reefs Important?
Coral reefs are the hearts of biodiversity. Biodiversity is important because it improves the stability and resilience of an ecosystem. Although reefs compose less than 1% of the ocean floor, they support an estimated 25% of all marine species. Coral Reefs play a crucial role in creating the conditions that support oceans in producing oxygen, which aids marine life as well as life on land.
Healthy coral reefs also provide food, income and livelihoods. More than 500 million people around the world depend on reefs for food, jobs and defense for shorelines. In addition, corals hold significant cultural value for coastal communities around the world, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
Today coral reefs are among the most threatened ecosystems on our planet.