Bramston Reef Corals – The Other Side of the Mud Flat

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Reposted from Jennifer Marohasy’s blog

May 6, 2019 By jennifer

THE First Finding handed down by Judge Salvador Vasta in the Peter Ridd court case concerned Bramston reef off Bowen and a photograph taken in 1994 that Terry Hughes from James Cook University has been claiming proves Acropora corals that were alive in 1890 are now all dead – the fringing reef reduced to mudflat.

Meanwhile, Peter Ridd from the same university, had photographs taken in 2015 showing live Acropora and the need for quality assurance of Hughes’ claims.

Both sides were preparing evidence for over a year – with the lawyers apparently pocketing in excess of one million dollars – yet there was no interest in an independent assessment of the state of Bramston reef.

It more than once crossed my mind, that with all the money floating around for reef research and lawyers … there could perhaps be some mapping, or just one transect, at this most contentious of locations supposedly indicative of the state of the Great Barrier Reef more generally.

In his judgment Judge Salvadore Vasta was left to simply conclude that it was unclear whether there was now mudflat or coral reef where an extensive area of Acropora coral had been photographed back in 1890, but that Peter Ridd nevertheless had the right to ask the question.

Indeed, the court case and the appeal which must be lodged by tomorrow (Tuesday 7th May), is apparently all about ‘academic freedom’ and ‘employment law’, while the average Australian would perhaps be more likely to care if they got to see some coral and some fish – dead or alive.

I visited Bramston Reef over Easter because I couldn’t wait any longer to know if the corals in Peter Ridd’s 2015 photographs had been smashed by Cyclone Debbie that hovered over Bowen two years later, in April 2017.

As I drove into Bowen, I took a detour towards Edgecombe Bay, but I didn’t stop and explore – because I saw the signage warning of crocodiles.

Peter Ridd had told me that his technicians had approached from the south south-east in a rubber dinghy to get their photographs. The day I arrived (April 18, 2019), and the next, there was a strong south south-easterly wind blowing, and no-one prepared to launch a boat to take me out.

On the afternoon of Easter Friday – ignoring the signage warning of crocodiles – I walked through the mangroves to the water’s edge. I found the mudflat which Terry Hughes had claimed now covers once healthy Acropora coral and walked across it. The other side of the mudflat there was reef flat with beds of healthy Halimeda. This area of reef flat over sand extended for nearly one kilometre – before it gave way to hectares of Acropora coral.

Professor Hughes had just not walked far enough.

When, with much excitement, I showed my photographs of all the Acropora to a Bowen local. He described them as, “rubbish corals”. He seemed ashamed that the corals I had photographed at Bramston reef were not colourful.

For a coral to make the front cover of National Geographic it does need to be exceptionally colourful. Indeed, for a woman model to make the cover of Vogue magazine she needs to be exceptionally thin. But neither thin, nor colourful, is necessarily healthy. Indeed, Acropora corals are generally tan or brown in colour when they have masses of zooxanthellae and are thus growing quickly – and are healthy.

White corals have no zooxanthellae and are often dead, because they have been exposed to temperatures that are too high. Colourful corals, like thin women, are more nutrient starved and often exist in environments of intense illumination – existing near the limits of what might be considered healthy.

Such basic facts are not well understood. Instead there is an obsession with saving the Great Barrier Reef from imminent catastrophe while we are either shown pictures of bleached white dead coral, or spectacularly colourful corals from outer reefs in nutrient-starved waters … while thousands of square kilometres of healthy brown coral is ignored.

Peter Ridd did win his high-profile court case for the right to suggest there is a need for some quality assurance of the research – but I can’t see anyone getting on with this. The Science Show on our National Broadcaster, hosted by a most acclaimed scientist journalist, has reported on the case just this last weekend. Rather than launching a dinghy and having a look at Bramston Reef, Robyn Williams has replayed part of a 2008 interview with Peter Ridd, and let it be concluded that because Peter Ridd holds a minority view he is likely wrong.

