Further protecting the reef: a snippet from a recent ABC News article regarding our research with Quicksilver Cruises in Port Douglas – a little background to the story.

Queensland marine scientists and a cruise company are investigating whether garden sprinklers could be used to protect the Great Barrier Reef from coral bleaching.

The University of Queensland and Quicksilver Cruises have been monitoring the effect large floating shade cloths have on reefs of the far north Queensland coast.

Too much light causes algae that fuels coral to deteriorate, leading to colour loss then bleaching.

Researchers have found algae in shaded coral is much healthier but shade clothes are unsightly and expensive to maintain.

Quicksilver spokesman Philip Laycock says solar-powered sprinklers will be mounted onto floats above reefs to see if they can reduce light penetration.

“Once we get a bit of wave action on the surface we reflect a lot more sunshine but a very calm ocean will let about 90 per cent of sunshine through,” he said.

Mr Laycock says similar experiments in the Red Sea have shown sprinklers can reduce light penetration by 40 per cent.

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