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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Species on the Move International Conference

Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

9 - 12 February 2016

The global redistribution of our planets’ species is widely recognised as a fingerprint of climate change, however, the mechanisms that underpin such range shifts are poorly understood. Additionally, the pervasiveness of range shifts, from poles to the equator, and depths of oceans to tops of mountains, provides us with unique opportunity to advance our theory of biogeography, evolutionary ecology and macroecology.
Our move into the ‘anthropocene’ allows unprecedented opportunity to understand the mechanisms that drive species distributions across ecosystems and address the fundamental tenet of ecology: what lives where and why?  However, such dramatic changes also pose significant challenges for sustainable management of our natural resources.
We see this conference targeting scientists and natural resource managers working in the disciplines of global change, biogeography and evolution, and relevant in contexts of natural resource management, biodiversity management and conservation, and theoretical ecology.
Species responses to climate change is a rapidly evolving research field, however, much of our progress is being made in independent research areas: e.g. understanding the process vs responding to the implications, terrestrial vs marine ecosystems, global meta-analyses vs in depth species-specific approaches. This interdisciplinary conference would develop connections between these parallel streams, and across temporal and spatial scales.
If you or your organisation/society would like to help shape this exciting conference, please contact Dr Gretta Pecl ( or Professor Stephen Williams ( for more information.
We would welcome suggestions for theme areas, Steering Committee members, Theme Organisers, Session Chairs and Plenary Speakers.
Dr Gretta Pecl & Professor Stephen Williams
Conference Co-Convenors

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Indo Pacific Marine Discovery Centre

AUSMEPA friend, Tony Isaacson of DiveCareDare,
recently visited the Indo Pacific
Marine Discovery Centres are dotted around the Australian Coastline. 

Some are situated in schools or associated with research institutes or state fisheries science facilities and even private Eco tourism. 

If you are lucky enough to head to the Northern Territory the Marine Discovery Centre provides a map to help kids point their parents in the right direction. At the Centre you can learn about the beautiful and bizzare inhabitants of local Darwin marine environments.

Below find information about this northern Australian Marine Discovery Centre taken from their website:
You won't know, if you don't go!

Indo Pacific Marine Discovery Centre began in 1971 as a privately funded project to collect and establish onshore marine ecosystems highlighting the unique features of the coral reefs which abound in Darwin waters. Very little was known of this underwater "wildlife" at that time, or that it even existed.
A property was bought and renovated to house the first exhibition of its kind in the world but all was wiped out by Cyclone Tracy in 1974, only ten days after its official opening. The long process of rebuilding and re-establishment of the displays started immediately, but it was not until 1977 that Indo pacific Marine reopened.  Since then it has relocated twice to progressively larger and improved premises as public demand increased for this facility.
Indo Pacific Marine is the longest established man made tourism facility in the Northern Territory, and has received industry recognition for excellence over many years.

The exhibition is unique in the fact that because this is a land based living marine centre where each system is totally self supporting
– no feeding, filtration or water changing
– visitors, regardless of their age, health or financial constraints, are able to experience, learn and marvel under expert guidance and in full safety, the beauty of the marine environment, which is considered to be the most beautiful, fragile, yet potentially dangerous environment on earth.
Most importantly, this experience taken place without any impact on the natural environment, no damage to a fragile world by reef walking at low tide or other group activities often associated with marine tours.
As the marine displays are contained eco systems, rare and unusual species can be observed far more easily than would ever be the case on a dive in the open sea, even for skilled SCUBA divers.

Indo Pacific Marine also features unique night tours of the reef. Yet again, this all happens indoors where each visitor is supplied with a torch to observe the nocturnal world of the reef environment, and this can include corals spawning or fluorescing in a spectacular display of light. For an even more close-up experience, magnifying sheets are placed against the glass walls of the displays to observe minute organisms as they go about their business, as they would in an ocean environment.

Because the evening tours also include a seafood dinner, it is a complete event, involving education, entertainment, relaxation and the experience of our superb NT cuisine served either in house or on our Ocean Courtyard overlooking Darwin Harbour.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Gubbi Gubbi welcome Queensland's Marine Teachers at MTAQ Conference 2014, Mooloolaba

The Marine Teachers Association of Queensland (MTAQ) annual conference was held in Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast this year. Although a small conference it packed a lot of punch with some remarkable speakers, scientists, polar explorers, innovators and educators. 

