“We have no idea what we might find,” Dr Dean Miller, Director Science and Media on the Great Barrier Reef Legacy tells me.
“As scuba-divers we can get down to around 30 to 40m safely but with this ROV (remotely operated underwater vehicle) we are allowed to to 150m so this really turns into exploration in its purist form.”
Dr Miller is the primary to make use of the model new Blueye Pioneer underwater drone, embarking on a 21-day expedition to discover the Great Barrier Reef’s most distant, unexplored reaches – and badess the area’s declining coral reef hall.
“I don’t think there is anyone out there who didn’t dream as a kid of being able to see what is down in the deeper regions of our oceans,” Dr Miller enthuses.
And now, for the primary time, that is now attainable with an off-the-shelf ROV hat Dr Miller says will revolutionise the best way that we perceive what occurs beneath the waves – identical to we noticed with the aerial drone revolution 5 years in the past.
But it is not nearly exploring. This software will enable us the flexibility to take a look at a number of the deeper coral reefs, and see how they’ve survived by way of the final two mbad bleaching occasions, Dr Miller says.
Erik Dyrkoren, the CEO of Blueye Robotics says that is the primary underwater drone that mixes trendy “user friendliness” and consumer expertise with skilled efficiency – so it is a lot simpler to make use of for a lot of extra folks.
“People can go explore the ocean, people such as the Great Barrier Reef Legacy,” Dyrkoren says. “It also has a much lower price point that professional alternatives that are out there.”
According to Dyrkoren, the Pioneer is “made to withstand the forces of the ocean, even rough waters” and has two hours of battery life.
Dr Miller says all the information being collected from his 21-day expedition will return to the researchers’ mother or father establishments to be badysed and collated. But the researchers can be offering preliminary outcomes and updates all through the expedition, in addition to presenting these findings at a free public symposium on December eight in Port Douglas Australia as soon as they return.
But what is going to they be in search of, precisely – and the way will the expedition work?
“We have a good broadscale understanding of how the Great Barrier Reef was affected by the two consecutive bleaching events, ” Dr Miller says. “What we don’t understand in great detail is how individual coral species and individual reefs have fared through this heat stress.”
Great Barrier Reef Legacy is offering free entry for scientists and badysis groups over the 21-day expedition, dubbed “Search for the Super Coral”. Basically this implies researchers from many various organisations can come collectively and work on the identical reef, on the identical day, to reply the large questions – which corals have survived, the place have they survived and the way have they survived.
“Once we understand this we will have a better idea of what this means for the future health of the Great Barrier Reef and coral reefs worldwide,” Dr Miller says.
With any expedition right into a distant area the place there was little or no entry there may be at all times the prospect of discovering one thing surprising, however what the staff is absolutely hoping to seek out are the coral survivors – the species are extra warmth tolerant than others and appear to have the ability to address hotter water temperatures.
“We know that some of corals will not be as highly adapted to this type of stress and so our team will be working hard to identify both the corals that are making it through, and the ones that aren’t doing so well,” Dr Miller explains.
Dr Miller factors out that The Great Barrier Reef is “very large”, and has a excessive diploma of resilience.
Having sufficient stay coral and ecosystem operate can be important for figuring out how nicely coral reefs adapt to a warming local weather, Dr Miller says – and it is this resilience they’re hoping to find.
There are fairly just a few concepts being thrown round proper now as to how we’d restore the coral reefs of the world. But Dr Miller says this our expedition is absolutely step one at understanding how pure techniques have coped with larger water temperatures.
“We will identify and fully understand the coral species that are able to make it through these events, and therefore we will have a much better idea where to invest our energy and resources for restoration efforts,” Dr Miller says.
“Until these questions answered we really can’t begin any restoration processes as using the wrong coral species would be devastating.”
The expedition is supporting badysis from a number of authorities organisations, and they’re offering much-needed badets, experience and the very best marine scientists of their subject to verify it’s a success.
This actually is a novel collaboration between scientists, the tourism business, educators, media professionals and the worldwide neighborhood and Dr Miller says it “really paves the way for how scientific programs of the high significance can be creatively funded to solve the most pressing environmental issues.”
But to avoid wasting the reef, Dr Miller says at the start we must always all be shifting in direction of renewable power sources as quick as we will and lowering the quantity of carbon emissions which are affecting not solely coral reef ecosystems globally, however many different important ecosystems on earth.
“Climate change is quickly affecting us all and making real and positive changes right now will determine the fate of coral reefs in the next 10 years,” Dr Miller says. “We must act now.”
You can observe together with the expedition on the web site and on Facebook.
“We encourage scientists from around the globe to access this information for their own studies,” Dr Miller says. “This is because the Great Barrier Reef belongs to all of us and we all have a vested interest in ensuring that this largest natural living structure is allowed to thrive.”
“We that for coral reefs to survive we need to support innovation, education, and communication – which is exactly what we intend to do.”
If you’ve got received a spare $6k to spend, you’ll be able to pre-order your personal Pioneer right here.
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