The Great Barrier Reef has so far lost 35 percent of its coral to bleaching and is under threat.
It is a great wonder of this world but the Great Barrier Reef is rapidly disappearing with threats of it vanishing altogether in the near future.
But there is new hope from people at NASA who have undertaken a new project that looks to study large swathes of coral in order to understand its decline and take steps to protect is further from diminishing.
Scientists from NASA’s Coral Reef Airborne Laboratory (CORAL) has announced its three year project to research parts of the reef from the air combining aerial surveys using the latest imaging technology together with monitoring underwater activities.
“The Great Barrier Reef is Australia’s national treasure, so having a broader understanding of its condition and what’s threatening it will help us better understand how we can protect it. Surveying several large sections of the reef, CORAL will also survey the health of corals in the Torres Strait, a complex high-tide area that has been historically less studied,” stated lead researcher of CSIRO’s Coastal Monitoring, Modeling and Informatics Group in Canberra, Australia.
The project is set to cost $15 million and will go towards a better understanding of the health of the reef, what affects it and hopefully discover ways to protect it from its current decline.
The reef has been reeling from the effects of bleaching that caused much of the northern parts to be destroyed by almost a quarter. The NASA project will primarily take place 8.5km above the water giving scientists the ability to see what is happening on a great scale using a state-of-the-art image sensor, called the portable remote imaging spectrometer (Prism) that uses ultraviolet, visible and near-infrared spectrums.
“CORAL offers the clearest, most extensive picture to date of the condition of a large portion of the world’s coral reefs,” stated Dr. Eric Hochberg, a researcher at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences. “This new understanding of reef condition and function will allow scientists to better predict the future of this global ecosystem and provide policymakers with better information for decisions regarding resource management.”