[ASC-media] NEW TOOL REVOLUTIONISES CORAL CONSERVATION

Theresa Millard t.millard at aims.gov.au
Tue Jul 22 12:33:32 EST 2003


MEDIA RELEASE                                 Tuesday, July 22, 2003
New research tool revolutionises coral conservation

Pioneering coral reef researcher Dr Charlie Veron of the Australian 
Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) is set to revolutionise coral 
conservation with the development of the world’s most comprehensive 
coral database.

Coral Geographic is a web-based tool for scientific work and 
conservation planning that will pave the way for an exciting new era in 
reef research.

Dr Veron has been dubbed “King of Coral” for his leading role in 
identifying coral, and he continues to break new ground, formally 
naming and describing more than 100 new coral species.

His monograph of new species, to be released this week, is the latest 
milestone to cement the reputation of AIMS as the world leader in coral 
taxonomy, or classification.

Dr Veron is best known for creating the three-volume book series, 
Corals of the World, which has been used universally as the principle 
coral identification tool to date. But its pre-eminent position as a 
research tool is about to be replaced by the sophisticated electronic 
key forming part of Coral Geographic.

Dr Veron has tailored Coral Geographic to conservation, motivated by 
the increasing destruction of reefs over the last decade.  He said: “I 
needed to find a way to deliver the message of science to the 
conservation decision-makers.”

Coral Geographic is encyclopaedic in content, has fully referenced maps 
for all species, and has linked databases for all species’ attributes, 
abundances and habitats.

“It will be the first time such large amounts of scientific information 
have been readily and immediately usable. Up until now, this depth of 
information has been impossible to access without launching a 
full-scale research project.  It means research will move forward with 
a whole string of new studies,” Dr Veron said.

He said coral information previously has been scattered far and wide, 
“throughout science and the centuries”.

“Coral Geographic offers all available biogeographical information on 
coral, as well as very quick access to anyone interested in the reef, 
including resource managers, scientists, divers, students and the 
public,” said Dr Veron.

“They will be able to interrogate the data and find out, for example, 
which species are susceptible to bleaching and global warming, or where 
to place marine-protected areas and why.”

When the website formatting process is complete, Coral Geographic will 
be the largest interactive database of its type in the marine world. 
Funding is yet to be sourced for the final stage of this extremely 
high-tech project.

The studies underpinning all species included in Dr Veron’s work have 
been undertaken in all major reef regions of the world over the past 30 
years. Coral Geographic culminates a life-time dedicated to coral 
research.

MEDIA CONTACTS
Dr Charlie Veron, Leading AIMS Scientist 07 47784609, email
Theresa Millard, AIMS Science Communication, 07 47534250, email

[STILLS AND FOOTAGE OF CORAL REEFS AVAILABLE]

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Theresa Millard
Science Communication Manager
Australian Institute of Marine Science
PMB No.3 Townsville Mail Centre Qld 4810
Ph 61 7 47534250 Fax 61 7 47716138
Mobile 0409 596 271
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