Great Barrier Reef Framework Data Initiative

Bioplatforms Australia formed a strategic alliance with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation to bring together leading researchers from Australia and Saudi Arabia, to understand the genetic make-up of corals and how they might respond to climate change.

The Great Barrier Reef Framework Data Initiative or Sea-quence Project aims to bridge the knowledge gap around coral resilience and their capacity to adapt to environmental changes, which is key for reef management.

This consortium has generated an open access resource of coral and symbiodinium genome sequences, as well as associated microbial symbiont metagenomics data. The analysis methodologies are also publicly available, which enable faster, more efficient and cost effective analysis of coral genomes. This data resource has facilitated a series of hypothesis-driven research projects to be executed by members of the Reef Future Genomics 2020 (ReFuGe 2020 consortium)

Sequence data generated by this project includes:

  • the world’s first whole coral organism, including the coral animal, Symbiodinium (zooxanthellae), and associated microbes including bacteria and viruses
  • a total of 9 coral host species
  • 3 Symbiodinium (zooxanthellae)
  • coral-associated microbial symbionts

The Sea-quence project is the world’s largest coral genomics sequencing project. It is led by Dr David Bourne from the Australian Institute of Marine Science in partnership with James Cook University, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, the University of Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, and the Australian National University. The project has also received support from the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, Rio Tinto and the Fitzgerald Family Foundation.

For further information, please visit the Bioplatforms Australia Data Portal

Access the assembled genomes. Please read the Disclaimer at the end of the page for more information.

Project Details

  • Project Contacts

    Andrew Gilbert
    T: 02 9850 8281 |

  • Project acknowledgements and citation

    Project DOI:

    NCBI Umbrella Bioproject ID: PRJNA1075702

    Authors: The Great Barrier Reef Initiative Consortium

    Funding: Bioplatforms Australia, enabled by NCRIS, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, and the Great Barrier Reef Initiative Consortium

    Keywords: Great Barrier Reef, genomics, dataset resource, reference genomes, coral, Symbiodinium

    Years active: 2012 – 2016

    How to cite


    We would like to acknowledge the contribution of the Great Barrier Reef Initiative consortium in the generation of data used in this [publication]. The Initiative is supported by funding from Bioplatforms Australia, enabled by the Commonwealth Government National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.


  • Articles and Publications

    Genomics in Sea-quence, Great Barrier Reef Foundation
    Great Barrier Reef Foundation
    1 November 2017
    View video

    Scientists successfully genetically sequence whole coral organism
    Australian Geographic
    1 November 2017
    View article

    Townsville Bulletin
    17 May 2017

    Scientists anxiously await Barrier Reef coral spawn off North Qld
    ABC News
    21 November 2013
    View article

    Elusive coral spawn key to world-first DNA study
    ABC News Radio Program
    21 November 2013
    View transcript

    Coral DNA to help reef conservation: study
    ABC News
    8 November 2012
    View transcript

    Climate study to focus on coral DNA
    The Australian
    8 November 2012
    View article

    World’s first Sea-quence project unites Great Barrier Reef and Red Sea scientists to help protect coral reefs from climate change
    IMB News 2012
    8 November 2012
    View article

    Great Barrier Reef focus of international genome sequencing project
    Australian Life Scientist
    8 November 2012
    View article

Genomics in Sea-quence

The Sea-quence Project, the world’s largest coral genomics sequencing project, has genetically sequenced a whole coral organism for the first time – the coral animal, the tiny plants (zooxanthellae) that live in its tissue, and associated microbes including bacteria and viruses. The project has also sequenced eight other forms of coral, two cultured Symbiodinium (zooxanthellae) species and a suite of additional, coral associated microbes, and are releasing all genomics information publicly to the global research community, which can be accessed at the Bioplatforms Australia Data Portal.

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