Understanding the real state of the Great Barrier Reef is not a trivial question: it has implications for tourism, and the allocation of billions of dollars of public monies … with most currently allocated to those properly networked – but not necessarily knowledgeable or prepared to walk beyond a mudflat to find the corals.

Signage warning of crocodiles.

Signage warning of crocodiles.

Photographs of the Acropora out of the water where taken about here.

Photographs of the Acropora out of the water where taken about here

There is a mudflat to the west of Bramston Reef.

There is a mudflat to the west of Bramston Reef.

That mudflat is teeming with life, as expected in an intertidal zone.

That mudflat is teeming with life, as expected in an intertidal zone.

This Porites coral is a healthy tan colour.

This Porites coral is a healthy tan colour.

After the mud flat there was reef flat, with coarse sand and lots of Halimeda. All healthy, and typical of an inner Great Barrier Reef.

After the mud flat there was reef flat, with coarse sand and lots of Halimeda. All healthy, and typical of an inner Great Barrier Reef.

Halimeda is a green macroalgae, it was healthy.

Halimeda is a green macroalgae, it was healthy.

Acropora corals with a view to Gloucester Island.

I did find one bleached coral.

I did find one bleached coral.

Most of the Acropora was a healthy brown colour suggesting good growth, rather than beauty.

Most of the Acropora was a healthy brown colour suggesting good growth, rather than beauty.

There were also corals to the south east.

There were also corals to the south east.

Looking across to Gloucester Island, in front of the mangroves when the tide was in, early on 19 April.

Looking across to Gloucester Island, in front of the mangroves when the tide was in, early on 19 April.

Looking towards Gloucester Island, the day before.

Looking towards Gloucester Island, the day before.

To be sure to know when I post pictures at this blog, and to get the latest news regarding the Peter Ridd court case including the possible appeal by James Cook University, subscribe for my irregular email updates.

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79 thoughts on “Bramston Reef Corals – The Other Side of the Mud Flat

    • Looking at those photos, I get the feeling that the area is far more vulnerable to sea level dropping than to sea level rise. El Niño ?

      • The entire Great Barrier Reed is ephemeral and has spent 80 to 90 percent of the time over the past 3 million years dead as a door nail and a hundred feet or more above sea level. The Great Barrier Reef bakes for several tens of thousands of years in the tropical sunshine before sea levels rise again during an interglacial period and coral again begin to grow there. The entire reef will probably begin to die in the next 5000 years or so and there isn’t a darned thing we are going to do about it.

        • Careful crosspatch, this doesn’t meet the liberal narrative that MUST be followed!!

      • Correct ‘Bloke down the pub’ … coral bleaching is caused by low sea levels resulting from the presence of atmospheric high pressure systems, usually during El Nino events … the corals are exposed to extreme levels of solar UV radiation and ‘burn’ … CO2 plays no part in this natural process …

    • How can the coral reefs be out of the water? Haven’t you heard that the oceans are rising, catastrophically, due to global warming? /sarc
      Blame Parrot fish for eating the coral. /sarc

    • “White corals have no zooxanthellae and are often dead, because they have been exposed to temperatures that are too high”

      Or too cold. Coral bleaching writs both ways. And, of course, being out of water too long, particularly in direct sunlight, would cause bleaching or death.

  1. Well, there are lots of things that can cause coral to bleach other than temperature. Changes in alkalinity or photosynthetically available radiation (PAR) can also cause corals to bleach…a process by which the coral attempts to adapt to the new condition by purging one clade of zooxanthellae and replacing with another. To imply that temperature is the only cause for bleaching is also misleading.

    I agree with the supposition that brown coral coloration is typically the result of lots of zooxanthellae and is often associated with rapid growth. It is quite common in the aquarium hobby to have either beautiful, slow-growing corals or brown, rapidly advancing corals.

    As far as corals surviving when exposed to air, I’ve had corals from the Gulf of Mexico on aquacultured rock survive for five days in a box covered in nothing other than wet newspaper and a plastic bag to maintain moisture. As long as the coral is adapted to the tidal flats and the water level returns quickly enough to avoid desiccation of the coral, there’s no reason to expect coral death from periodic exposure to air.

