Uncovering the ocean floor of the Great Barrier Reef in greater detail than ever before

A highly detailed 3D map of the Great Barrier Reef seafloor produced under the Tropical Water Quality (TWQ) Hub is being widely used by the marine science community. Working with the TWQ Hub project for the development of an Integrated Pest Management strategy for Crown-of-thorns Starfish, Dr Robin Beaman at James Cook University collated all accessible bathymetry datasets into a 3D depth map of the Great Barrier Reef’s seafloor at a resolution of 30 metres, the highest level of detail available. Raw data for the map comes from advanced multibeam echosounders used by the Australian Hydrographic Office, Geoscience Australia and other institutes, and airborne LiDAR scans. The map is publicly available on the AusSeabed Marine Data Discovery portal and is a highly popular download. “All sorts of stakeholders have been accessing and using the product – the gridded depth data underpins the eReefs hydrodynamic model, for example,” Dr Beaman said. Dr Cedric Robillot, eReefs Project Director said the data enabled eReefs to deliver to stakeholders. “This high-resolution data allows a range of users to perform high-resolution hydrodynamic modelling using eReefs RECOM models,” he said. Dr Beaman’s technical report assessing deep-water habitat for COTS using the mapping is available online.