5 May 2011- Taiwan Visit


Autonomous reef-monitoring structure. Image Julian Caley.

MEDIA ALERT

5 May 2011

A group of scientists from US, Taiwan, Japan and Australia are currently meeting at a workshop at AIMS to discuss how to standardise the measurement of biodiversity of coral reefs.

The workshop is one of the outcomes of the enormous global Census of Marine Life, a 10-year program involving more than 2500 researchers from 80 countries, undertaking the first comprehensive survey of the diversity, distribution and abundance of marine life on Earth in the past, present and future.

AIMS led a consortium of scientists for the Australian CReefs component of the Census, and carried out expeditions to Ningaloo, Heron Island and Lizard Island reefs to search for new plant and animal life.

The researchers on the field trips used diverse sampling methods in a wide range of habitats.

One of the tools that proved particularly successful was the Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structure (ARMS). The ARMS are sets of stacked PVC plates that are temporarily secured to the ocean floor and provide an appealing habitat for sea creatures to colonise. The ARMS are retrieved at various times and the organisms that have settled there are photographed and collected.

Scientists participating in the AIMS workshop are discussing the research that would be required to determine if ARMS tool might provide a way of globally standardising the monitoring of biodiversity on coral reefs. Monitoring is often difficult and time-consuming, and scientists are constantly seeking better ways to carry it out.

The leader of CReefs and workshop facilitator, Dr Julian Caley is available today for interviews on 0439 472 148.

For further information contact:

Dr Julian Caley, 0439 472 148

Dr Nancy Knowlton, 0439 472 148

Wendy Ellery, AIMS Media Liaison, (07) 4753 4409; 0418 729 265; w.ellery@aims.gov.au