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During my time at Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology volunteering in Gates Lab, I became aware of the threats Coral Reefs pose. With climate change stressors such as increased temperature and ocean acidification, Coral species reach high stress levels, undergo ‘bleaching’ and die as a consequence. These effects are increased by human activities, such as the introduction of new fossil fuels companies, for example the mega coal mines in Queensland, posing even more threats to the renowned Great Barrier Reef. These mines will lead to a significant increase of dredging through the reef as well as pollution, reducing the ability of the reef to cope with the changing ocean conditions. Read more about these issues in The Australian Coral Reef Society (ACRS) report and Guardian news article If these projects go ahead, according to these Australian marine experts, the reef will find it hard to survive the damage. With this in mind, it isn’t surprising that scientists are finding new and unique ways to promote awareness of the reef and gather as much information of the flora and fauna in the reef.

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Sea turtles play an important tole in ecosystem structure, as they are highly migratory individuals, the identification of their habitat use patterns would be essential for conservation management, particularly in implementing marine protected areas. This conservation project by WWF Australia involves a GoPro strapped to the back of the turtle, which then was seen to effortlessly swim through the reef. The video was uploaded to the Facebook page on June 25th 2015.

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It gave the viewers a new, unique and stunning view of the reef in the absence of human presence.

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Watch the video here:

Video and Screenshots Courtesy Dr Ian Bell, QLD Dept of Environment and Heritage Protection and Christine Hof, WWF. Related links: Science daily BBC News article Gates Lab Guardian News article The Australian Coral Reef Society (ACRS) report WWF News article