CReefs - The Australian Node

Field program

Lizard Island2010 expedition

24 August to 14 September  2010:

International and Australian marine scientists are visiting Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef for the final far north Queensland field expedition of the CReefs Australia program.

The island is located on the northern Great Barrier Reef, 270 km north of Cairns, Queensland.

This expedition, running from 24 August to 14 September, is the third and final trip to Lizard Island as part of the four-year CReefs Australia project. Previous expeditions took place in April 2008 and February 2009.

The project has recently been recognised for its contribution to marine science by several of the premier science prize programs in Australia.

CReefs Australia joined an impressive shortlist of finalists in the 2010 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes, which reward originality and excellence in scientific research and innovation. CReefs Australia was recognised in the environmental research category.

The project was also lauded by the United Nations Association of Australia's 2010 World Environment Day Awards, which acknowledge innovation and dedication in research to protect, manage or restore the environment. CReefs Australia was named as a finalist for the Department of Sustainability and Environment's Biodiversity Award.

CReefs Australia team leader and Principal Research Scientist with the Australian Institute of Marine Science Dr Julian Caley said that being selected as a finalist in the awards was national recognition of the work being carried out by the team, which contributes to the coral reef component of the Census of Marine Life, a 10-year program involving researchers in more than 80 countries.This trip's participants include more than 30 people on site at different times during the three weeks, including researchers from Australia, Japan, Russia and the United States, support staff, BHP Billiton employees, and a photographer.

The researchers are sampling animal and plant species associated with coral reefs that have not previously been studied in depth, including species of invertebrate marine animals, shrimps, worms, parasites, algae, soft corals and zoanthids.

The expedition is based at the Lizard Island Research Station.

The Research Station is owned and operated by the Australian Museum and is supported by the Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation and the Coral Reef and Marine Science Foundation.

CReefs is the coral reef component of the Census of Marine Life, a 10-year program involving researchers in more than 80 countries. The Census is the first comprehensive survey of the diversity, distribution and abundance of marine life in the oceans in the past, present and future.

The Australian node of the CReefs program is a partnership between BHP Billiton, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, the Census of Marine Life, and the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

The Australian Institute of Marine Scienceis leading a consortium of scientists that will sample and analyse coral reef biodiversity over a series of nine expeditions: three trips each to Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia and Lizard and Heron Islands on the Great Barrier Reef.

 

Ningaloo Reef 2010 expedition

 
Friday 14 May to 3 June  2010:

A team of 28 researchers and support staff will head to Western Australia for the final CReefs expedition to Ningaloo Reef.

This will be the third trip to Ningaloo, under the auspices of CReefs. Launched in 2005, CReefs is the coral reef component of the Census of Marine Life (CoML), a global network of researchers in more than 80 countries engaged in a 10-year initiative to assess and explain the diversity, distribution and abundance of marine life in the oceans – past, present and future. The Australian component of CReefs includes a series of nine such expeditions. A total of three expeditions each will go to Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia; and Lizard and Heron Islands on the Great Barrier Reef. CReefs Australia is generously supported by BHP Billiton, in partnership with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

The final expedition to Ningaloo will see researchers go further north and south in search of previously undiscovered marine animals.

They will be using three boats, each measuring between 6 and 8 metres, to travel to their new dive spots each day.

The remote location has limited research facilities for a large group of researchers, so 12 palettes of equipment and fuel were transported to Ningaloo Station, where a laboratory will be established in the old station shearing shed.

Researchers from as far afield as Japan, Russia and the US will be joining the expedition, as well as two BHP Billiton environmental staff. A BBC film crew will also be present for four days, gathering material for a documentary on the Census of Marine Life.

 

Ningaloo Reef 2010 participants  
Science  
Brachyura (crabs) Rob Lasley (National University of Singapore)
Brachyura (crabs) Nguyen Son (National University of Singapore)
Octocorals Monika Schlacher-Hoenlinger (Queensland Museum)
Octocorals Merrick Ekins (Queensland Museum)
Polychaetes Charlotte Watson (Museum and Art Galleries of NT)
Barnacles Andrew Hosie (Western Australian Museum)
Barnacles/crustacea Lee Betteridge (Western Australian Museum)
Macroalgae Fred Gurgel (University of Adelaide)
Macroalgae Gareth Belton (University of Adelaide)
Zooanthids Yuka Irei (University of Ryukyus, Japan)
Zooanthids Catalina Aguilar (University of Ryukyus, Japan)
Shrimp Arthur Anker (Museum of Natural History, Florida)
Copepods Slava Ivanenko (Moscow State University)
Isopods Chad Buxton (Museum of Tropical Queensland)
Parasites Holly Heiniger (Queensland Museum)
Parasites Terry Miller (Queensland Museum)
Bryozoa Phil Bock (Museum Victoria)
Barcoding Abigail Fusaro (Ocean Genome Legacy)
   