  2. I shall treasure this. Not because one scientist may be right and one wrong, which in honest debate is not uncommon, but because it shows that our (Austrlaia’s) supposed free press is happy to make claims about things which can easily be verified by just going to the place they are writing about and looking but will not do it. Sad that it is the ABC which is so disgustingly idle, but for some of us not unexpected.

    How dare they reach conclusions on something easily checked without looking? Better not to say anything about things of which they know nothing.

    • I heard that abc report and was fuming! the reporter stated that Peters claims of a healthy reef were wrong and that “half the reef is dead”
      i wish I was joking but thats what shebimbo stated as if she????was a reef expert not a reporter
      and aunty as ever will get away with false statements like that, I tried repeatedly years ago to get statements like that rmoved and corrected but.. may as well wait for hell to freeze over

  3. In a lawyers mind these photos and documentation prove nothing other than a picture is worth at least $10,000 per for argument sake.

  4. I shall treasure this because it shows that a real scientist is prepared to go and check for herself rather than accept the false, but perhaps sincere, unproven statements of another.

        • I think there’s a good chance…all of them thought they were Acropora

          ….when they are really Porites

          Makes a huge difference…

          • Hey Latitude, You could be right: Porites cylindrica! I did snorkel two days later to the south east in deeper water on a higher tide and it was easier to make out individual corals. I’m planning to go back in late August. It would be good to run some transects with someone who is expert on corals and their ID. If anyone reading this has such experience/expertise and would like to visit Bowen late August … email me at jennifermarohasy@gmail.com .

          • Jennifer Marohasy How dare you go to the place and look at things take pictures and show what you found and especially bad for asking for help to identify what you’re looking at that smacks of a genuine desire to be accurate and find out what is happening.
            The correct way is to sit in your office and imagine how bad it could be or look from as close as you can safely drive to.
            Well done for taking the time and trouble to go “check it out” if I was anywhere near and had the required knowledge I gladly come help.

            James Bull

  5. A little field work refutes truckloads of exaggeration… and out right lies.
    Thank You, Jennifer Marohasy!

    • Im rather surprised that someones not using drones to film every inch of those areas to “prove” (snort gurgle) that its all dead.

      somehow its far wiser than finding a damned croc or having one find you Jennifer;-0
      and the film can be stuck on youtube for all to see

  6. I am puzzled. Are they contending that corals that used to be there are now covered by mudflats? What the heck does a bunch of silt have to do with global warming?

  7. “Rather than launching a dinghy and having a look at Bramston Reef, Robyn Williams has replayed part of a 2008 interview with Peter Ridd, and let it be concluded that because Peter Ridd holds a minority view he is likely wrong.”

    True scientists avoid mud and field work. Instead, they study scholarly materials where the TRUTH resides. If this reminds you of Middle Ages, that’s because it is Middle Ages.

    • Note the muddy shoes, field jacket amidst a (typical) low-water tidal flat “odour” of (living, dying, and decaying) “real life”.

      Note the absence of a pristine desktop and white-jacketed lab coat writing articles for TV and publicity.

      Obviously, this was no “scientist” worthy of publication ! /sarcasm

    • Isaac Asimov covered this topic in Foundation:

      “Hardin continued: “It isn’t just you. It’s the whole Galaxy. Pirenne heard Lord Dorwin’s idea of scientific research. Lord Dorwin thought the way to be a good archaeologist was to read all the books on the subject—written by men who were dead for centuries. He thought that the way to solve archaeological puzzles was to weight the opposing authorities. And Pirenne listened and made no objections. Don’t you see that there’s something wrong with that?”

    • Curous George

      As I understand it, the legal case was about Dr Ridd’s right to comment about the scientific finding of other scientists (AKA free speech).

      Given the argument was about Ridd’s legal right to free speech, the accuracy of Ridd’s comments/observations were irrelevant.

      However, it’s pure schadenfreud that Ridd was, indeed, right.

  8. Interesting … I did a quick check on Wikipedia and see that it states openly that most acropora corals are indeed brown or tan in color, only a couple of the varieties sport bright colors.

    So earth tone colors is what differentiates a “trash coral” from a “real coral”?

