This gallery of images provides an opportunity to compare two disparate settings of reef development in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) Province. Low Isles Reef (16°23’ S, 145°34’ E) is one of 46 coral reef platforms unique to the inner shelf of the northern GBR, which support both sea grass and mangrove growth. Accommodation space on this buildup is largely filled, so carbonate sediment production is minimal. Low Isles Reef lies within reach of flood plumes that emanate from the Daintree River. Moreover, surrounding inter-reef sediments contain a significant proportion of terrigenous mud. In 1928–29, Low Isles Reef was the site of the first, and arguably most comprehensive, study ever carried out on a modern coral reef, mounted by members of the Great Barrier Reef Committee and the Royal Society of London (Yonge, 1930). This year-long ‘‘Great Barrier Reef Expedition’’ to Low Isles yielded a detailed 1:5000 map showing the principal geomorphologic elements of the reef flat. Subsequent to the expedition, investigators returned to note changes, in particular those occurring in the wake of major cyclones (Moorhouse, 1933, 1936; Fairbridge and Teichert, 1947, 1948; Stephenson et al., 1958; Stoddart et al., 1978). In addition to ground surveys, numerous aerial photographs of Low Isles Reef are available, dating from 1928 to the present. Frank and Jell (2006) compiled data from these surveys and aerial photographs into a series of diagrams that document changes in the extent of major reef top elements from 1928-2001. These diagrams are also provided in this gallery.
FAIRBRIDGE, R.W. and TEIchert, C., 1947. The rampart system at Low Isles 1928–1945. Reports of the Great Barrier Reef Committee, 6, 1–16.
FAIRBRIDGE, R.W. and TEIchert, C., 1948. The Low Isles of the Great Barrier Reef; a new analysis. Geographical Journal, 111, 67–88.
Frank, T.D., and Jell, 22, 474-486. , J.S., 2006. Recent Developments on a Nearshore, Terrigenous-Influenced Reef: Low Isles Reef, Australia. Journal of Coastal Research
MOORHOUSE, F.W., 1933. The cyclone of 1934 and its effects on Low Isles, with special observations on Porites. Reports of the Great Barrier Reef Committee, 4, 37–44.
MOORHOUSE, F.W., 1936. The recently formed natural breastwork on Low Isles. Reports of the Great Barrier Reef Committee, 4, 35– 36.
STEPHENSON, T.A.; ENDEAN, R., and BENNETT, I., 1958. An ecological survey of the marine fauna of Low Isles, Queensland. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 11, 241–267.
STODDART, D.R.; MCLEAN, R.F.; SCOFFIN, T.P., and GIBBS, P.E., 1978. Forty-five years of change on low wooded islands, Great Barrier Reef. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, B 284, 63–80.
YONGE, C.M., 1930. A Year on the Great Barrier Reef: the Story of Corals and the Greatest of their Creations. London, UK; New York: Putnam.