Help monitor Orpheus corals

ONE of the Great Barrier Reef's most spectacular and diverse marine habitats, the fringing reef surrounding Orpheus Island, is at risk from rising sea temperatures.

Earthwatch Australia has developed a new research project, 'Recovery of the Reef', together with the Australian Institute of Marine Science and is calling on volunteer divers from the Gympie region to work with scientists to assess the growing prevalence of coral disease on this landmark site.

Richard Gilmore, executive director of Earthwatch Australia, said volunteers would get to experience the unique marine park filled with an unusually wide variety of reef habitats, clam gardens as well as submerged indigenous sites and recent shipwrecks, while helping scientists understand more about the factors influencing the health of coral reefs.

"It's a great way to experience something different, while making a difference to this important World Heritage Site," he said.

Orpheus Island is 11km long and mostly national park.

The first Recovery of the Reef team starts March 12-19, and a second team will follow on August 30.

To sign up call Earthwatch on 03 9682 6828 or visit earthwatch.org.au

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