Undersea Explorer's achievements

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  • 1. Undersea ExplorerEnvironmental program
  • 2. Liveaboard Adventure DivingResearch Conservation Education Student training
  • 3. Undersea Explorer:•operates as a private marine institute•employs up to 8 marine scientists•Works with industry, government,community,universities and marine institutes
  • 4. Projects conducted jointly with:•James Cook University •University of Melbourne•Museum of Tropical Qld, •Victorian Museum•University of California, Santa Cruz •Victorian Institute of Marine Science•CRC Reef •Queensland Museum•Australian Reef Check Foundation •University of Queensland•Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority •University of Tasmania•Australian Institute of Marine Science •University of Ghent, Belgium•University of Sydney •Rostock University, Germany•Australian Museum •Hogeschool Zeeland, Netherlands
  • 5. Research and Conservation Fluorescent coralsSharks Projects Reef Check Water quality Dwarf minke whales NautilusSustainable diving Bioerosion UE research database
  • 6. Long term GBR water quality monitoring Undersea Explorer / GBRMPA / AIMS Far north Transect (annual) Cooktown - Osprey Transect Port Douglas - Outer reef transect •Monthly water samples •Coastal to offshore •Temp & salinity •Chlorophyll analysed in the lab
  • 7. Bioerosion – Australian MuseumRate of coral reef growth and degradation
  • 8. Reef MonitoringWhy monitor coral reefs •16% of reefs lost in last 5 years •27% severely threatened Reef Check program •Investigates short and long term changes to coral reefs •International through over 50 countries •Standard methods
  • 9. Undersea / JCU Reef Check •• survey of over 40 Great Barrier Reef sites•extremely cost effective
  • 10. Shark researchJames Cook University & Undersea Explorer •Whitetip reef shark •Grey reef whaler
  • 11. Shark research James Cook University & Undersea ExplorerSatellite tagging 3.7m tiger shark
  • 12. Osprey Reef Tracking Grid•Tagging and tracking a range of species•identify home range areas•determine growth rates•map seasonal and 3D movement patterns•investigate habituation to divers•produce an identification database •provide scientific data for better management decisions
  • 13. Sustainable dive site management and conservationExplore the expectations andenjoyment of divers on coral reefsUse this information to placevalue on high-qualityreef features for dive siteprotection both locally and in other areas Dean Miller James Cook University& Undersea Explorer
  • 14. Undersea Explorer Dwarf Minke Whale project •Undersea Explorer •Museum of Tropical Qld •James Cook University •University of California Santa Cruz •CRC Reef
  • 15. The UE minke experience•extremely curious whales•close approaches to boats divers / snorkellers•long in-water interactions•only described as a new sub-species in 1985•special aggregation area in the GBR Ribbon Reefs Distinctive ID markings
  • 16. The minke project•Minke code of practice guidelines•minke biology•individual identification (PODPIC)•behaviour•size estimation•sound recording and ID•acoustic tracking•visitor experiences / ecological sustainability
  • 17. Nautilus pompiliusPopulation studies at Osprey Reef Undersea Explorer, Port Douglas
  • 18. Nautilus lifestyle •reef predators and scavengers •inhabit depths between 150m - 600m •tropical Indo Pacific region •only cephalopod with external shell •chambered shell •harvested for shell collecting trade•extensive Nautiloid fossil record over 500 million years
  • 19. Fluorescent corals Anya Salih University of Sydney, Andy Dunstan Undersea Explorer, GBRMPA, AIMSFluoro corals:•withstand thermal stress better•resist and recover better from bleaching events•fluoro pigment levels are increased during bleaching
  • 20. The project •U/W respiration rate •fluoro coral pigment characterisation •uses of fluoro pigments eg. molecular tagging •fluoro coral distribution and abundance •test bleaching survival between fluoro and no-fluoro corals
