AIMS' first large scale monitoring program was established in 1985 to study the distribution and abundance of crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS). Since then, the role and impact of monitoring in science has continued to grow.
The Long-Term Monitoring Program now has the longest and most comprehensive data set on the health of the Great Barrier Reef, spanning well over 20 years. Continuing research and support for long term data collection has seen the implementation of environmental monitoring, including water quality, weather, and sea temperatures.
Monitoring has made a substantial contribution toward the sustainable use the tropical marine environment through advising managers of negative impacts.
Over the past 10 years AIMS has been developing new remote sensing technologies to augment the observations collected on research voyages. Ultimately, these new observing technologies will reduce the need for physical site inspections and provide a more complete picture of the status and trends of marine ecosystems across all of northern Australia.