Discovering Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Now thanks to the University of Queensland, even armchair Scientists can enjoy the underwater splendour of Australia’s coral reef ecosystems.
An incredible new website will also let us help with conservation efforts for the Great Barrier Reef – Australia’s precious World Heritage Site.
|Study Sciences at UQ
Master of Conservation Biology
Where will I study?
University of Queensland (UQ), Brisbane (St Lucia)
Duration – how long is the course?
1 year Full Time.
Entry – what do I need?
Language – English ability
IELTS 6.5 overall (with no band score under 6.0).
Discovering Australia’s Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is Queensland’s own underwater wonderland.
And now, thanks to a pioneering new research project involving scientists from the University of Queensland, ocean conservationists, diving enthusiasts and couch potatoes all around the world will get to enjoy some virtual diving experience on the reef, revealing more of its secrets than ever before.
One of the key reasons to choose Australia as a place to study is undoubtedly the country’s natural environment.
From lush rain forests to dry grasslands, snowy mountain ranges to vast deserts, Australia has every conceivable natural space, and it has plenty that are beyond imagination.
And among Australia’s most unique and important natural assets are the country’s ocean ecosystems. Queensland’s famous Great Barrier Reef attracts thousands of tourists and Australian divers, who come to experience the brilliant colours and amazing sea creatures that live off this series of coral reefs stretching 2,300km.
But as well as these visitors, the coral ecosystem has the constant interest of scientists and conservationists, and now, because of a pioneering scientific study involving the University of Queensland, the chance to discover Australia’s underwater wonderlands is being opened up to people all around the world.
The Catlin Seaview Survey has been launched online. It’s a project exploiting new technology allowing scientists to study Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef in greater detail, focusing on the health and organic makeup of the living coral. A key player in the project is the Global Change Institute – a leading centre of research attached to the University of Queensland. Leadership for this ambitious research is being provided by the GCI Director, Professor Hoegh-Guldberg, who explains two of the survey’s central goals.
「卡特琳海景調查計畫」目前已經開始在線上運作，此項計畫運用最新科技讓科學家仔細研究昆士蘭大堡礁，注意活珊瑚的健康與有機組成狀況。昆士蘭大學的附屬研究中心「全球變化學院」在這項極具野心的計畫中扮演關鍵角色，該學院院長 Hoegh-Guldberg 是此計畫主導人。以下是他提出的兩個中心目標:
First is the goal of gaining a far better understanding of how the planet’s ocean ecosystems are being affected by climate change. Aiding marine conservation, the survey will establish a solid base of data to inform decision-making on these sensitive environments, reduced over the last 30 years by as much as 50%. Another of the project’s pioneering objectives is allowing a truly global access to knowledge and to the survey itself. With the help of wonderful high-resolution imagery, members of the public are already gaining access to underwater experience. It’s an interface with the survey that organisers hope will cut the distance between knowledge held by specialists in the science world, and that of ordinary members of the public – people who may also live thousands of kilometres away from the coral reefs.
A collaboration with Google Earth & Maps (diving into the sea will be like using Google’s ‘Street View’ feature) is already making the enormous range of undersea images from the Seaview’s special camera available to viewers around the world. It is revolutionary not only because the project enables internet users to become explorers of the reef; as the research takes place, online visitors can also become important participants in the survey’s new discoveries.
A visit to the website gets you started – we are immediately drawn into a spectacular undersea environment. Thanks to ingenious, specially-designed underwater cameras, a vivid ocean experience is recreated online. As it explores depths down to 100 metres, the Seaview camera captures a 360 degree view of its surroundings. Some 50,000 images will be made accessible online, where these recordings are rendered as fantastic panoramic images which users can move through as if exploring the reef with a diver’s eye. It’s a truly fascinating ‘virtual dive’ you can make at home. Meanwhile, scientists on the reef use special tablet computers (operational underwater), which form
a vital part of the system because they enable scientists to change camera settings and download images without leaving the ocean, prolonging the research and helping it remain consistent. Below the surface, tablets can control the camera technology, helping guide Seaview’s robot to the right places for specific recordings.
What’s even more impressive is that the system will allow for new visits in the future, enabling the scientists to relocate specific sections of the reef – using geolocation. This will help realise important conservation goals – because when you can revisit an exact location for a future photo-shoot, it is much easier to monitor changes that may be happening along a vast coral reef that’s extremely sensitive to climate change, pollution, fishing and other threats. With the survey’s global audience online, monitoring evidence of change will be much more effective.
So, the first images of the reef are waiting for you to view, already uploaded to the project’s website. It’s early days for the survey but floating through the underwater gardens of the Great Barrier Reef with views of sea life in every direction, it only seems possible to feel engaged with the project, and a deep fascination with its subjects. Perhaps a sign of the project’s successful design and realisation, it seems easy to make the connection between the project’s stated objectives of conservation, exploration, and education, together with a celebration of this beautiful marine environment.
With plenty of spectacular imagery, link to Catlin Seaview Survey here
Read more about the Global Change Institute at University of Queensland
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