  • 21. UE research databaseData collected at all sites visitedBiological data•Coral reef health - bleaching•Key species presence and abundance•indicator species - Crown of thorns•threatened species - turtles•feature diver interest animals – cuttlefishPhysical data eg. Temp, currents, tides
  • 22. Database project aimsCreate a GBR nature diary of events:• current patterns• spawning events• aggregation events• hotspots and timing of animal sightings eg. MantasMonitor coral reef site condition - ecological sustainabilityProvide a base level of important information linking all projects
  • 23. Projects conducted or supported by UE•Dwarf minke whale project – UE & James Cook University, Museum of Tropical Qld,University of California, Santa Cruz, CRC Reef•Tropical Shark Research – UE & Richard Fitzpatrick, James Cook University/Digital Dimensions•Nautilus deep sea research – Andy Dunstan, Undersea Explorer•International Reef Check program – UE & Jos Hill, Australian Reef Check Foundation•GBR long term water quality study – UE & GBRMPA / AIMS•UE nature diary database – Andy Dunstan, Undersea Explorer•Fluorescent corals and climate change – UE & Dr Anya Salih, Uni of Sydney•Bioerosion – Dr Pat Hutchings, Australian Museum•Sustainable liveaboard diving project – Dean Miller, JCU / UE•Cephalopod studies - Dr Mark Norman, Uni of Melbourne & Victorian Museum
  • 24. Projects: continued•Hydroid and Pycnogonid distribution - Victorian Institute of Marine Science•Apogonid mouth brooding project - Adam Barnett, James Cook Uni•Maritime Archaeology - Dr Peter Gesner, Queensland Museum•Pesticies and Pollutants in the GBR - Dr David Haynes, GBRMPA•Manta watch - Zoe Richards - Museum of Tropical Queensland•Eye on the Reef - Diving tourism industryu and GBRMPA•Jellyfish biology – UE & Dr Jamie Seymour, James Cook University•Nudibranch reproduction - Nerida Wilson, University of Queensland•Coral Bleaching - Dr Kirsten Michalek-Wagner, James Cook University•Coral health - coring Porites corals - Dr James True, James Cook University•Acropora coral taxonomy - Dr Carden Wallace, Museum of Tropical Queensland•Squid taxonomy - Dr Julian Finn, University of TasmaniaUndersea Explorer - more than just a dive boat!!
  • 25. Student training and field experiencePost graduate degrees - co-supervised / supported by UnderseaExplorer•Reef Check training program development – Jos Hill, JCU•Towards sustainable liveaboard diving – Dean Miller, JCU•Dwarf minke whale acoustics – Jason Gedamke, University of California, Santa Cruz•Ecologically sustainable management of human-minke whale interactions – Fleur O’Neill, JCU•Length measurements of dwarf minke whales on the GBR – Susan Sobtzik, Rostock University•Mechanisms for assessing the sustainability of swim with whale programs – Matt Curnock, JCU•Population studies of nautilus in the Coral Sea – Kim Nijs, University of Ghent, Belgium
  • 26. Student training and field experience3 month internships- field experience and data analysis for marine science students•Reef monitoring studies on the GBR and Coral Sea – Daniel van Veen, Hogeschool Zeeland•Coral Reef Database project – Charlotte Chabanne, ENSAM, Marseille, France•Nautilus species distribution – Marjolin Veenstra, Van Hall Institute, Netherlands•Shark tourism guideline development – Gary Hannon, University College Cork, Ireland•Shark Identification database – Gabriel Vianna, University of BrazilHost position / field experience- for undergraduate marine science students
  • 27. Conservation projects conducted by UE•Co-ordinate tourism response to the rezoning of theGreat Barrier Reef – result: increase from 4.5% to 33% protection•Establish shark conservation working group for GBR and Coral Sea•Coral Sea and Osprey Reef protection submissions and lobbying•Dwarf minke whale tourism guideline development•Shark tourism guideline development•Turtle and Dugong tourism guideline development•Low Isles Preservation Society initiation and involvement•Sustainable liveaboard diving project development•Implementation of International Reefcheck program to the GBR
  • 28. Connecting nature experiencesnew adventures for divers, scientists and snorkellers