Aureed Reef second flank

Surveyed 16 February 2013.

The second flank of Aureed Reef is sheltered from 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 into approximately 15m of water to a moderate sloping reef base composed mainly of sand. The reef structure has few features including bommies.

The benthic community was dominated by hard coral, but coralline/turf algae, soft coral, sand and sponge were also common. Hard coral cover on the reef second flank was high composed mainly of Porites species. The dominant coral lifeform was massive, but other forms such as branching and foliose corals were also present in decreasing order of abundance. Coral bleaching was not present.

The fish abundance on the second flank of Aureed Reef was moderate. Conspicuous groups of reef fishes included parrotfish, coral trout, surgeonfish, fusiliers, snapper and pelagic predators. Crown-of-thorns starfish were observed on the second flank of Aureed Reef at incipient outbreak levels that may be expected to have some impact on live coral cover.

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.

Branching Porites sp. hard corals were common and provided shelter for many damsel fish species.
Lined rabbitfish (Siganus lineatus) appeared common on this part of the reef.
A many lined blubberlip (Plectorhinchus multivittatum) adds colour to this scene taken on the reef slope.
A crown-of-thorns starfish lurks at the base of the reef slope.