Heron Island Research Station is the oldest and largest marine research station on the Great Barrier Reef. It's 80km offshore from the city of Gladstone, and literally metres from the reef. With crystal clear water and near pristine conditions, the station provides easy and direct access to the marine environment. Each year researchers flock to Heron Island to witness and study coral spawning. The annual spawning gives researchers an opportunity to study the effects of the changing environment on the reef life.