Expedition update: Day Reef

We’ve returned to Day Reef today to complete the outstanding transects that we could not get at the beginning of the expedition. One of the many goals of this project is to survey sites that have an array of wind exposures. We would like to see how much wind plays a role in shaping the overall reef structure and thus partly governs the distribution of coral species. We did two surveys on the exposed reef and one at the northern flank today, covering just over five kilometres of reef. The exposed sites were very shallow plateauing around 12m in depth. The shallow slope in combination with the constant wave action has produced a very barren reef consisting mostly of encrusting coral and algae. The northern flank has a steeper slope as it forms the edge of a channel that is just over a kilometre wide. At times, large amounts of water get funneled through this narrow gap and therefore it could be a place to find an abundance of fish life. Today we saw lots of Sweet lips, Coral Trout and Bluefin Trevally and overall the reef was much more vibrant. Unfortunately, we also noticed that some of the corals were affected by disease and there was some bleaching.