$2m challenge to save Great Barrier Reef

Evan Schwarten
(Australian Associated Press)

The Australian and Queensland governments have issued an open call to the world’s top scientific minds to help save the Great Barrier Reef.

The governments have launched a $2 million challenge to find novel ways to restore reefs and lift coral abundance.

“This is an open invitation to our greatest scientific minds, industry and business leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs to develop innovative solutions which will protect corals and encourage the recovery of damaged reefs,” Federal Environment MinisterJosh Frydenberg said.

“The Reef is the planet’s greatest living wonder. The scale of the problem is big and big thinking is needed, but it’s important to remember that solutions can come from anywhere.”

The Great Barrier Reef is still reeling from back-to-back coral bleaching events in 2016 and 2017, while authorities are also dealing with a crown-of-thorns starfish outbreak in southern parts of the reef.

Scientists have warned rising global ocean temperatures will ultimately destroy the reef, unless more is done to address climate change.

Mr Frydenberg said solutions could focus on anything from reducing the exposure of corals to physical stressors, to boosting coral regeneration rates by cultivating reef-building coral larvae that attract other important marine species.

Queensland Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said authorities were looking for ways to turn around the long-term decline of the reef.

“We’re looking for concepts that will ultimately reverse the trajectory of coral decline and strengthen the health of the Reef – a turnaround which is critical for the survival of this globally recognised natural wonder.”

Applications for the challenge are now open through the Advance Queensland Small Business Innovation Research initiative.

More information on the challenge can be found at http://advance.qld.gov.au.


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