Image Collection Categories

The Image Collection of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority provides comprehensive and extensive photographic coverage of the Great Barrier Reef and its wildlife together with a wide range of activities within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. In order to help you make your choice, a catalogue of material held is provided. Each broad category is divided into smaller more detailed subjects, for your information. Both the broad and the specific categories are shown in bold type. The number in brackets provides an approximation of the number of images held for each category. A description or scope note is also provided for many categories, for your information.

Please use this catalogue as a general guide to the GBRMPA Image Collection. As it describes major categories only, more specific subject areas are not listed. Images can be provided in a variety of formats. Please contact us if you require more information on either our service or our fee structure. We may be able to help with your information needs.

Information Services Officer
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
PO Box 1379 (2-68 Flinders Street)
Townsville Qld 4810

Phone: +61 747 50 0707
Fax:     +61 747 72 6093

GBRMPA Image Collection Categories

  • Aerial Photography
  • Landscape Scenes
  • Reefscape Scenes
  • Fauna & Flora
  • Human Activities, Commerce or Industry
  • Natural Resource Management & Education
  • Research Projects, Research Facilities


The Great Barrier Reef region stretches approximately 2000 kilometres along the Queensland coast, from Lady Elliott Island in the south to Cape York, the northernmost point of the Australian continent. This section of the catalogue provides aerial photography taken in 35 mm slide format. These images show coral reefs at oblique angles as they were taken from small aircraft flying low over the Reef region. This category is divided into regions as described below.

  • Capricorn Bunker group of islands and reefs
    A group of islands and reefs located off the southern Queensland coast between latitudes 22'S and 24'S. Gladstone is the nearest coastal town. This region includes Heron Island, One Tree Island and Lady Musgrave Island.
  • Southern offshore section
    These reefs and islands lie a considerable distance off the Queensland coast, between Proserpine (latitude 20'S) and Gladstone (latitude 22'S). The reefs form part of the outer Great Barrier Reef, and include reefs such as the Swain Reefs and the Pompey-Hardline Reef complex.
  • Southern inshore section
    A group of islands and reefs which lie off the coast of Queensland between Bundaberg (latitude 24'S) and Proserpine (latitude 20'S). This area includes many continental islands, such as the Whitsunday Islands.
  • Central section
    This section of reefs and islands cover the central section of the Queensland coast, extending from Dunk Island (latitude 18'S) to south of Lindeman Island (21'S).
  • Cairns section
    The islands and reefs in the Cairns section extend from north of Lizard Island (latitude 14'S) to north of Dunk Island (18'S).
  • Far Northern section
    This region extend from the tip of Cape York (latitude 11'S) to north of Lizard Island (latitude 14'S).
  • Torres Strait
    This group lie between the northern tip of Cape York Penninsula (latitude 11'S) and the southern coasts of Papua New Guinea (latitude 9'S).


General landscapes of terrestrial environments, including continental islands, low wooded islands and cays, shorelines, seascapes, clouds and other weather features. Some scenes may include reef flats. This section includes many spectacular sunset photographs and images which provide unique background textures suitable for graphic design purposes.

  • Landscapes
  • Seascapes


Images that feature reef rather than terrestrial features. These images show coral reef at various times of the day, and at differing depths.

  • Reef top or flat, and reef walking
    General views of reef flat with and without people. Most photographs are taken while the reef is exposed at low tide.
  • Reef slope
    Underwater views of the windward and leeward slopes of reefs. Specific species can be found in the next section FAUNA AND FLORA.
  • Lagoons and seabed
    Sandy environments of the floor of lagoons and inter-reefal areas.


  • Mammals
    Includes images of dugong, whales, dolphins.
  • Birds
    Includes a variety of birds common to coral cays, the coast, and oceanic waters.
  • Reptiles and amphibians
    Primarily sea turtles and sea snakes.
  • Fish, sharks and rays
    Includes coral reef fish, pelagic fish, warm water sharks, manta rays, and stingrays.
  • Ascidians and other lower chordates
  • Echinoderms
    Includes sea stars or starfish, feather stars, brittles stars, sea urchins, sea cucumbers or bech-de-mer.
  • Bryozoans
  • Molluscs
    Include sea snails, sea slugs, nudibranchs, clams, octopus, squid, cuttlefish.
  • Crustaceans
    Includes crabs, shrimps, prawns, barnacles, lobsters.
  • Coelenterates, other than coral
    Includes zooanthids, hydroids, anemones, jellyfish, whip corals, fan corals or gorgonians.
  • Coelenterates
    Includes soft corals and hard corals or scleractinians.
  • Marine sponges
  • Worms
    Includes a variety of marine worms such as flat worms, tube worms, bristle worms, polychaetes and other worm-like animals.
  • Microscopic organisms
    Includes foraminifera, zooplankton, phytoplankton and combe jellies.
  • Algae, sea grasses and other marine plants
  • Mangroves and mudflats
    Includes images from the mangrove ecosystem such as landscapes, mudflats, mangrove trees and plants, prop roots.
  • Coral spawning
    Includes images of the annual spawning of the reef corals, displaying various stages of the reproductive cycle of scleractinian corals.


