A two-week summer field trip to Australia allowed Daemen University students to study the

Great Barrier Reef. The trip fulfills the fieldwork component of BIO 352: Coral Reef Field Survey and is led by Dr. Jonathan Good, an associate professor of biology.

Dr. Good and his students spent ten days on Fitzroy Island, which is just off the coast of Cairns, Queensland, where they surveyed the coral reef in order to monitor its health and biodiversity.

Data gathered contributed to the two largest monitoring programs used by the Queensland Government to manage the coral reef.

Madison Rowe, a sophomore natural science and pre-veterinary major, participated in the trip.

“We played a significant part in helping the coral reef through citizen science,” Rowe said. “We participated in Eye on the Reef, which is when you view the biodiversity of species in a specific area on the reef and observe the percentage of live coral in a specific area. We also took part in Coral Watch, which was used to determine the health of different patches of coral.”

Dr. Good said he hopes the students returned home with a sense of global responsibility to ensure the long-term health of the Great Barrier Reef for future generations.

“Our students not only gained first-hand experience of a culture different from their own but also made personal contributions to ensuring the protection of one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World,” Dr. Good added. “These outcomes are integral to how both the Global Programs Office and the Department of Natural Sciences want to impact our students.”

“My favorite part was snorkeling at Shark Fin Bay, where the coral was so alive and untouched,” said Rowe. “You could tell it has been growing for centuries by how the plated coral overlapped each other to form the shape of a rose.”