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Reef in Focus Podcast Series

Welcome to Reef in Focus, the podcast that tackles the topics of the Great Barrier Reef. Each month, we interview experts who share their insights and knowledge about this natural wonder of the world.

You can find our episodes on our website or on any podcast platform. We appreciate your support, so please subscribe, rate, and review our podcast and tell your friends about it. Stay tuned for more episodes coming soon.

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Season 1

Our first season of Reef in Focus delves into some of the brightest minds managing the Reef. You'll hear from marine biologists, chief scientists and other industry leaders taking on the big questions on the Reef - is it alive? What exactly is biodiversity? Are crown-of-thorns starfish out of control?

Episode 4: From crocs to coral

From tracking crocodiles around Cape York to managing a reef the size of Italy, Dr Mark Read is a lifelong wildlife fanatic and passionate protector of the Marine Park. In episode 4 of Reef in Focus, we caught up with Mark, who is Director of Field Management Strategy at the Reef Authority, to chat all things Reef resilience, field management, and the power of collaboration in protecting the Marine Park.

Dr Read also shares a fascinating story on the origins of Marine Park zoning in 1981, why zoning is so successful in protecting the Reef, and how it has evolved to be akin to an 'investment portfolio', yielding increased biodiversity and fish stocks for future generations.

The Great Barrier Reef is known worldwide for its incredible biodiversity, from tiny zooxanthellae to giant clams. But what does biodiversity mean, and why does it matter?

In our debut episode of Reef in Focus, we welcome the Reef Authority’s Acting Director of Reef Education and Engagement, Fiona Merida, into the studio to chat to tackle the topic.

Long before Fiona studied to become a marine biologist - indeed, long before she knew what a marine biologist was - she would spend her leisure time accompanying her dad on hiking trips along the coast of her native Victoria.

But it was a trip to tropical North Queensland as a child when the family crossed the border and made the pilgrimage north - first to K’gari (Fraser Island), then Airlie Beach, where she gleaned her first glimpse of the Great Barrier Reef - that would literally change her life.

Crown-of-thorns starfish are marine invertebrates native to the Great Barrier Reef. They feed exclusively on live coral and grow rapidly, producing millions of offspring once they mature.

Crown-of-thorn starfish outbreaks cause significant damage to coral reefs across large areas and are one of the major causes of coral decline across the Great Barrier Reef over the past 40 years. 

We caught up with marine scientist David Williamson, who heads up the Reef Authority's Crown-of-thorns Control Program, to chat about these voracious Reef-dwellers. 

In episode 3 of Reef in Focus, we are joined by the Reef Authority's Chief Scientist, Dr Roger Beeden, to discuss the current health and state of the Reef.

He explains why the Reef is not a singular entity but rather a complex mosaic comprising different habitats, species, and conditions. And it's this complexity that makes it challenging to determine whether the Reef is 'dead' or 'alive', especially considering the problematic nature of these terms in the context of colonial animals like coral. 

Dr Beeden also shares his personal journey of falling in love with the Reef. From his childhood spent in 'the other GBR' (Great Britain) watching documentaries by Jacques Cousteau and David Attenborough to realising his dream of visiting and working on the Reef as a marine scientist and recently becoming Chief Scientist of the Reef Authority.


Updated 22 Nov 2023
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