Funding boost for reef science

Australia’s federal government moves to push research into coral as climate change threatens jobs.

Many tourists, including Prince Charles, visit the Great Barrier Reef.
Many tourists, including Prince Charles, visit the Great Barrier Reef.
Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images

Funding to the tune of $100 million for scientific innovation and research is a key part of a $6.4 billion project to help protect the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), announced by the Australian Government. The project is called Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan.

The GBR brings in many billions in tourism revenue, and sustains thousands of jobs. But it has been adversely affected by rising ocean temperatures and acidity, recurrent bleaching, and the crown-of-thorns starfish.

To combat these issues and more, the sizeable government investment will look to focus specifically on science and technology, in partnership with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

Premier agencies including the Australian Institute of Marine Science and Australia’s national scientific body, the CSIRO, will receive funds to work together to determine the best research and development program for reef restoration and how to obtain additional private funding.

The investment will also go towards supporting women and girls in the STEM fields, which could potentially lend a hand in future conservation efforts.

CSIRO CEO Larry Marshall and Australia’s Chief Scientist Alan Finkel will play key roles in advising the government ministers in charge of this ambitious undertaking.

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