Minister Garrett - CReefs

The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP announces funding boost to CReefs. Image: John de Rooy.

An influx of resources worth a total of $2.7 million to support the ambitious CReefs project that is systematically surveying life on Australian reefs was announced at AIMS by the Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts the Hon Peter Garrett AM MP.

The Australian Biological Resources Survey (ABRS) and CReefs, with support from the GBR Foundation, provided funding to five scientists from Australian museums and other research organisations to work on the AIMS-led CReefs project that is bringing new marine life to the surface. The grants, worth collectively $1.2 million over three years, are joined with cash and in-kind contributions from the scientists' host institutions to make a total contribution of $2.7 million.

CReefs is an international multi-agency collaboration, led by AIMS, the Smithsonian Institution and the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. CReefs Australia is funded through a deal brokered by the GBR Foundation with BHP Billiton providing $3.2 million to the project over four years. Many hundreds of species thought to be new to science have already been discovered on CReefs expeditions to Lizard and Heron Islands on the GBR and Ningaloo Reef off Western Australia.

The wealth of marine science knowledge turning up on well-visited reefs has amazed even its leader, AIMS Principal Research Scientist Dr Julian Caley, and has provided solid evidence that our knowledge of the marine world remains very incomplete. The riches of the oceans are myriad and the scientific challenges unparalleled.