    That sounds very, uhhh … almost racist, doesn’t it? Or at least very prejudiced and well, scientifically ignorant.

  9. Jennifer
    Excellent work. Thank you.
    A story of which you will have heard. Very apt.

    Empiricism
    Excerpted from Munn, (1951). Introduction to psychology. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin.
    http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~mid/edr610/class/research/conclusions/horsebacon.html

    From a story told by Francis Bacon (1605):

    In the year of our Lord 1432, there arose a grievous quarrel among the brethren over the number of teeth in the mouth of a horse. For 13 days the disputation raged without ceasing. All the ancient books and chronicles were fetched out, and wonderful and ponderous erudition, such as was never before heard of in this region, was made manifest. At the beginning of the 14th day, a youthful friar of goodly bearing asked his learned superiors for permission to add a word, and straightway, to the wonderment of the disputants, whose deep wisdom he sore vexed, he beseeched them to unbend in a manner coarse and unheard-of, and to look in the open mouth of a horse and find answer to their questionings. At this, their dignity being grievously hurt, they waxed exceedingly wroth; and joining in a mighty uproar, they flew upon him and smote him hip and thigh, and cast him out forthwith. for, said they, Surely Satan hath tempted this bold neophyte to declare unholy and unheard-of ways of finding truth contrary to all the teaching of the fathers. After many days more of grievous strife the dove of peace sat on the assembly and they as one man, declaring the problem to be an everlasting mystery because of a grievous dearth of historical and theological evidence thereof, so ordered the same writ down.

  10. I’m a huge fan of your work Jennifer, but I wish you wouldn’t refer to mainland fringing reef as “inner Barrier Reef”.
    As you well know, the GBR proper is probably ~ 50kms and more offshore from Bowen and most other points of the Qld coastline.
    Also, the Northern Group of Whitsunday Islands lies between the coast and the western edge of the GBR proper.
    I’m constantly trying to explain to people where I now live (NW America) that the GBR is not a beachside suburb of Cairns.

    • Hey Mr.

      Thanks for your note. According to the zoning maps and technical papers this is inner Great Barrier Reef, but not actually part of the marine park.

      You can find some useful maps here: Bowen/Northern Whitsundays is map 9, http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/access-and-use/zoning/zoning-maps

      I think it is useful to understand that there is an outer reef that creates a barrier and within this barrier there are coral reefs. This is, I guess, the point you are wanting to make! Noted.

      If you click on the above link you will see just how many reefs there are about 50 kms off shore from Bowen! They have more spectacular coral – in so much as it is more colourful.

  11. Perhaps someone needs to explain why an area that in 1890 was intertidal or had coral growing healthy in the environment would now be in a mudflat. Wouldn’t uncontrolled sea level rise have cause this area to be flooded if SLR was such a major issue. To turn an area that was covered by water 100 years ago to be a mudflat now would need either decrease in sea level in that area or increase in land height.

    As I don’t know that area at all, it would be good to know what the sea level has done in the last 100 years in that area.

    • Bob, I’m betting they all mis-identified what they saw…

      The corals that were there…were never Acropora in the first place

      Hughes took a picture of branching finger corals….and said they were acropora
      Ridd took a picture of branching finger corals….and said they were acropora
      Jennifer goes out…and does the same

      That’s the natural habitat for Porites….nothing has changed..it’s the same corals that have always been there….except they are not acropora that likes clean water….they were and are…Porites cylindrica…which like skanky water

      • Latitude,

        I appreciate your scepticism.

        Just a couple of points of clarification:

        1. Terry Hughes has claimed the corals off Bowen are dead, and specifically that this reef has been reduced to mud flat. The claim was on the front page of the Cairns Post (newspaper) during an international conference in 2012, it has been repeated since.

        2. I snorkeled at a higher tide further to the south east two days later and there were staghorn/Acropora corals … you may be correct that most of what I have photographed here is Porites cylindrica.

        I am keen to go back late August and run some transects with someone who is expert on coral ID … the further to the south east the more diversity in the coral species.