Support  
Photographer Gary Cranitch (Queensland Museum)
Project leader Julian Caley (AIMS)
Field logistics Shawn Smith (AIMS)
Data manager Greg Coleman (AIMS)
Journalist Rebecca Leech (Independent)
Coxswain Collette Bagnato (Independent)
Coxswain Aaron Anderson (Independent)
Cook Christos Rallis (Independent)
   
BHP-Billiton  
 Lexie Frankham  
 Silver Naumoska  
   
BBC  
4 film crew  

 


 

 

Ningaloo Reef 2009 expedition

 
Wednesday 13 May  2009:

The CReefs team is heading back to Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia for an expedition that will run from 13 May to 3 June 2009. This follows the first CReefs Ningaloo trip, held in June last year.

This time around, the team will set up camp about 100km from last year's location, to sample a slightly different area. They will be staying at remote Ningaloo Station, an old sheep station near the coast.

Scientists will be installing Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS), to be collected during the Ningaloo trip next year. The ARMS have already been successfully deployed and retrieved from Lizard Island in the northern Great Barrier Reef. The devices are pegged to the ocean floor and sea creatures take up residence in them. They are being used around the world by CReefs researchers as a standardised way to measure the health, diversity and biological makeup of coral reefs.
 



WA sunset.

 

This will be a big expedition, with more than 30 people on site at different times during the three weeks, including researchers, photographers, support staff and BHP Billiton employees.

The purpose of the expeditions is to use a diverse range of sampling methods in a wide range of habitats to sample species associated with coral reefs that have not previously been well sampled.

These organisms will be identified to operational taxonomic units (OTU) in the field and to species where possible. Follow up analyses will include the description and naming of new species.

The Ningaloo expedition, as well as those to Lizard and Heron Islands, will also provide the opportunity to re-collect species currently in museum collections but for which tissue samples for genetic analysis are not available.
 

Ningaloo Reef 2009 participants  

Science
 
Polychaetes Pat Hutchings (Australian Museum)
Polychaetes Maria Capa (Australian Museum)
Polychaetes  Lynda Avery (Museum Victoria)
Polychaetes Robin Wilson (Museum Victoria)
Amphipods Lauren Hughes (Australian Museum)
Isopods Niel Bruce (Museum of Tropical Queensland)
Fish parasites Holly Heiniger (University of Queensland)
Fish parasites Tom Cribb (University of Queensland)
Macroalgae Fred Gurgel (University of Adelaide)
Macroalgae and seagrasses Rainbo Dixon (Murdoch University)
Molluscs Corey Whisson (Museum of Western Australia)
Molluscs Clay Bryce (Museum of Western Australia)
Sponges Jane Fromont (Museum of Western Australia)
Molecular genetics Abbigail Fusaro (Ocean Genome Legacy Foundation)
Soft Corals Monika Schlacher (Queensland Museum)
Soft Corals Merrick Ekins (Queensland Museum)
Crustacea Rob Lasley (Florida Museum of Natural History)
Echinoderms François Michonneau (Florida Museum of Natural History Bryozoa Phil Bock, Museum Victoria)
Molecular genetics Laetitia Plaisance (Smithsonian Institution)
   
Support  
Photographer Gary Cranitch (Queensland Museum)
Project Leader/coxswain/general diver Julian Caley (AIMS)
Manager logistics/coxswain/general diver Shawn Smith  (AIMS)
Data manager Gavin Ericson  (AIMS)
Coxswain/general diver Collette Bagnato (University of Queensland)
Coxswain/general diver Gavin Dally  (Museum and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory)
Cook Anthony Grant  (Contractor)
Journalist Angus Livingston (Contractor)
   
BHP Billiton  
Benn Prowse  
Renee Hodges

 


 

Back to Lizard  
Last year the Australian node of the CReefs project turned up hundreds of new kinds of animals, surprising international researchers who had been systematically exploring waters off two islands on the Great Barrier Reef and Ningaloo Reef off northwestern Australia, waters long familiar to divers. See CReefs media release.

In February 2009 researchers went back to Lizard Island on the northern Great Barrier Reef for their first return visit. Each site will be visited three times during the four-year project

During this expedition, researchers again used a diverse range of sampling methods in a wide range of habitats to sample species associated with coral reefs that have not previously been well sampled.

