This gives the lie to Warmist claims that Northern GBR coral is threatened by runoff from the land on Cape York Peninsula. There is very little development on most of the peninsula. Yet we read below that a very heavily developed part of the Southern Queensland coast supports thriving corals. So which is it? Does development along the coastline damage coral or not? It's actually arguable that development BENEFITS coral growth
Researchers have uncovered an abundance of healthy, thriving coral along a heavily developed coastline — far beyond what the team expected when they first pitched the project.
University of Queensland researchers and dive club volunteers wanted a project to focus on as COVID restrictions took hold and limited their ability to work and travel.
A pitch was made to re-examine 11 reefs off Queensland's Sunshine Coast, particularly around Mudjimba Island and the popular tourist destination of Mooloolaba.
Associate Professor Chris Roelfsema brought together researchers and 50 volunteers from the UQ dive club to help.
Dr Roelfsema said what they found was incredible.
"We looked at so many different sites — every time we put our heads underwater, the volunteers went down and they did surveys," he said. "And they saw coral, and every time it was a significant amount of coral, and we didn't expect it.
"We noticed that there was an enormous amount of coral there that we didn't realise was there — and not in a couple of spots but in the 11 spots we visited.
"And that's a big deal that there's so much coral so close to a major urban area."
The project involved 8,000 hours of training, collecting, and analysing data obtained from the underwater landscapes.
Beyond simply the amount of coral revealed by the two-year survey, the team also found little sign of crown-of-thorns starfish — which prey on coral — and almost no hint of coral bleaching.
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