        I would be keen for anyone interested in helping with coral IDs and mapping of this reef to contact me … jennifermarohasy@gmail.com

    • Hey Dr Bob

      Sea levels have on average risen about 36 cm along the eastern Australian coastline in the last 100 years, and dropped by about 1.5 metres in the last 2,000 years. So, the longer term trend is falling sea levels exposing coral reef that actually has ‘nowhere to go’.

      There are natural cycles within cycles: daily, monthly, annual (associated with solar declination), inter-decadal (associated with 18.6 year lunar declination), and so on.

      The daily range at this time of year is about 3 metres at Bowen.

  12. Jennifer should invest in a high quality hexa- or octa-copter drone with a high quality HD video camera.
    Such as this one:
    https://www.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXJJWF&P=0
    It has 1.6 km range from the hand station. More expensive ones can operate up to 5 km.

    It may be expensive (just under $2000 USD), but after you drive many hundreds of kilometers and spent nights lodgings to get somewhere to view coral, being wary of crocs and unable to proceed because of mud flats shouldn’t stop someone with today’s technology.

    • Hi Joel

      You are correct, and I’m looking into it. A drone with a good camera could help establish the extent of the reef and better photographs to capture the diversity (or not) of coral species.

      I think that I would actually like a DJI Maurc Series 2 … drone, with extra batteries. So, all up I will need to outlay about A$2,700.

      If someone would like to donate and/or buy me a drone … email me at jennifermarohasy@gmail.com

  13. If the warmers are really interested in finding evidence to support their allegations, this is the sort of thing they should be doing. If they don’t why should be believe them?

  14. Kudos to Jennifer. As a birdwatcher I have walked many an Australian mangrove swamp and mudflat. It is hot as hell, sometimes very difficult walking and lots of mosquitos. Fieldwork is often not at all pleasant or romantic.

    As for sea-level the oldest tidal gauge in Queensland seems to be Townsville which started in 1959. The rise since then has been something like 2.5 mm/year, which is of course easily matched by coral growth. On the other hand it is quite possible that the area of mudflat and mangrove inboard of the reef may have grown a bit since 1890.

    • By the way I don’t think much of Terry Hughes fieldwork. I checked with Google Earth and the mudflat is not wide, about 400 meters max, and mostly much less.

      • Yeah but when you have a cortege of eager young “journalists” to spout climate ooga-booga to, you don’t want to discourage them by asking them to accompany you as you trudge over 400 metres of mudflats to view reality.

  15. Great work, Jennifer! Nothing like face-to-face hands-on science! What a hoot this whole Prof Ridd nonsense is, but looks like it will turn out as an excellent example of fighting back when you are wronged. Put another shrimp on the barbie for both of them!

  16. So, lemme get this straight:

    1890~ somebody goes out and takes pictures of coral on the Bramston.

    1994~ someone goes out and takes a picture of ONE SPOT of the Bramston and shows corals aren’t there so some Comedian at James Cook University claims it is proof that all corals of the Bramston are dead. (even with it being common knowledge that coral formations can grow and decline in a specific location several times over that time period.)

    2008 Peter Ridd says that just because one picture of mud hearsay-attributed-to-be-where-corals-were shows no corals doesn’t mean all of them are dead.

    2015 Peter Ridd goes and takes pictures of live coral all over the place and gets fired for doing science that contradicts Some Comedian at James Cook University.

    2017 a large storm meanders over the area for a while and Some Comedian at James Cook University apparently claims this destroyed all the coral?

    2019 a real scientist goes to the Bramston and discovers the probable real reason for the population decline is the locals are selling the easily visible stuff on e-bay and trampling the rest because “its garbage”…

    I sincerely hope the Comedian at James Cook university gets fired sideways. Science is DONE not assumed.

  17. My wifeis named Coral and is is o Melanedian descent.
    She is mightily pi$$ed off about the off hand way that brown Corals are treated.
    Her lawyers will be in touch.
    Mick

    • Well don’t let your missus visit James Cook University – she’ll be bleached before she leaves the carpark.
      It’s an existential threat in those parts, doncha know?

