Swiss sailboat to study Great Barrier Reef

Shae McDonald
Swiss sailboat to map Great Barrier Reef

A Swiss sailboat on a four-year journey around the world will call the Great Barrier Reef home over the coming months as researchers try to better understand the natural wonder.

The Fleur de Passion set sail from Seville in Spain in April 2015 for its Ocean Mapping Mission, and will depart from Brisbane next Tuesday as part of the second half of its journey.

Researchers from other parts of the world have come on board at different times to conduct their own studies of oceans and reefs.

Members of the University of Queensland's Coral Watch project will join the voyage next week to study coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef.

Project leader Professor Justin Marshall said the group hoped to gain a better understanding of the effects bleaching was having on the coral.

Prof Marshall said many Australians were still not drawing the link between global warming and the deterioration of the reef.

Fellow UQ researcher Chris Roelfsema will also aim to develop maps that show just what each reef is comprised of.

"No one can answer the question about how much area of the Great Barrier Reef is covered by coral," he said on Wednesday.

Dr Roelfsema will use satellite sensing to survey 20 reefs between Cairns and Cooktown.

A researcher from Spain will also examine the effects sound pollution has on marine life.