Monitoring inshore reefs


Inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef form only a small part of the World Heritage Area, but their health has high significance, and their proximity to land exposes them to additional threats. Inshore reefs are used extensively for recreational activities, such as fishing. They are more exposed to river runoff and pollution from the adjacent catchment, coastal development and shipping and many are located where bleaching risk is high.

AIMS monitors 41 inshore reefs, with measurements of:

  • seafloor cover of corals, soft corals and macroalgae
  • size-distribution and recruitment of corals
  • factors, such as disease, that cause coral death.

The changes in seafloor coral cover, recruitment and demographics that we measure, along with information on water quality, allow us to better understand the dynamics and resilience of the reefs, and support coastal resource management decisions.

More information

  • Nine inshore reefs have been monitored since 1992 under the Long-term Monitoring Program. (Reefs further out are also monitored as part of the LTMP.)
  • Another 32 inshore reefs are monitored as part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Reef Water Quality Protection Plan (Reef Plan).
  • Reef Plan data and reports are publicly available.
  • e-Atlas is a website and mapping system that makes environmental research data accessible.