How to save a coral reef

  • BY Kylie Piper |
  • March 10, 2010

The volunteers at Reef Check Australia dive deep to help preserve our coral reefs.

Until the end of March, the Australian Geographic Society is raising funds to assist Reef Check Australia with their work. Each year RCA monitor the health of reefs around Australia including the various plants and animals that live on and around the reef ecosystem.

So far in 2010…

Reef Check Australia has been spending a lot of time underwater. Teams of trained volunteer divers in South East Queensland have just wrapped up their survey season and collected information about coral community health on 26 sites from 19 reefs ranging from Noosa to the Gold Coast.

You can view summary data from a particular reef at the RCA website.

Survey teams on the Great Barrier Reef are jumping back into action and just several weeks ago started their 2010 monitoring season. Divers will spend the next several months visiting reefs up and down the GBR, collecting data about coral, fish, invertebrates and other impacts like coral bleaching and marine debris.

Paul Markey has recently taken on the role of project officer for the 2010 survey season. Paul has had years of experience underwater undertaking monitoring projects in the Seychelles, working as a dive master on Ningaloo Reef where he volunteered his spare time to assist with Manta Ray research. Paul is excited about the developing survey season and the opportunity to collaborate with RCA’s elite volunteers and work as part of the Reef Check Australia team.

We asked Paul a few questions to get to know what makes a Reef Check Australia volunteer tick.

To me Australia means… rugged beauty, unexplored coast and countryside, unique and interesting creatures.

I never leave home without… my backpack – I take it everywhere with me and it generally contains my camera, a pen and pad, a pocket knife, my sunnies, whatever book I’m currently reading, music, and small rocks and coins from various places I’ve visited.

My biggest fear is… confined spaces and crowded areas, I begin to really panic when the two are combined.

I find it hard to believe that… people eat shark fin soup. And worse, people fin sharks.

When the going gets tough… the going is always tough, or it's probably not worth doing.

My earliest memory of nature is… catching lizards in the backyard of my childhood home.

I wish people understood… how much one person can make a difference. I know it is a cliché, but if each person took smalls steps to reduce the amount of waste they create, the planet would be in a much better situation.

At the moment I am reading… South, The Endurance Expedition.

I’d love to sit and talk to… Edward Abbey, my favourite naturalist and one of my favourite authors; it would be great to be able to chat with him around a campfire.

Donate now

to help Reef Check Australia continue their work and help save Australia’s Coral Reefs.