Expedition update: Great Detatched Reef

Today, we surveyed the northern exposed edge of Great Detached Reef. These remote reefs do not get many visitors so as we rolled into the water, it was amazing to see Blue Fin Trevally,Uunicorn Fish, Snappers and even a few Grey Whalers break from their routine to come and have a closer look at us. The reefs we surveyed had a high diversity of both reef and fish life. Such diversity of fish life is the highest we‘ve seen on expedition and it reflects in the healthy reef. Fish have important roles in keeping the reef in balance, for instance, predator fish, such as groupers or reef sharks, limit the grazing pressures that herbivores and corallivores (organisms that feed on corals) have on the benthos. Therefore, loss of the larger fish can severely offset the reef balance and typically leads to issues, such as algal overgrowth or overgrazing on corals. In the same way, the reef structure supports the fish that live there; a wide array of corals gives a variety of homes for the fish to live in. Tomorrow we go to the northern most reef of our expedition, Saunders Reef, before we make our way south.