Monitoring Australia's tropical reefs
For over 20 years AIMS has been surveying the health of 47 midshore and offshore reefs across the Great Barrier Reef region. The Long-term Monitoring Program represents the longest continuous record of change in reef communities over such a large geographic area.
What we monitor and why
A team of trained divers surveys fish by underwater visual census, and records corals and other bottom-dwelling organisms along the same sections of reef each visit.
A separate component of the program monitors the effects of the 2004 Great Barrier Reef Marine Park re-zoning plan.
Results from the monitoring are regularly reported and used for in-depth analyses in scientific publications. The most recent update of the coral cover trend in the Great Barrier Reef was produced in May 2018.
Inshore reef monitoring under Reef Plan
Inshore reefs (those that can be reached from shore by a small boat) are vulnerable to more threats than those further from shore. Thirty-two inshore reefs are monitored under a separate inshore reef monitoring plan under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Reef Water Quality Protection Plan (known as the ‘Reef Plan’).
Monitoring in Western Australia
AIMS has been monitoring fish and coral communities on Scott Reef on the North-West Shelf since 1994. The data help us to understand Scott Reef’s natural variability, and how its isolation from other reefs in the Indian Ocean, and consequent dependence upon self-recruitment, affects the dynamics of local populations and resilience of communities to disturbances like cyclones.