These organisms will be identified to operational taxonomic units (OTU) in the field and to species where possible. Follow up analyses will include the description and naming of new species and DNA barcoding.

The Lizard Island expedition also provided the opportunity to re-collect species currently in museum collections but for which tissue samples for genetic analysis are not available.

The expedition team, led by AIMS scientist Dr Julian Caley, was based at the Lizard Island Research Station (LIRS), on the northern Great Barrier Reef, 270 km north of Cairns, Queensland.

The Research Station is owned and operated by the Australian Museum and is supported by the Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation and the Coral Reef and Marine Science Foundation.

This year's Lizard Island expedition ran from 6 to 27 February 2009.

 



Lizard Island.  Image: Google Earth download.



Lizard Island Research Station.  Image: Trish Hendriks.

List of participants  
Science  
Polychaetes Charlotte Watson (Museum and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory)
Algae Rainbo Dixon (Murdoch University)
Algae Fred Gurgel (University of Adelaide)
Cephalopods Julian Finn (Museum Victoria)
Cephalopods John Ahearn (Melbourne University)
Parasites in Jellyfish Jo Browne (Museum Victoria)
Tanaid shrimp Magda Blazewicz (University of Lodz)
Isopods Niel Bruce (Museum of Tropical Queensland)
Echinoderms Ashley Miskelly (Independent)
Echinoderms François Michonneau (Florida Museum of Natural History)
Pycnogonids Claudia Arango Carvajal (Queensland Museum)
Bryozoans Philip Bock (Museum Victoria)
Molluscs Anders Hallan (University of Wollongong)
Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures & Pocillopora heads

Molly Timmers (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Crustacea Arthur Anker (Florida Museum of Natural History)
Crustacea Rob Lasley (Florida Museum of Natural History)
   
Media  
Photographer Gary Joseph Cranitch (Queensland Museum)
Journalist Angus Livingston (Contractor)
Writer James Woodford (Independent)
   
Support  
Data manager Greg Coleman (AIMS)
Principle investigator Julian Caley (AIMS)
Project manager- field logistics Shawn Smith (AIMS)
Boat driver Kade Mills (Museum Victoria)
Cook Charlie Graham (Contractor)
Field/lab assistant Stephy Mifsud (Independent)
   
BHP-B  
BHP employee Megan Davis (BHP- Billiton)
BHP employee Mark Daniell (BHP- Billiton)
   
   
   




 

Heron Island expedition  

The third Australian CReefs trip, to Heron Island in the southern reaches of the Great Barrier Reef off the Queensland coast, ran during September 2008.

It was the third in a series of three, 21-day expeditions at each Australian CReefs location this year. The first was held in April this year to Lizard Island and the second in June to Ningaloo Reef.

Scientists on the expeditions use a variety of sampling methods in a wide range of habitats to sample species associated with coral reefs that have not previously been well sampled.

These organisms will be identified to operational taxonomic units (OTU) in the field and to species where possible. Follow up analyses will include the description and naming of new species.

Data collected from these expeditions will be globally distributed and publicly available through the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) and incorporated into the EOL. In addition to these data, CReefs is working to identify high value data sets and to make them available to the public by facilitating them being served through OBIS.
 

Heron Island

Heron Island. Image: DigitalGlobe.

List of participants  
Science  
Polychaetes Gavin Dally (Museum and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory)
Echinoderms Ashley Miskelly (Independent)
Sort Corals and Gorgonians Merrick Ekins (Queensland Museum)
Sort Corals and Gorgonians Monika Schlacher (Queensland Museum)
Sort Corals and Gorgonians Patricia Hendriks (Queensland Museum)
Macroalgae Fred Gurgel (University of Adelaide)
Algae and Seagrasses John Huisman (Murdoch University)
Algae and Seagrasses Rainbo Dixon (Murdoch University)
Bryozoans Phil Bock (Museum Victoria (associate))
Molecular taxonomy/barcoding Laetitia Plaisance (Smithsonian Institution)
Marine Microbiology Florent Angly (San Diego State University)
   
Support  
Coxswain Steven Gregg (MAGNT)
Project Leader/diving support Julian Caley (AIMS)
Project Manager/coxswain/diving support Shawn Smith (AIMS)
Data manager Gavin Ericson (AIMS)
Chef Christos Rallis (Contractor)
   
Media  
Photographer Gary Cranitch (Queensland Museum)
Videographer Richard Morris (Contracted by Census of Marine Life)
Journalist Angus Livingston (Contractor)
   
Other  
BHP-Billiton employee David Vize (BHP-B)
BHP-Billiton employee Michelle Vardy (BHP-B)
ARMADA teacher Zamaria Rocio (Various San Diego schools)
   
   
 

 

Ningaloo Reef expedition  
The second Australian CReefs trip, this time to Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia, was run from 4 to 25 June 2008.

