reef census 2011

A shrimp of the family Palamonidae. Image: Gary Cranitch.

A four-year project led by AIMS concluded in 2010 after discovering more than a thousand likely new species living on Australian coral reefs. CReefs Australia entailed a total of nine scientific expeditions to coral reefs and was a partnership between AIMS, BHP Billiton, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, and the Census of Marine Life.

The Census of Marine Life wasa 10-year international effort involving scientists from 80 nations in a global effort to document what lives in the sea - a task never before attempted on this scale. The historic and prize-winning Census was delivered in London in October 2010.

CReefs Australia brought together 60 researchers from 25 scientific Australian and international organisations to expand our knowledge of Australian coral reef biodiversity. In total, the researchers collected over 26,000 specimens of plants and animals from 850 sites on Lizard Island, Heron Island and Ningaloo Reef, discovering over 1,200 undescribed species. This new knowledge will be included in future conservation targets and contribute to more informed management of coral reef ecosystems in a changing world.

CReefs Australia was a finalist in the 2010 Eureka Prizes (Environment section) and the United Nations Australia Association World Environment Day Awards.