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New video highlights major coral reef study by USGS and Australian scientists

News from USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

Underwater photograph showing a metal frame resting on 3 feet on a rocky and sandy bottom, frame has instruments strapped to it.
Tripod holding instruments and cameras used to measure and study aspects of sediment movement in and around the reef.

A new video, “Breaking Down Reefs, Building Up Beaches,” follows coral reef experts from the USGS and the University of Western Australia as they conduct the largest-ever hydrodynamic study of how coral reefs shape coasts. The scientists spent two weeks in May 2016 installing instruments to measure currents and sediment movement in and around Australia’s largest fringing reef, in the Ningaloo Coast UNESCO World Heritage Site, Western Australia. Over the next two months, the instruments collected massive amounts of data that will give scientists great insight into the protective role of reefs and will help the USGS forecast what could happen to U.S. fringing reefs in the face of climate change and sea-level rise. View the video.

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