Lizard Island is now a node for the Great Barrier Reef Ocean Observing System (GBROOS). Solar and wind-powered sensors in the lagoon relay water and weather data continuously.

The system was installed by the Australian Institute of Marine Science in August 2010. It comprises:

  • A base station at LIRS which provides NextG communications and the on-reef network.
  • A relay pole near Palfrey Island to propagate the wireless on-reef network.
  • A relay pole near Seabird Islet with a weather station on top and a sensor string extending across the reef flat and down the front reef slope to 22 m depth. The weather station records wind strength and direction, temperature, humidity and other parameters. Underwater sensors at three depths (3-7m, 12 m and 22 m) all record temperature and the deepest also records salinity and pressure. 
  • Four buoys in the lagoon, each with a sensor string to the bottom and sensors recording temperature at the surface and at 5 m depth. Two of the buoys also record salinity and pressure at 12 m depth.

The data is currently available through AIMS and soon it will be publicly available in near real-time on the internet.

The beauty of the system is that it can easily record other types of data - researchers just need to clamp appropriate sensors anywhere along the sensor strings. As well, additional moveable buoys can be incorporated into the network, allowing researchers to record environmental data or images at specific sites.