Volunteer divers wanted in the Coral Sea

By AAP with AG Staff 13 January 2012
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Conservationists are recruiting keen divers to help survey a remote spot of the Great Barrier Reef.

SCIENTISTS ARE CALLING for volunteer divers to help survey the health of a remote corner of Coral Sea on the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef.

Earthwatch Australia and the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences are planning a detailed study of the coral reefs surrounding Orpheus Island, about 80km north of Townsville, to assess the extent of coral disease.

Scientists fear the reef around the small island is at risk from rising sea temperatures, disease and cyclone damage.

Earthwatch Executive Director Richard Gilmore says the study is a unique opportunity for divers to give hands-on help to the scientific community.

“Volunteers will get to experience this unique marine park filled with an unusually wide variety of reef habitats, clam gardens as well as submerged indigenous sites and recent shipwrecks,” he says.”It’s a great way to experience something different, while making a difference to this important World Heritage site.”

The divers he says will help survey, tag and photograph diseased areas of the reef, which scientists will then monitor over time.

For more information and to apply go to Earthwatch Institute Australia