pink coral image with fish


AIMS and its research partners barcoded 170 species, named 116 new species and identified three new genera, thanks to this collaborative project.

CReefs was a unique opportunity to bring together national and international taxonomists from museums, universities and institutes to increase our knowledge of marine life and our understanding of the interrelationships between coral reef species.

Launched in 2005, CReefs was the coral reef component of the Census of Marine Life, 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.

CReefs researchers focused on identifying and naming the myriad marine life associated with coral reefs by conducting a global census of coral reef ecosystems.

CReefs had three nodes hosted by the following organisations: AIMS, the Smithsonian Institution and the Pacific Island Fisheries Centre of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

AIMS led a consortium of scientists conducting field surveys at three key Australian reef sites: the Great Barrier Reef's Heron and Lizard Islands and Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. These expeditions used a diverse range of sampling methods to sample species associated with coral reefs.

Species were genetically barcoded as part of the Barcode of Life, a project linked with the Census of Marine Life. Barcoding is a method that uses a short genetic marker in an organism’s DNA to identify the species to which it belongs.

All biodiversity data generated by the project has been made publicly available through the Ocean Biogeographic Information System, an initiative of the Census of Marine Life.

BHP Billiton supported the field-based activities of the Australian node and the follow-up analyses of collections from these expeditions (with $3.4 million over four years) in a deal brokered by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and AIMS.

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