Climate change research

UQ Digital Content Producer Matthew Taylor and Senior Communications Officer Katie Rowney travelled to Heron Island with a team of researchers to learn more about the work taking place at the research station. Read the first in this series here, and the second here.

Heron Island is home to an extensive and long-running climate change research project, the Coral Reef Ecosystems Lab. The project involves a team of researchers monitoring 12 coral reef mesocosms –natural environments kept under controlled conditions.

Researchers hope to show the impact of climate change on coral reefs by subjecting the mescosms to increased temperature and CO2 levels. The research looks at the impacts on individual soft and branching corals and on the creatures that rely on them for survival.

The mesocosms at HIRS
 The mesocosms at HIRS - footage by Matthew Taylor

An interesting aspect of the project is the control method used to maintain a current day baseline. In addition to the two control mesocosms, the team maintains a set of six mini-reefs out on the Great Barrier Reef, used as the control of the control. The mini-reefs project is conducted under the watchful eye of Marine Biology masters student Lilianna Pap.

video by Matthew Taylor

Last updated:
27 April 2016