Collaborating on ocean data

The data loggers are located in the Elizabeth and Middleton Reef in the Lord Howe Commonwealth Marine Reserve

Kate Dunkerley installs a data logger at Middleton Reef

There’s a lot going on under the sea. Our Commonwealth Marine Reserves branch is working with multiple agencies to monitor Australia’s oceans and manage them as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Earlier this year, Anna Farnham and I collected eight temperature data loggers from Elizabeth and Middleton Reef. The data retrieved shows the reef experienced higher than average temperatures during 2008. Since that peak, ocean temperatures have been lower - reflecting a more la nina weather pattern.

The temperature recorded at Elizabeth Reef during 2008, overlayed with the mean long term average of daily temperature recorded at this site.

The temperature analysis reflects findings from the marine ecological survey, which saw that coral cover was low in comparison to similar sites on the southern Great Barrier Reef, suggesting past disturbance events. The coral communities appeared otherwise healthy, with low incidence of bleaching, disease and predation.

Water temperature has been monitored at the reserve since 2006, with the assistance of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). Data contributes to the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) Ocean Observing Program, forming an important baseline and historical record for future management of this remote and inaccessible site.

The data is available to search on the Australian Ocean Data Network (AODN).

Kate, Commonwealth Marine Reserves