Dr Tom Bridge
Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation Biology
Queensland Museum Network
We typically think of coral reefs as shallow, sun-drenched habitats with crystal clear waters, but this view represents only the ‘tip of the iceberg’. Dr Bridge’s research focuses on the coral reef ‘twilight zone’ – the deep waters below the depths accessible to conventional SCUBA divers. Using cutting-edge robotics to document the twilight zone reefs, he has shown that they are widespread in the Great Barrier Reef, and that the total extent of deep reefs is similar to shallow reefs. These deeper reefs support diverse ecological communities, including species new to science and many other species not previously recorded from Australia. Twilight zone reefs are less exposed to many of these processes threatening shallower reefs such as pollution or global warming, and could represent important refuges for coral reef biodiversity.
Tom has received national and international newspaper, radio and television coverage, and conducted national radio interviews with the ABC and commercial radio stations. He recently appeared in an episode of the television series Coasts Australia and was featured in Australian Geographic. At the 2017 World Science Festival, he presented at two events: Cool Jobs, which aims to inspire schoolchildren about careers in science, and ‘Let’s Talk’, a seminar where he was able share his research with the broader public.