It is the second in a series of three, 21 day expeditions at each location. The first was held in April this year to Lizard Island.

Each expedition involves around 25 people including researchers, photographers, support staff and BHP-Billiton employees.

The purpose of the expeditions is to use a diverse range of sampling methods in a wide range of habitats to sample species associated with coral reefs that have not previously been well sampled.

These organisms will be identified to operational taxonomic units (OTU) in the field and to species where possible. Follow up analyses will include the description and naming of new species.

The Ningaloo expedition, as well as those to Lizard and Heron Islands, will also provide the opportunity to re-collect species currently in museum collections but for which tissue samples for genetic analysis are not available.

Ningaloo Reef

Ningaloo Reef.


List of participants
Molluscs Clay Bryce (Western Australian Museum)
Molluscs Corey Whisson (Western Australian Museum)
Algae Fred Gurgel (University of Adelaide)
Algae/seagrasses Rainbo Dixon (Murdoch University
Polychaetes Gavin Dally (Museum and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory)
Isopods Niel Bruce (Museum of Tropical Queensland)
Tanaid shrimp Magdalena Blazewicz (Museum Victoria)
Amphipods Lauren Hughes (Australian Museum)
Isopods Christine Hass
Echinoderms Ashely Miskelly
Bryozoa Kevin Tilbrook (British Museum of Natural History)
General Molecular Laetitia Plaisance (Smithsonian Institution)
   
Support:  
Coxswain Steven Gregg (Museum and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory
Coxswain Paul (Condo) Costello
Project Leader Julian Caley (Project Leader, Australian Institute of Marine Science)
Project Manager Shawn Smith (Project Manager, Australian Institute of Marine Science)
   
Journalist Susan Graham
Data Technician Gavin Erricson (Australian Institute of Marine Science)
Photographer Gary Cranitch (Queensland Museum)
  Cleve Etherington (BHP)
  Esme Wink (BHP)

 


 

LizardIslandexpedition

The expedition to Lizard Island was undertaken from 2 to 22 April 2008.  Around 25 people took part, including researchers, photographers, support staff and a BHP-Billiton employee.

During this expedition, researchers used a diverse range of sampling methods in a wide range of habitats to sample species associated with coral reefs that have not previously been well sampled.

These organisms will be identified to operational taxonomic units (OTU) in the field and to species where possible.  Follow up analyses will include the description and naming of new species and DNA barcoding.

The Lizard Island expedition also provided the opportunity to re-collect species currently in museum collections but for which tissue samples for genetic analysis are not available.

The expedition team stayed at the Lizard Island Research Station (LIRS), which is on the northern Great Barrier Reef, 270 km north of Cairns, Queensland. 

The Research Station is owned and operated by the Australian Museum and is supported by the Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation and the Coral Reef and Marine Science Foundation.

 

Lizard Island

Lizard Island
Image: Trish Hendriks.

Preparing to dive.

Preparing to dive.
Image: Claudia Reidy.

List of participants  

Soft corals and gorgonians

Katharina Fabricius (Australian Institute of Marine Science)
  Merrick Ekins (Queensland Museum)
  Trish Hendriks (Queensland Museum)
Echinoderms Tim O'Hara (Museum Victoria)
Crustacea (tanaids) Magda Blazewicz (Museum Victoria)
Bryozoa Phil Bock
Polychaetes Chris Glasby (Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory)
  Charlotte Watson (Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory)
Isopods Niel Bruce (Queensland Museum)
Algae Fred Gurgel  (University of Adelaide and the South Australian Herbarium)
  John Huisman (WA Herbarium)
  Elizabeth Perkins (Adelaide University)
Jellyfish and commensals Joanna Browne (Museum Victoria)
General molecular science Laetitia Plaisance (CReefs Institution of Oceanography at the University of California; soon the Smithsonian Natural History Museum)
Support Greg Coleman (Data Manager, AIMS)
Christos Rallis (Cook)
Julian Caley (Project Leader, AIMS)
Shawn Smith (Project Manager, AIMS)
Frank Farris (Visiting web expert)
Nash Hancock (BHP)
Gary Cranitch (Photographer, Queensland Museum)
Claudia Reidy (Expedition Journalist)
   

CReefs Australia: A partnership between BHP Billiton, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation,
the Census of Marine Life and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS).
CReefs Australia is a node of the Census of Coral Reef Ecosystems (CReefs),
a project of the Census of Marine Life.