Who we are

The CRTR’s Australasian Centre of Excellence is based at the Centre for Marine Studies at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, and at the Heron Island Research Station on the Great Barrier Reef. The Centre is the focus for coral reef research in Australasia and the South Pacific, and operates as one of the largest platforms of coral reef research in the world. 

As a leading, international knowledge centre, the activities of the Australasian Centre of Excellence focus on:

  • Research
  • Capacity building, including training courses, secondments, study tours and mentoring programs
  • Communication and dissemination of research results and information
  • Building networks and collaborations

Specifically, the Australasian CoE’s objectives are to:

  • Provide a solid technical platform for the research and training activities of the various Working Groups within the CRTR Program.
  • Establish critical equipment in preparation for research and training activities of bleaching, disease, connectivity and remote sensing Working Groups.
  • Undertake research related to coral bleaching and climate issues, the development of stress markers, coral disease, genetic connectivity and remote sensing.
  • Develop and run training courses for Australian and regional developing country students in advanced materials and techniques on coral reefs and environmental change.
  • Stimulate and build regional networks across the Australasian, Indonesian and Pacific in research and training expertise.
  • Support activities aimed at increasing regional capacity for understanding and managing coral reefs under rapid environmental stress.

Heron Island is a 16 hectare, densely forested sand cay, on the leeward edge of a flourishing platform of coral reef. Bisected by the Tropic of Capricorn, Heron reef is home to around 900 of the 1500 species of fish and around 72% of the coral species found in the Great Barrier Reef.

    
Why we're involved

The coral reefs of the Australasian region are highly significant resources. They are essential to the health of the regional economy, due to the fishing, tourism and protection they provide to coastal communities. The Great Barrier Reef underpins more than $4 billion of annual economic activity. Within the wider Australasian region, coral reefs are critical platforms that support tens of millions of people through artisanal fisheries and the subsistence gathering of resources.

Like reefs in most parts of the world, Australasian coral reefs are under pressure from such factors as declining water quality, over-exploitation and climate change. Linking regions that face similar types of threats is one of the objectives of the Australasian Centre of Excellence. This sharing of ideas and resources will allow for better management of coral reefs in the Great Barrier Reef and in those reefs adjacent to developing countries. Many of the challenges facing reefs worldwide are being researched both in Australia and in regions outside the Great Barrier Reef.

    
 
 
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