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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 8: Scratching the surface on the Great Southern Plan

Together with the Traditional Owner groups of the southern Great Barrier Reef, we have embarked on a new chapter in Marine Park management by developing a Southern Plan of Management for the area south of approximately Midge Point to the southern boundary of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Reef Authority General Manager of Major Projects Ian Walker joins us to talk about the Southern Plan of Management, including what a plan of management means, how it will safeguard the Reef, who's involved, and what it means for Reef users. Ian explains how this plan aims to balance ecological, social, and economic values. 

Discover how you can contribute to this effort by visiting our website and providing your valuable feedback.

This year will mark 20 years of Marine Park Zoning, but did you know that that the history of zoning on the Great Barrier Reef actually dates back to the early 80s?

Reef Authority CEO Josh Thomas was in the hot seat for Episode 7 of the Reef in Focus Podcast to discuss the modern Marine Park Zoning Plan, from its early origins, inception, to the incredible benefits now being witnessed right across the Reef.

To hear more, along with the perils of being a New South Welshman living in North Queensland when the other 'Origin' rolls around, check out the latest episode of Reef in Focus.

Summer is a busy time on the Great Barrier Reef, with everyone from international tourists to recreational fishers heading out to enjoy the Marine Park. But how is the Reef looking as we head into its peak visitation period?

It turns out there is a variety of real-time monitoring tools and techniques, from cutting-edge temperature sensing satellites to wind models, which help answering this question.

As well as laying claim to the best chilli mud-crab recipe around, Richard Quincey is General Manager of Marine Park Operations at the Reef Authority.

He has been working in hands-on management roles on the Reef since joining Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service in the mid-90s.

In this podcast he shares some of the challenges of monitoring Reef health and the power of collaboration with scientific partners.

Coral spawning on the Great Barrer Reef is the most spectacular reproductive show on earth – and a must-see event for reef enthusiasts worldwide.

But more than just a synchronised kaleidoscope of colour, spawning also marks the regeneration of the Reef with millions of sperm and eggs shooting into the ocean.

It's also an important time for other underwater fauna, with many opportunistically dining out on the nutrient-rich bounty provided by the coral polyps. But just how much do we really know about the friskiest event on the Reef?

Dr Jessica Stella is a distinguished marine ecologist and Assistant Director of Reef Health at the Reef Authority.

Dr Stella shares her remarkable journey from Massachusetts to the tropical wonders of North Queensland, her fascination with coral reef invertebrates, and an in-depth exploration of the captivating world of coral spawning on the Great Barrier Reef.

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.

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.


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. 

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.

Updated 25 Jun 2024
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