  18. About 12 years ago (this from memory), a question came up about sampling trees and the experts deferred – money and time were in short supply.

    Stephen McIntyre (of Climate Audit) and a small party went to the area, had dinner and a beer or two, and took a hike. No crocs around in the mountains. There were the trees, easy to sample, and I believe “climate science” has never been the same.

    Jennifer Marohasy (with mud and crocodiles) manages a similar feat.
    What a marvelous outing and write up.
    Thank you.

  19. This article has way too many facts to be accepted as contributing to climate science. Facts like the colour of variour corals, their specific locations, photographs of locations with local geographic context and fairly precise time of day and dates etc are superflueous to climate science in my understanding.

    I don’t know what on earth Jennifer Marohasy thought she was up to.

    /sarc

  20. In the 1970’s and 1980’s before the warmists got some traction, the GBR was supposedly doomed by an invasion of the Crown of Thorns Starfish. Millions of dollars were spent researching this “threat” and attempts were made to reduce the starfish numbers using divers. I assume nature has struck a balance as one no longer reads of the imminent demise of the GBR because of these starfish. Looking at the picture of the mudflat to the west of the Bramston Reef it appears that siltation from land run off may be evident although I am unfamiliar of the geography of the hinterland

    • It’s possible the Crown of Thorns starfish was–or is–a threat (an article here https://www.aims.gov.au/waypoint/summer-2016/-/asset_publisher/M3eC2XMXcZpL/content/24-november-genetics-reveal-extent-of-killer-seastar-population-explosions suggests “COTS may be responsible for over 40% of recent coral loss”). I can imagine many ways the COTS could have become such a pest, like over-fishing resulting in there being too few predators. (Not necessarily predators of the adult starfish, which seems to employ rather effective armor, but perhaps predators of its eggs or larvae.) But given the current research priorities–everything gets blamed on climate change–we may not find out. Which is sad, because if it *is* over-fishing, there’s almost certainly something that could be done about it, and for a lot less $–but pouring all the money into climate stuff could mean that over-fishing (or some other cause) may not get addressed, and the COTS becomes ever more of a problem.

      • Before 1950, there were lots of different causes for things. Now everything is driven by climate change, which is driven by CO2 emissions.

        It’s a much simpler time we live in now.

    • I remember that scare well as I was being taught Biology at school by a teacher who was a big Friends of the Earth activist. Strangely, we never hear about it nowadays.

    • I remember the starfish scare. Even back then ( I was about 20) I thought that unless they can give an good explanation that the high numbers observed was an unnatural event, (which they could not) there should be nothing to worry about. The trouble is that the new way of researching natural systems is to immediately assume something it wrong.

    • oh theyre still around but not mentioned as much they just spent millions on a robot that floats round and injects them with ammonia? to kill them I guess divers who worked faster cost too much?
      or the greentard volunteers didnt appear

  21. Isaac Asimov covered this topic in Foundation:

    “Hardin continued: “It isn’t just you. It’s the whole Galaxy. Pirenne heard Lord Dorwin’s idea of scientific research. Lord Dorwin thought the way to be a good archaeologist was to read all the books on the subject—written by men who were dead for centuries. He thought that the way to solve archaeological puzzles was to weight the opposing authorities. And Pirenne listened and made no objections. Don’t you see that there’s something wrong with that?”

  22. Excellent quest and observations Jennifer!

    I am getting suspicious that jennifer has Missouri in her blood.
    Missouri is known as the “show me” state.

  23. Wait? Shouldn’t there be some tree rings and computer models?

    I am confused!

    /snark

    Snark aside what is depressing is how much ‘The Reef is Dying!’ can be at bare minimum questioned by simply going outside and looking. The fact that organisations like JCU and the ABC want to block these viewpoints from entering public discussion is disturbing. There was a comment made by I believe Time Magazine that they are important parts of modern society because the ‘guard the truth’. Yes, but people also guard the Crown Jewels, not to ensure they are always the Crown Jewels, but to prevent Mister and Misses public from actually touching them.

  24. Photographs taken in 1890 would have been black and white on large format, would have been able to show extent but not true colour bleached or otherwise.

