The Australian Institute of Marine Science is one of several distinguished research organisations involved in the Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program (RRAP), the largest collaborative effort to help the Great Barrier Reef survive climate change.
RRAP brings together some of the best minds in marine science, technology, and engineering, to create a toolkit of effective, at-scale Reef interventions that are feasible, safe, acceptable and affordable. These could be implemented if, when and where it is decided action is needed.
Modelling shows these interventions are likely to be required in addition to emissions reduction and continued Reef management.
These interventions would work together, reinforcing each other to protect and restore high value locations, as well as help it more broadly adapt to a warmer future.
AIMS’ foundational work in areas such as coral adaptation and acclimatisation, breeding and recruitment underpin many of the interventions being assessed for development. Our world-leading National Sea Simulator plays a critical role in developing and testing these interventions.
AIMS helped steer the first phase of the collaborative program, a rigorous and comprehensive investigation into medium and large scale reef intervention. This 18-month concept feasibility study involved over 150 scientists from more than 20 organisations around the globe. It concluded successful intervention is possible, and would benefit the Reef and Australians under a wide range of climatic scenarios, but that time was of the essence and we have a fast closing window of opportunity.
The Program is now in a research and development phase. Interventions identified in the initial feasibility study are being developed, tested and risk-assessed, aiming to strike a balance between minimising risk and maximising opportunity for the Reef. These interventions would be progressively made available for future deployment should they be required.
Partners of the R&D program include:
- Great Barrier Reef Foundation
- James Cook University
- The University of Queensland
- Queensland University of Technology
- Southern Cross University
An important part of the program is to work closely with Traditional Owners, and engage different community groups and interests in the co-design, deployment and evaluation of proposed interventions or technologies.
The first four-year stage of the RRAP R&D Program is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.