News & media

GRG in the news.


Unravelling the mystery of green doughnuts on the Great Barrier Reef. Halimeda bioherms are one of the poorest understood parts of the reef. In this multidisciplinary study of the area, under a fact-finding project named HALO, a team of Australian and international scientists set out aboard the CSIRO research vessel RV Investigator to understand how these sometimes near-perfect rings formed over the past 12,000 years of the Holocene, their importance as reef habitats and their role in cycling chemicals. Check out the interesting press release covering some highlights of this amazing research voyage.


Future health of coral reefs written in the sand. How are coral reefs responding to climate change?University of Sydney geoscientists develop a technique that reveals the health of coral reefs from space. Check out the interesting press release covering some highlights of this new study led by Associate Professor Ana Vila-Concejo, and the team.


Is climate change disrupting maritime boundaries? Loss of maritime zones due to changes in reef baselines. Rising sea levels, coupled with the natural variability of atoll islands and coral reefs, is creating new uncertainty in international law, with geopolitical implications. Check out the interesting press release covering some highlights of this new study led by Dr Thomas Fellowes, and the team.

Nice outreach video covering the objectives of our Ice Age Geology of the Great Barrier Reef Schmidt Ocean Institute (SOI) voyage (FK201122) to the southern GBR.

Geologic ‘glue’ thickness is an accurate measure for historic pH. This paper has been getting some nice media coverage and builds directly on the Nature and Nature Geoscience papers we published recently on the IODP Exp. 325 (Great Barrier Reef Environmental Changes) and provides important new insights into the role that microbialites played in the growth and development of the Great Barrier reef over the past 30,000 years.

Sediment transport of coral sands.The paper was well received and we received media attention including:

Coral Sea’s deep-water reef secrets revealed as pandemic sees research ship redeployed. Check this nice coverage by the ABC of our recently completed Schmidt Ocean Institute (SOI) voyage investigating the reefs out in the Coral Sea. The Schmidt Ocean Institute works to advance the frontiers of global marine research by providing state of the art operational, technological, and informational support to the pioneering ocean science and technology development projects at sea. Scientists are able to bid for ship (RV Falkor) and ROV (SuBastian) time through a competitive proposal process and the GRG, with colleagues from around Australia, is involved in several cruises in the region in 2020.

Great Barrier Reef study shows how reef copes with rapid sea-level rise, PhD student Kelsey Sanborn has shown how the reef has dealt with environmental stresses in the recent past in order to understand how it might react to climate change in the future. “We wanted to understand past reef resilience to multiple environmental stresses during the formation of the modern reef,” said lead author Kelsey Sanborn

Why revisiting the Great Barrier Reef’s past could protect its future, Could reimagining 500,000 years of evolution uncover how to conserve one of the world’s greatest natural wonders — the Great Barrier Reef? An interesting article as part of USYD branding campaign “Unlearning the reef to predicts its future” to promote the GRG’s work on coral reef systems.

Marine heatwaves and the GBR. Check out this TV spot we did for the ABC National news Nov 24th.  Some beautiful imagery of One Tree Reef where the GRG is doing alot of interesting coral reef geology, physical process measurements and numerical modeling.

Fossil reefs record rapid changes in global ice sheets. Check out this TV spot I did for the BBC World News about the publication of our recent sea level research published in Nature.

Rise and a fall of the Great Barrier Reef over the past 30,000 years. See the link for a summary of the wide media exposure our recent paper in Nature Geoscience generated. The paper was also names in the top 10 (#4) science discoveries at USYD in 2018.

Untangling the role of climate on sediment and reef evolution over millennial timescales

Check out this new article by the website CNET. GRG Collaborator Rob Beaman and I make an appearance talking about using multibeam sonar to map the GBR sea bed. This part of a larger series of articles focused coral reefs and climate change.

Catalyst: Can we save the reef?  An interesting program hosted by Prof. Emma Johnston  that  aired on 3rd Oct 2017. Our segment on the evolution of the GBR through time in response to natural climate change appears about 36 mins into the program.

Evidence of reef drowning around Hawaii as a result of catastrophic sea level rise about 14,700 years ago. Some nice media coverage of GRG PhD student Kelsey Sanborn’s new paper providing evidence of a meltwater pulse (referred to as meltwater pulse 1-A), based on analysis of fossil coral reef samples from off the coast of Kawaihae, on the northwest of the Big Island of Hawaii.

Largest undersea landslide revealed on Great Barrier Reef; also check out the interview our GRG collaborator Rob Beaman did with Fran Kelly on the ABC Radio National Breakfast Program  .

Great Barrier Reef almost drowned during Last Interglacial, climate impact study finds.
The segment was also aired on the ABC National News on 15th Jan 2017.

Halimeda bioherms – huge “doughnut reefs” discovered behind the Great Barrier Reef

Tsunamis and the Great Barrier

New reef coring campaign unlocks the climate change secrets of the Great Barrier Reef

Reef slowdown after Ice Age sounds a warning for Great Barrier Reef’s future

Relative sea level ~2,000 years ago controls Great Barrier Reef lagoon sediment infilling

Submarine landslides in the GBR

More IODP Exp. 325 coverage

Ice age coral could point to future sea levels

Drowned coral reefs and castastrophic ice sheet collapse – excellent interview with the ABC’s Robyn Williams