Time ticking for our reefs

Thu, 1st Nov 2012

It’s been a big year for Sunshine Coast marine biologist and Reef Check Australia volunteer Jodi Salmond. 

In June she became an ambassador of the Vodafone Foundation’s World of Difference Program, winning a $60,000 grant to pursue her passion of marine conservation, working as a full-time community engagement officer with Reef Check Australia.

“I was very excited when I won the grant — I finally felt I had found my place,” says Salmond. “I was getting paid to do something I really wanted to do.”

Jodi trains experienced divers in reef ecology and biology, and teaches them the Reef Check Australia protocols they need to follow in order to monitor the reefs of South-East Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef – predictions are that half our reefs could be gone within 10 years.

She is currently planning a community awareness initiative called REEFSearch, designed to increase understanding of reef health issues. 

It is set to be launched throughout schools and dive shops across Australia in January 2013.

“REEFSearch is a project that allows everyone to get involved,” says Salmond. “You don’t need training, you can just go out as a snorkeller, reef walker or diver and upload your research to our website.

“The fact is, our reefs are in trouble – it’s vitally important everyone realises they can do something. We can all make a difference, and this program will allow people to get out on the reef and see first-hand what’s going on with coral bleaching, sedimentation from flooding and climate change.”

For information on REEFSearch visit reefcheckaustralia.org.