Catlin sponsors Catlin Seaview Survey
Catlin has announced its sponsorship of the Catlin Seaview Survey. This is a major scientific expedition to gather data about the impact of climate and other environmental changes on oceans and our planet generally. It will include the first comprehensive study to document the composition and health of sectors of the Australian Great Barrier Reef across an unprecedented range of depths.
From 2009 through 2011, Catlin sponsored the Catlin Arctic Survey, enabling researchers to collect valuable scientific data about sea ice thickness, ocean acidification and thermohaline destabilisation in one of the most inhospitable regions on Earth.
Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland says the data gathered will strengthen the understanding of how climate and environmental changes are likely to affect ocean ecosystems like the Great Barrier Reef. Professor Hoegh-Guldberg is scientific advisor to the Catlin Seaview Survey.
Starting in September this year, the Catlin Seaview Survey will help raise public awareness of changes to the oceans and underwater ecosystems, allowing everyone to engage in the survey through the internet. A specially developed camera will capture 360 degree underwater panoramas, allowing people to choose a location, dip underwater and go for a virtual dive at all of the survey locations.
Google is collaborating with the Catlin Seaview Survey. It plans to make some 50,000 panoramas available through its Google Earth and Google Maps platforms. The project will also have a dedicated YouTube channel and the ability to broadcast ‘Hangouts’, allowing people to watch live streams of the expedition team from the ocean floor.
The Catlin Seaview Survey, a collaboration between Catlin, not for profit organization Underwater Earth (the project’s creators) and partner Google, comprises three separate surveys – a shallow reef survey, a deep-water survey and a major fauna survey.
The shallow reef survey will use a purpose built underwater vehicle with a 360-degree camera to generate images of corals, fish and many other organisms at 20 sites across the length of the Great Barrier Reef. The results will provide a baseline for understanding climate change on coral reefs. The deep-water survey will explore the reef at depths of 30 to 100 metres, while the mega-fauna survey team will look at the behaviour of tiger sharks, green turtles and manta rays in response to increasing seawater temperatures.
The importance and value of coral reefs are immense. They provide food and income for around 500 million people worldwide. They underpin fisheries and tourism worth billions and are home to countless forms of undersea life. However, they face an uncertain future because of the impact of climate and other changes to the environment. Scientists believe that these reefs may serve as an early warning system for wider changes to ecosystems around the Earth.
Catlin Chief Executive, Stephen Catlin says Catlin is proud to be part of the team leading this pioneering project: ‘As an insurer, Catlin offers our clients protection against many types of risks, so it is natural that we should play a leading role in sponsoring research to learn more about the risks of tomorrow.’ Professor Hoegh-Guldberg says the project is very exciting and ‘will reveal to the public one of the last frontiers on Earth, the oceans’.
The launch of the Catlin Seaview Survey has already captured the public imagination with a great deal of media interest. There were more than 100,000 visitors to the official website in the 24 hours after the launch, with 240,000 viewings of the undersea panoramas . Why not take a look? We think you’ll be impressed!
Visit the Catlin Seaview Survey website
Join the Catlin Environmental Surveys Facebook page