Coral Reef Monitoring & Response

Test Bed Vision:

To develop novel monitoring and response technologies for coral reefs, based on our expertise in advanced materials, sensors, and autonomous robotics. We want to achieve our goals through close collaboration with internal and external partners working in the marine environment, to facilitate our detailed understanding of the requirements and priorities in the marine domain and validation of the developed technology in field deployments.

Healthy coral reef slope, © Matt Curnock 2013.

Healthy coral reef slope, © Matt Curnock 2013.

Coral reefs are unique, beautiful, mysterious, and home to a large number of marine animal species. Global climate change is putting these ecosystems under considerable stress and it is critical that we better understand and remedy the key stress factors. Our testbed developed new technologies for monitoring marine environments at fine spatio-temporal scales and new sensors to augment the existing marine observation infrastructure. We focused on several aspects of benthic habitats, including optical and acoustic mapping methods for reconstructing detailed morphological features, spectral, vision, and environmental DNA methods for determining habitat composition and marine species population dynamics, and real-time monitoring of behavior and physiology of key reef species using miniature sensors. The outputs of the individual technology components are integrated using CSIRO platform technologies, which include MarineIoT for large-scale data collection and eReefs bio-geo-chemical models for identifying ecosystem-scale trends based on observational data. We collaborated internally and externally to apply these technologies in several applications, including monitoring and remediation of crown of thorns starfish outbreaks, monitoring of coral bleaching, and detection of toxic algal blooms.

This test bed was led by Brano Kusy from CSIRO’s Data61, and was a collaboration by staff from CSIRO’s Oceans & Atmosphere, Land and Water, Agriculture and Food, Data61, and Manufacturing.