As a department of Great Barrier Reef tour operators Quicksilver Connections, Reef Biosearch is a team of 10 Marine Biologists who are responsible for reef education and research both within the company’s daily operations and the wider community. Quicksilver Connections and Reef Biosearch are proud to be considered the leaders in reef based tourism within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, a World Heritage area, and the largest and best protected coral reef environment in the world.
Reef Biosearch was established in February 1986 with the aim of combining tourism, education and research and set early standards in the area of “Ecotourism” within coral reef environments, attaining Advanced Ecotourism accreditation with NEAP in 1998. Research ensures that humans can better understand the environment in both a biological and ecological sense while at the same time providing a better understanding of the potential impacts they can have. Education then provides the ability to disperse this knowledge to the public to foster better understanding and support for the need to protect natural wonders such as the Great Barrier Reef. Reef Biosearch shows Quicksilver Connections is committed to the sustainability of reef based tourism where it makes economic sense to ensure the long term survival of the Great Barrier Reef through research and the need for its conservation and protection of coral reefs through education.
Reef Biosearch marine biologists are university graduates with degrees in marine biology, environmental management and education. Each day Reef Biosearch biologists accompany the fast, modern Quicksilver vessels to their outer barrier reef and coral island destinations where they provide educational opportunities for the passengers via video and slide presentations, one on one answers to those questions you have always wanted to ask and most excitingly the option of joining the biologists on guided adventure and interpretive snorkel tours to remote and spectacular reef locations. Education is accepted as possibly the best conservation tool and Reef Biosearch extends this avenue of their business beyond the boat/reef operations to within the schools and community of the Port Douglas region. Reef Biosearch can also cater for special interest or educational groups that may chose to visit the Great Barrier Reef with Quicksilver Connections. Of the 3 000 000 passengers who have travelled to the reef with Quicksilver Connections since Reef Biosearch’s inception, many have been exposed to reef talks and video presentations and approximately 146 000 people to interpretive reef and island adventures through snorkel expeditions and nature walks. We like to think of each of those people as new reef ambassadors who will carry with them the message of the value and beauty of coral reefs and the importance of their conservation around the world.
The daily operations of Quicksilver Connections to their reef locations provide a unique opportunity for Reef Biosearch to initiate and/or collaborate on a variety of research projects. These projects range from valuable environmental monitoring projects that provide both operators and marine park managers with a better understanding of the relationship between reef based tourism and the environment, to biological and ecological studies more specifically focused on current issues with respect to improving knowledge on the function, health and sustainability of coral reef environments and the complex biological communities and inhabitants that call these areas home. Quicksilver connections financially supports much of the current Reef Biosearch research while at the same time providing substantial in kind support to projects where Reef Biosearch is collaborating with government agencies (AIMS and GBRMPA), academic institutions (JCU and UQ) and industry focused research funding groups (CRC Reef). Current research projects include:
- internal environmental monitoring and research seen as a proactive operational management tool viewed as a commitment to self regulation and wise use of the reef
- collaboration within the area of tropical jelly fish research particularly in the areas of seasonal occurrence and taxonomy
- the contribution and collaboration to reef wide monitoring programs such as the Eye on the Reef and Bleach Watch monitoring programs that provide for better understanding and potential management of big picture issues
- and cutting edge research focusing on the sustainability of reef communities associated with tourist operations in the face of the potentially environmentally harmful effects of global warming from the perspective of early intervention and biologically manipulative means.
Quicksilver Connections and Reef Biosearch are good examples of how business can marry environmental responsibility to its sustainability, and therefore on going success through developing a sense of stewardship and understanding of the environment they depend on.