The Great Barrier Reef Environmental Changes Expedition will collect cores from fossil coral reefs on the seaward side of the present-day reef to improve our understanding of change in sea level during the deglaciation that followed the last major ice age some 20 000 to 10 000 years ago.
Submerged fossil coral reefs are common but poorly studied features along the shelf edge of the Great Barrier Reef. The drilling targets include the successive reef terraces, relict reefs and the slope, from about 40 to 200 m water depth. The scientific aims of the project are to:
The expedition team is a consortium of European scientific institutions who work on behalf of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP).
The team involves scientists from nine countries, who are working in three key regions of the Australian shelf. Onboard the Greatship Maya are nine BGS staff including:
ECORD provides what is known as ‘mission-specific platforms’ (MSPs) to complement the US and Japanese ships, JOIDES Resolution and Chikyu, which are dedicated drilling vessels fitted out with permanent drilling, laboratory and offshore core repository facilities.
MSPs are platforms especially chosen to fulfil particular scientific objectives. In most cases this requires modifications to the most appropriate platform, which may be a ship or drilling rig.
BGS leads the consortium that is responsible for managing the MSP operations and provides the Science Manager (Dan Evans), Operations Manager (Dave Smith), Data Manager (Colin Graham) and Outreach Manager (Alan Stevenson) to the consortium, as well as the Staff Scientists and Administrative Support for each MSP. The ECORD Science Operator (ESO) also includes the universities of Bremen, Leicester, Montpellier and Aachen.
Since 2003, ESO has successfully managed three IODP expeditions to the Arctic, Tahiti and off the coast of New Jersey.
Contact Alan Stevenson for further information.