Michaelmas Reef second flank

Surveyed 27 February 2015.

The second flank of Michaelmas Reef is partly exposed to the prevailing wind and sea conditions found within the lagoon of the Great Barrier Reef. Manta tow surveys were conducted on the reef slope. The reef slope is generally moderate dropping off to a gently sloping reef base composed mainly of sand, rubble, reef framework and hard coral. The reef structure has many features including gullies, overhangs and bommies.

The benthic community was dominated by coralline/turf algae, but hard coral and soft coral were also common. Hard coral cover on the reef second flank was moderate with no one coral genus dominant. The dominant coral lifeform was massive, but other forms such as tabulate, branching, sub-massive and digitate corals were also present in decreasing order of abundance. Coral bleaching was present on a few individual colonies.

The fish abundance on the second flank of Michaelmas Reef was moderate. Conspicuous groups of reef fishes included damselfish, parrotfish, surgeonfish and fusiliers. No crown-of-thorns starfish were observed on the second flank of Michaelmas Reef .

Changes in zone-wide live coral cover through time. Points indicate median coral cover in a given survey year. Solid line indicates a moving average taken over three (preceding, actual and following) survey years.

Bumphead parrotfish move on a school of humpback snapper. Plus there is a six bar wrasse in there somewhere but it is a bit hard to spot.
View looking down the reef slope with a robust branching Acropora sp. hard coral in the foreground.
More branching Acropora sp. hard corals on the reef slope.
View looking down the reef slope towards the reef base.