Ambassadors vital to local reef survival

REEF Check Australia (RCA) is celebrating the organisation’s 29 new volunteer ambassadors, who are helping people better understand the subtropical reefs of Moreton Bay.

While the environmental charity’s trained volunteer citizen scientists have been monitoring 20 key South East Queensland reef sites since 2007, the members of its newly-launched ambassador program now help share the findings with the wider community.

The ambassadors, also known as community event outreach volunteers, were trained in workshops held recently at Redlands IndigiScapes at Capalaba and The Red Place, Cleveland.

They have since attended a number of community events, including Island Vibe, Quandamooka Sea Country Discovery Day and Moreton Bay Research Station Open Day.

Reef Check Australia general manager Jennifer Loder said their role was vital, as despite SEQ’s subtropical reefs being less well known than the Great Barrier Reef, the region’s marine habitats were home to both tropical and temperate marine species and “a surprising amount of coral”.  

“Hard coral cover is often used as a key measure of reef health due to its critical role in building reef and as a sensitive indicator for environmental change,” she said.

“Across Reef Check SEQ surveys, hard coral cover has averaged 21 per cent, compared with 37 per cent cover of tropical Great Barrier Reef sites.”

She said with the shores of Moreton Bay being highly urbanised, monitoring the health of its reefs was important.

“Reefs are sensitive to environmental change,” she said.

“Being on the doorstep of a growing, urbanised environment means they are greatly impacted by human use.

“Our ambassadors are local people who love the ocean and who inspire others through their love of the sea and the local reefs.

“The more that people know and understand about the reefs, the more they might make decisions that will help ensure we have them for the future.”

For more information about Reef Check Australia, visit www.reefcheckaustralia.org or to request an ambassador for a community event, email support@reefcheckaustralia.org