Search for the Super Corals
November 15th - December 6th 2017
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Search for the Super Corals

We set out to provide free access for leading scientists to study corals that may hold the secret to surviving in a warming ocean. What they found is absolutely incredible!

The Big Discovery

A new coral species (the first one in 30 years) & the first definitive ‘Super Coral’ species, Acropora tenuis, was found surviving at all reef sites regardless of the level of bleaching impact.

Expedition Achievements

As if that wasn't enough, there were many more incredible achievements!

  1. Super Corals: Far Northern corals are now considered to be the superstock of GBR coral species.
  2. The Most diverse branching coral site ever found on the Great Barrier Reef was observed. This reef is a natural bio bank and Dr Charlie Veron has called for greater understanding and preservation of this site to allow its genetic store to be protected.
  3. Mapping: 30.8 km of reef was mapped including 12 NEW reef sites At a 2 cm resolution, 12 square km were mapped by The Drone Mapping team
  4. Turtle Tracking: Maree the female Green Turtle was tagged Maree's track shows she moved to Raine Island where she has nested again in the last two weeks!
  5. The Deepest Dive achieved by an ROV in the far northern GBR at 80+ metres exploring seafloor communities
  6. New fish species observed for the Great Barrier Reef (presently only known from northwestern Australia!)
  7. Water Samples: 385 stored water samples for seawater alkalinity and more taken to be studied for bacteria populations by Museums Victoria.
  8. The very first MangroveWatch survey at Wilkies Island
  9. Media: We delivered science direct from the reef to the public
    • 24 videos, 20 expedition logs, and 88 photos created and sent from the Flying Fish to an international audience
    • Two Live ABC TV crosses, one live cross to Channel News Asia
    • 22 TV interviews, 32 radio interviews
    • 40+ national and international TV and online pieces about the expedition
  10. While this was happening, we also filmed a documentary for international distribution.

Our onboard meida team produced video updates throughout the expedition. We also gained significant media attention and ABC sent a journalist to be on board and cover the journey.

Expedition Map
Average Coral Watch Score

Meet the Team

Dr. Dean Miller

Great Barrier Reef Legacy

Expedition Coordinator and Director for Science and Media

John Rumney

Great Barrier Reef Legacy

Expedition Leader and Managing Director

Jaap Barendrecht

Great Barrier Reef Legacy

Engineer and Dive Safety Supervisor

Christine Roper  &  Taylor Simpkins

Great Barrier Reef Legacy

Great Barrier Reef Legacy and Australian Institute of Marine Science Research Interns

Kate Quigley

Australian Institute of Marine Science

Genomics and coral reproduction to assess the impacts of recent bleaching events on surviving adult corals

Jake Crosby

Great Barrier Reef Legacy

Technical and media support

Paul Myers

Great Barrier Reef Legacy

Skipper and expedition support

Dr. Manuel Gonzalez-Rivero

Australian Institute of Marine Science

Cumulative effect of recurrent disturbances on the Great Barrier Reef

Dr. Ian Bell

Queensland Department of Environmental and Heritage Protection

Understanding the health and feeding areas of green turtles nesting in the norther Great Barrier Reef

Dr. Emma Camp

University of Technology Sydney, Climate Change Cluster

Identifying physiological traits as “key performance indicators” of coral health, and finding hot-spots of coral resilience within the Great Barrier Reef to unlock secrets to future reef security.

Dr. Monique Grol

The University of Queensland, Queensland Brain Institute

Coral health assessment using the CoralWatch Coral Health Chart & Habitat mapping of 3000 shallow reefs.

Dr. Neal Cantin

Australian Institute of Marine Science

The genetic and reproductive consequences of mass bleaching on natural populations

Dr. Javier Leon

University of the Sunshine Coast

Mapping the morphology and health of coral reefs: the project aims to semi-automatically classify and map coral growth form and bleaching conditions using very-high resolution imagery derived from drones

Dr. Emre Turak  &  Dr. Charlie Veron

Coral ID Team

Coral reef research: identifying super coral species to determine which species of coral are least prone to bleaching

Dr. Tony Ayling

Sea Research

Reef fish status on severely bleached reefs: long term changes in selected fish populations of the Far North section of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Dr. Chris Roelfsema

The University of Queensland, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Great Barrier Reef Habitat Mapping Project: Developing one contiguous detailed baseline map of the shallow reefs of the Great Barrier Reef, characterizing bathymetry, geomorphological zones and benthic habitat type

Zachery Rago

'Coral Nerd' from the Netflix Original Documentary, Chasing Coral

Jenna Rumney

Great Barrier Reef Legacy

Expedition support and social media

Barbara Genedics


Award winning chef, who loves the ocean and is passionate about helping to save the reef

Our Supporters

Major financial partner

Northern Escape

Project partners

Climate Council Mission Blue Australian Marine Conservation Society Tangaroa Blue Coral Watch Mangrove Watch Reef Ecologic Cairns and Far North Environment Centre Ocean Geographic Sea Turtle Foundation Reef Restoration Foundation Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre Low Isles Preservation Society Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef

Supporting research from

Australian Institute of Marine Science Coral Watch Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority University of Technology Sydney James Cook University Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services University of Queensland University of the Sunshine Coast XL Catlin Seaview Survey Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology Corals of the World Museums Victoria

In-kind support

Lotsa Printing Australian Geographic Australian Geographic Society The Reef Marina Warp Brands Brand Tree Creative Tones Ports North Cairns Signs Blueye Seagate Aroona Flying Fish QNAP Freestyle Port Douglas NETGEAR On Deck Catering 666 Marine Macpac Hemingway's Brewery Midnight Oil Total Food Network Botanical Chemist Canon Australia Hinterland Aviation Survitec Group Pro Dive Cairns Dean Miller Eye to Eye Marine Encounters Sony ATV Spire BMF

Small business champions

Coffee 21 Snapshot Camera Hire Deep Blue Digital Lady Musgrave Experience Daintree Wonder Tours Daintree Ice Cream Company Samadhi Soul Massage Therapies Tāpoi Travel Ocean Freedom Just Purple Barrier Reef Brewing Company Port Douglas Watersports and Beach Hire Daintree River Cruise Centre Seastar Cruises Fish Paradise App - Orca Studio Port Douglas 2nd Hand Port Douglas Stationery Hub Whimsy Beads Out N About Sport Fishing