“Sea Weeding” the Great Barrier Reef

A citizen science project on the north Queensland coast has removed “hundreds of kilos” of macroalgae in a new experimental practice called “sea weeding,” according to James Cook University Senior Lecturer Professor David Bourne. Volunteers have been helping remove macroalgae from two reef plots since 2018, with trial sites off the coast at Magnetic Island seeing coral regrowth of up to 600 per cent.

“It is labor-intensive, and scale is always the issue when we talk about trying to improve reefs and actually help them at something the scale of the Great Barrier Reef,” Bourne told Sky News Australia.

“The idea is that on these inshore reefs, we have people that are interested in coming out and helping. So, through our citizen science program with Earthwatch, it was very successful in using people to come out and help us remove the algae.”

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