CAIRNS, Australia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Great Barrier Reef Legacy (GBRLegacy) crew led by Dr. Dean Miller has teamed with underwater drone creators Blueye Robotics to investigate the impact of ocean temperatures on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The Blueye Robotics Pioneer can dive eight times deeper than the average scuba enthusiast, reaching depths of 150 meters. It was used when Miller and a team of renowned marine scientists recently explored Australia’s coral reef and the bleaching that is killing portions of the fragile ecosystem.
GBRLegacy’s 21-day exploration revealed some surprises, including large expanses of Halimeda algae on deep sections of reef slopes in the far northern section of the northeast coast of Queensland. Healthy Halimeda creates a vast ecosystem that resembles a green meadow. With the help of the Pioneer, the team was able to see down at 80 meters that the Halimeda reefs appeared to be spared by the bleaching. “Using the Blueye, this was the first time we could bring images back from that depth and show that despite coral bleaching or warm water affecting a huge percentage of the reefs in that area, down at 80 meters it appeared that those reefs have been spared. That was a good sign,” said Miller, director of science and media for the Great Barrier Reef Legacy.
In particular, Miller said, the low frequency of the drone’s electromagnetic waves seemed to intrigue Australia’s grey reef sharks. The waves pose no danger for the sharks, and the sharks’ attraction to them will make it easier for researchers to study the species more closely.
Australia’s ecological and business communities are also embracing the Blueye Pioneer as an important tool. This month, Christine Spiten, Blueye co-founder and chief global strategist, is in Australia to demo the Blueye Pioneer. The Pioneer is available for pre-orders on www.blueyerobotics.com and will be shipped in Q4, 2018. To read more visit: https://www.blueyerobotics.com/press.
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