  • Aircraft
  • Shipping over 500 tonnes, including facilities
  • Shipping and boating under 500 tonnes
    Includes facilities, ramps, jetties, glass bottom boats.
  • Navigation aids, shipwrecks, search and rescue, dredging, offshore structures
  • Commercial fishing
    Includes trawling vessels and activities and catches.
  • Recreational fishing
  • Scuba diving or snorkelling
  • Tourism
    Includes tourist activities such as reef trips, tourist pontoons or tourist resorts.


  • Infringements, pollution and damage
    Includes flood plumes, effects of oil and dispersants on coral, effects of sewerage discharge, monitoring of dredge spoil, cyclone damage.
  • Great Barrier Reef Aquarium
    Includes a variety of activities undertaken by the Great Barrier Reef
    • Aquarium, such as:
    • School groups or children[[Otilde]]s activities
    • Tank and tunnel images, including the touch tank
    • General interior views, including exhibits and displays
    • Aquarium flora and fauna
    • Aquarium construction, maintenance, and general technical operation
    • Aquarium external views
    • Aquarium staff participation in festivals
    • Staff and Aquarium Members[[Otilde]] program
    • Volunteer and guides training programs and activities
    • Aquarium research and curatorial programs.


  • Research facilities and research stations within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
  • Research vessels
    Boats and ships used in research projects on the Great Barrier Reef. Permanent reef research platforms are also included.
  • Coral trout assessment
    Underwater visual survey of coral trout population densities.
  • Coral core sampling
    Geological core sampling of massive corals. These coral samples are then used for research into weather patterns, coral ageing, and flood damage and effects.
  • Crown-of -thorns starfish
    Various control methods of crown-of-thorns starfish are shown, as well as field sampling and counting of starfish populations. Examples of damage to coral by starfish, as well as starfish structure and age are also given.
  • Fish tagging
    Images of an experiment designed to establish population size and population movements of fish. This project formed part of the effects of fishing program.
  • Manta tow surveying
    Images of broad-scale survey methods used in crown-of-thorns starfish population monitoring. Number and coverage of both starfish and coral were investigated.
  • Mariculture or aquaculture projects
    Includes images of fish farms and clam farms. Aerial photographs of farms are also included.
  • Reef trampling
    Shows effects of people walking on exposed reef at low tide, and also recovery of corals after damage.
  • Turtles
    Shows images of the `turtle rodeo', a technique used to catch turtles without harming them. Shows also tagging and measuring techniques. Images also include nesting turtles and hatchlings.
  • Coral recruitment
    Images of experimental research done on the settlement of juvenile or larval corals.
  • Coral collecting
    Shows images of commercial coral collecting for aquariums and research.
  • Sea birds
    Images of research and monitoring projects on seabirds.
  • Shell collecting
    Shows variety of shells important to shell collectors. Images of several shell displays are also included.
  • Cyclone damage monitoring
    Images show effects of cyclones on coral reefs. Before and after images are included.
  • Effects of oil and dispersants on coral
    Images of experimental research in a laboratory, where corals undergo a range of testing.
  • CORSPEX 1986 coral spawning research field expedition
    Images of a major collaborative research project between the Australian Institute of Marine Science, James Cook University of North Queensland and GBRMPA. Images show the movement of the coral spawn slicks (ie. coral eggs and larvae) over the Great Barrier Reef lagoon after the annual coral spawning event.
  • Shoalwater Bay
    Photographs which display aerial views of the Shoalwater Bay region, which is to become part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Images show seagrass beds, dugongs, and coral reefs.
  • Torres Strait Baseline Study
    Includes coverage of field site locations, sediment collection, laboratory work, water quality monitoring, biota collecting, extension program, general underwater images, coverage of land sites on Torres Strait islands.
  • Control of sewerage discharge from Great Barrier Reef tourist resorts
  • Environmental monitoring programs
    Includes wide coverage of differing monitoring projects showing examples of use of tourist pontoons, underwater images of moorings, marine pollution.
  • Effects of sediment run-off of Cape Tribulation fringing reefs
    Images used as part of a research program to monitor the impact of terrestrial runoff resulting from the construction of a dirt road through the Cape Tribulation region.
  • Coral bleaching surveys
    Shows examples of corals affected by the coral bleaching phenomenon.
  • Historical photographs project
    Includes photography taken from a large number of geographical locations. The images compare photographs taken between 1890-1950 to those taken since 1993. The following locations are currently under study:
    • Wistari Reef
    • Daydream Island
    • Hayman Island
    • Saddleback Island
    • Brampton Reef
    • Stone Island
    • Great Palm Island
    • Orpheus Island
    • Fantome Island
    • Fitzroy Island
    • Green Island
    • Double Island
    • Michaelmas Reef
    • Low Isles
    • Pickersgill Reef
    • Thursday Island
    • Border Island
    • Alexandra Reefs
    • Watson Island
    • Heron Island
    • Magnetic Island
    • Lindeman Island
  • Coastal Development
    Images of development along the coast of north Queensland adjacent to the GBR, including moorings, anchorages, resort and marina infrastructure.
  • Coastal Impact Assessment
    Includes aerials of coastline and adjacent hinterlands showing farming areas, natural waterways and environmental impacts.
  • Monitoring program for flood plumes resulting from intensely heavy rainfall runoff or cyclone-induced rainfall
    Aerial photographs of flood plumes resulting from extremely heavy rainfall or cyclone activity. Images show impacts of sediment and high concentration of fresh water on coral reefs.