A volunteer program led by James Cook University and the Earthwatch Institute has achieved up to 600% coral regrowth off Magnetic Island's coast by removing seaweed. The project, ongoing since 2018, involves citizen scientists manually removing macroalgae from specific reef plots. The results, published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, show significant coral regrowth in weeded areas, with no change in non-weeded plots. The method also increased coral diversity and could be a sustainable, low-cost solution for reef management, especially in developing countries. The team plans to expand the project to other locations, including the Whitsunday Islands, Singapore, Indonesia, French Polynesia, and the Wallis and Futuna Islands. The initiative is set to continue until at least 2025, and those interested can participate through Earthwatch Australia's website.
Photo Credit: SGR