25 May 2018
 L-R: Prof. Dr Ir Ambariyanto (Vice Rector for Research and Innovation Diponegoro University), Dr Emma Kennedy (Research Fellow, The University of Queensland), Puji Prihatinningsih M.App.Sc (Conservation Officer, Karimunjawa National Park Office) and Agus Prabowo S.H., M.Sc (Director, Karimunjawa National Park Office)
L-R: Prof. Dr Ir Ambariyanto (Vice Rector for Research and Innovation Diponegoro University), Dr Emma Kennedy (Research Fellow, The University of Queensland), Puji Prihatinningsih M.App.Sc (Conservation Officer, Karimunjawa National Park Office) and Agus Prabowo S.H., M.Sc (Director, Karimunjawa National Park Office)

Researchers from The University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute have returned to Indonesia to resurvey coral reefs previously surveyed in September 2014.

Working with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) on a program funded by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, the main goal of the survey is to investigate the potential impacts of mass coral bleaching that affected the world’s coral reefs in August 2016.

The research will focus on marine national parks in the Karimunjawa Islands off the north coast of Central Java, and Bunaken National Park in north Sulawesi.

Team leader postdoctoral research fellow Dr Emma Kennedy said Karimunjawa and Bunaken were well-established marine parks that held great importance to Indonesia for both food security and tourism.

Both national parks are multiple-use marine protected areas, allowing for different activities to take place within various zones of the park boundary.

“Understanding the changes which have occurred between 2014 and 2018 from the impacts of the 2016 thermal stress event will help reef scientists understand resilience of coral reefs within different areas of Indonesia,” Dr Kennedy said.

Partnering with the LIPI Research Centre for Oceanography, the team will begin surveying 18 sites on 28 May in Karimunjawa where they will be collaborating with researchers from Diponegoro University in Semarang.

The team will then travel to Manado where they will be joining researchers from Sam Ratulangi University, there they will survey 26 sites within the Bunaken National Park and nearby Bangka Islands.

Analysis of the 2014 Indonesian surveys found coral cover was approximately 38% on average in Karimunjawa and 40% in Bunaken.

PhD candidate Dominic Bryant, who was on the survey team during the 2014 expedition, is part of the UQ scientific team again this year.

“The coral reefs we surveyed in 2014 had relatively high coral cover with a good amount of diversity in both coral and reef fish species,” Mr Bryant said.

“Hopefully this means they were fairly resilient to the thermal stress they encountered in 2016.”

The survey team is using the Seaview II camera system, plus automated image annotation techniques which have been used to identify coral composition on coral reefs across the world.

Upon returning to Australia the imagery will be analysed using machine-learning algorithms.


Media

UQ Indonesia: Ratu Sovi Arinta, sovi.arinta@uq.edu.au

UQ Global Change Institute, Brisbane Australia: Ron Hohenhaus, gcicomms@uq.edu.au or 0438 285 283

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