Halimeda bioherm origins, function and fate in the northern Great Barrier Reef.
Voyage No


14 Aug, 2022


07 Sep, 2022




Chief Scientist

Prof Jody Webster


University of Sydney

Voyage summary

Research voyage to the Great Barrier Reef to investigate the origin, development and distribution of Halimeda bioherms, ancient donut-shaped deep-water reefs. 

Halimeda (a genus of green calcareous macroalgae) bioherms on the northern Great Barrier Reef shelf are the most extensive, actively accumulating Halimeda deposits in the world, contributing to their Outstanding Universal Value from a geological and geomorphological perspective. However, little is known about the fundamental processes that control Halimeda bioherm distribution and development, and their role as key inter-reef habitats and carbon sinks.

Led by Chief Scientist Professor Jody Webster from the University of Sydney , researchers will conduct detailed mapping and sampling (seafloor and seawater) operations on the northern Great Barrier Reef in order to better understand the fundamental processes that control bioherm development and distribution, and their role in the ecosystem. This research project is called HALO: HALimeda bioherm Origins.

There is one other project on this voyage:

  • Dinoflagellates and planktonic assemblage observation (Dr Matt Gordon, DSTG – On shore): Collection of water samples for identification of dinoflagellate species.

The science team on the voyage will have 28 participants (plus 20 ship crew and a reef pilot) representing 10 institutions, including 6 Australian universities, Geoscience Australia , the University of Tokyo and the University of Granada (Spain).

COVID-19 Protocols

To safeguard the health and well-being of participants, strict COVID-19 protocols apply to all activities on this voyage. This includes a 7-day quarantine on shore and 3-phase PCR testing of all participants for COVID-19 prior to boarding the vessel.

Voyage outcomes

A summary of voyage outcomes will be published approximately 3-6 months after the completion of the voyage.