  25. Are there any good journalists that work for the abc? And not just the abc – they all seem to copy each other and get their info. from google – like everyone else? it’s seriously hopeless and all the info. on climate science is actually accessible if you know how to access it – but seemingly journos are just not capable of doing it!! are they scared of losing their jobs if they dare to go against the mob mentality?

    it would seem so!

    • No journalists. Plenty of, very VERY expensive, propagandists however. One presenter of a show on ABC was dripping on about high salaries paid to CEO’s in the private sector. IIRC, this presenter was paid over AU$500k, from the taxpayer.

      Good ‘ol Aunty B!

    • robyn williams has controlled the science show and the minions that will be replacing him for close to 30yrs or more, I had hoped he’d retire or die but he obviously likes smarming round and the huge paypacket too much, eve after a run in with cancer i believe
      hes not alone in that LNL another show is as bad for bias to only warmist views will be aired.
      and Ita Buttrose might be a nice enough person but I doubt she will do any housecleaning of the abc either.
      we now get endless repeats and supposedly further content is podcast or via facebook/abc page
      which removes quite a few from hearing/reading whats produced. Walid alis show is a great example 30mins of waffle and then the guest gets 5mins and the rest is NOT aired to the public.

  26. I ignored the crocodile warnings.

    Only an Australian would say that 😀

    Well in JM. Hands on approach 🙂

    • Not particularly dangerous in this type of terrain at low tide. Too open. Crocodiles are ambush predators. In dense mangrove there might be some risk, but not on an open mudflat/reef platform. And I definitely wouldn’t go swimming anywhere there are salties around.

      By the way you can go swimming where there are freshies – I’ve done it – but you better be sure they are freshies only, and don’t molest or step on one.

  27. As I understand it Corals seed every year . These seeds drift everywhere sol if a bit of coral somewhere dies, it gets re-seeded over time.
    Corals have been around for millions of years so any small variation in temperature will not kill them off.

    One thing, if indeed the seeds drift everywhere, do we see the same species world wide ?

    Re. the Crown of Thorns problem, I recall that it was said that the Farmers were the problem, for using far too much fertiliser. It seemed a bit weak as any sensible farmer does not waste money by over fertilising his land.

    Thank you Jennifer, for a very interesting article.

    MJE VK5ELL

  28. It more than once crossed my mind, that with all the money floating around for reef research and lawyers … there could perhaps be some mapping, or just one transect, at this most contentious of locations supposedly indicative of the state of the Great Barrier Reef more generally. –>
    It more than once crossed my mind, that with all the money floating around for reef research and lawyers … there could perhaps be some mapping, or just one [ transect ] transact, at this most contentious of locations supposedly indicative of the state of the Great Barrier Reef more generally.

    / ?

  29. Acropora corals are generally tan or brown in colour when they have masses of zooxanthellae and are thus growing quickly – and are healthy. –> Acropora corals are generally tan or brown, [ but ] colorful when they have masses of zooxanthellae and are thus growing quickly – and are healthy.

    / ?

  30. My fault –

    Your “White corals have no zooxanthellae and are often dead, because they have been exposed to temperatures that are too high. Colourful corals, like thin women, are more nutrient starved and often exist in environments of intense illumination – existing near the limits of what might be considered healthy.”

  31. Hi Johann

    I’m not sure what you are meaning by the above three comments … except perhaps that you want some editing because you think that I am inadvertently in error?

    I am not in error regarding ‘transects’ or ‘zooxanthellae’.

    To be clear:

    1. Zooxanthellae are considered good, a sign of healthy and fast growing coral. Corals that are very brown generally have masses of Zooxanthellae A and B.

    2. What I mean by a ‘transect’ is running a string/tape measure across an area and counting everything that it touches/everything in its path.

    While more recently I have spent a lot of time playing with big data and artificial neural networks (ANNs), my first major at Uni (30 years ago) was botany … including plant ecology. I then worked as a field entomologist (in the area of weed biocontrol) for 7 years, and ran lots of transects.

    I’m rather looking forward to getting back to this, more field work … at least that this the plan.

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