Sea Saviours

Discover the dedicated scientists unraveling the secrets of the Great Southern Reef's kelp forests, safeguarding marine biodiversity

Scott Bennett by Need to find outGreat Southern Reef Foundation

Scott Bennett

Bennett co-founded the Great Southern Reef Foundation, a non-profit with the mission to build an identity for Australia's kelp forests. "The Great Southern Reef makes an enormous contribution to Australian biodiversity, economy and culture."

Deep Insights: Diving Australia's kelp forests - Scott Bennett reflects on the Great Southern ReefGreat Southern Reef Foundation

Insights from surveying the remote Great Southern Reef

Reflecting on his recent scientific expedition across the Great Southern Reef, Scott Bennett emphasises, "Early detection of unexpected changes is fundamental.".

Diver and Urchin by Scott BennettGreat Southern Reef Foundation

Understanding impacts

"Research and monitoring on the GSR are alarmingly underfunded. These reefs provide immense benefits to Australians, but our understanding of their changes and our impact remains limited."

Adriana Verges in kelp forest by James SherwoodGreat Southern Reef Foundation

Adriana Vergés

"For me, doing fieldwork really helps me remember why I do what I do."

Adriana Verges: Saving the Great Southern ReefGreat Southern Reef Foundation

A deep passion for the beauty and potential of seaweed

By increasing awareness and generating greater public interest, Adriana hopes more resources will be invested in studying and protecting the reef, recognising the critical role of conservation science in safeguarding these diverse and valuable marine habitats.

Gretta Pecl by SuppliedGreat Southern Reef Foundation

Gretta Pecl

In her advocacy for citizen science, Gretta Pecl highlights its role in empowering individuals to take part in environmental conservation.  

Diver and Leafy Seadragon by Stefan AndrewsOriginal Source: @ocean_imaging

Pecl's goal is for local communities to recognise and take pride in their connection to the Great Southern Reef, understanding its ecological and cultural value.

Prue Francis by SuppliedGreat Southern Reef Foundation

Prue Francis

"Art has been something that we've found to be incredibly effective to engage students with the Great Southern Reef on a different level"

Prue Francis reads Great Southern Reef picture book by SuppliedGreat Southern Reef Foundation

Enhancing ocean literacy

Francis believes ocean literacy is more than just adding another subject to an already crowded curriculum; it's about weaving ocean education into existing subjects. 

Scott Ling with Urchin by UnknownGreat Southern Reef Foundation

Scott Ling

"People are now growing awareness of the sea urchin issue. And there's a growing awareness of some of the management levers that can be pulled." 

Scott Ling: Revolutionising Strategies to Combat Sea Urchins on Australia's #greatsouthernreefGreat Southern Reef Foundation

Revolutionising strategies to combat sea urchins on the GSR

One of the most pressing challenges on the Great Southerm Reef is the rise of the long-spined sea urchin, Centrostephanus rodgersii, an invasive species whose unchecked population growth has led to the creation of 'urchin barrens'.

Longnose Boarfish by Scott LingGreat Southern Reef Foundation

Ling firmly believes that collaboration is the key to success in addressing the environmental challenges facing the Great Southern Reef.

Melinda Coleman by SuppliedGreat Southern Reef Foundation

Melinda Coleman

"Next-generation sequencing has opened up new avenues for us to explore the genetic diversity and resilience of kelp and seaweeds."

Giant Kelp and Fish by Stefan AndrewsOriginal Source: @ocean_imaging

Future proofing reefs

Coleman believes in the concept of future-proofing, integrating climate change considerations into the design and management of marine areas. "It's about preparing for inevitable changes in temperature and ocean conditions through proactive and adaptive management strategies."

Sean Connell by Stefan AndrewsOriginal Source: @ocean_imaging

Sean Connell

“I have always been interested in understanding the processes by which nature can withstand and recover from shocks.” 

Sweep by Stefan AndrewsOriginal Source: @ocean_imaging

Supporting stewardship

Connell believes involving the public in conservation and restoration of the Great Southern Reef is crucial for its long-term survival. By fostering a sense of ownership and agency over their local reefs, communities will engage with the GSR and contribute to it's resilience.

Research Diver by Stefan AndrewsOriginal Source: @ocean_imaging

Great Southern Reef Science Committee

Comprising eminent and emerging scientists from across Australia, the Great Southern Reef Foundation’s Science Committee’s purpose is to provide advice on issues of importance pertaining to Australia's kelp forests. Learn more about these scientists

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