A team led by Dr Shari Gallop, Research Fellow in Geology and Geophysics at the University of Southampton has found that the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is a very effective wave disturber, despite large gaps between reef sections. “A number of previous studies have investigated the attenuation (height reduction) of ocean waves as they spread across individual coral reefs. This research is unique as it looks at the impact of a large scale reef matrix, such as the Great Barrier Reef, on wave height. Such studies are important in providing wave climate information for physical, biological and planning processes in such areas” says Dr Ivan Haigh, also from the University of Southampton. Dr. Gallop concludes: “There was no evidence that in less porous areas wave heights are lessened. This is because individual reefs, like islands, cast a ‘wave shadow’ over a large area, so that a matrix of individual reefs is remarkably efficient at reducing waves.” Dr Haigh adds: “As sea level varies, due to tides and storm surges, the submergence of the reef in water also varies. Wave heights are not strongly affected by water level over the reef matrix.” Read more here!