The conference participants were treated to a Welcome Ceremony on Mooloolaba Beach by the Gubbi Gubbi who are the traditional owners locally. What a magnificent way to honour this beautiful place and it's history.

Later the dancers joined the participants for a few moments to share more insights into the history and tradition of the river and foreshore, encouraging respect of the natural cycles they have known over the centuries.

High Tide mangroves a winner in Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize 2014

Artist Carole King has delighted judges and marine educators alike with her winning portrayal of the Wynnum mangroves inundated at high tide.

Ms King has been painting Queensland habitats for the last 15 years.

"Having an international prize encourages artists worldwide to look at their country's ecosystems; to gain an understanding of how precious and vulnerable these special areas are," she said.

"The mangrove is in itself a layered and textural community. Whenever I go to the Wynnum Boardwalk, another layer is revealed so for me collage was the way to go."

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Clever Buoy™ - best alternative for solving shark - human interaction dilemna?

Australian's and scientists around the world share a growing concern for both human safety and ocean health. Note the ABC article by Stephanie Daizell updated last Friday here advising that EPA Western Australia has advised against extending the state catch and kill shark policy and that the shark drum lines have been dumped. Here is an excerpt from the article:

   "Following a spate of fatal shark attacks in the state, in January the WA Government      introduced a 13-week trial where baited drum lines were set off Perth and South West beaches."
   "During the trial, which cost the Government $1.3 million, 68 sharks were caught and shot, although none of them were great white sharks."
   "The catch-and-kill policy was widely opposed with hundreds attending community rallies and international marine scientists calling for it to be scrapped"
If killing sharks is taken off the table then other innovations for human safety become a priority. In the US, New Zealand and Hawaii non-lethal shark control methods like signs and flags to education the public and use of tracking devices on sharks to determine migration patterns. Development of Electro magnetic deterrents, use of drones and biomimicry are others.
Awareness and support of the Clever Bouy technology is growing and Bondi will be one of the first beaches in Australia to trial the new shark detection system developed by Shark Mitigation Systems, Optus and Google. The creation uses sonar technology and a satellite to detect shark-sized marine life in the water while a sonar on the seabed will send out beams and capture information about animals in its path.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Farewell to Peter Andrew Biro

AUSMEPA marks the passing of a valued friend and colleague

Peter Andrew Biro
25-6-1951 – 01-9-2014

Although there were many tributes to Peter at a fitting ceremony for him on Monday 8 Sept 2014, a few are noted here.

I recall Peter as a tenacious teacher and educator, always willing to go the extra mile in supporting educators and students to know more about our precious marine environments and ways to conserve and protect them. In my role as President of MESA for many years Peter diligently presided over our website and it was only with his continued passion for the site that it is what it is today. Peter crafted every page, added every image and tirelessly maintained it. He will be remembered and the site is his legacy...Angela Colliver 

I remember Peter as a generous man that contributed to our shared goals in many ways through his commitment to marine and environmental education. While the rest of us were just starting our online journeys Peter was there at the front of the pack helping to position the MESA website as one of the leading sites for marine education resources in the world, all shared freely with any that visited. His contributions here and to supporting Seaweek over decades have helped bring the sea and its magic into thousands of peoples lives and we are all the richer for his efforts.....Mark Rodrigue

Peter was an amazing person, who had a huge passion for marine education and his commitment to the MESA website was unbelievable. He was also very discerning in his own quiet way. We also shared a love of football – he loved his Saints and he had a deep understanding of the game.  We kept in contact well after my MESA days and we’d chat about life in general and footy, of course. Unfortunately my phone calls weren’t as frequent in the past few years, although I was lucky to talk with him only a few months ago. He really loved his step-children and was doing everything he could do to care for them. Peter will always be an ‘Unsung Hero’ to me for Marine Education and life, in general. He has played a huge role in making a difference for our next generation. I will deeply miss our chats, we have all lost someone very special. Gentle, kind and clever he was an enigma to the end.” describes him perfectly....Tim Hoile

Some people are always just "there", a quiet guiding force, an unassuming innovator, a dedicated and selfless contributor and an integral  part of the story. Peter was such a person. I remember being in awe of Peter's technical mastery of all things internet (before it was even called that) and his tireless dedication to marine education. We are richer for knowing Peter - and if the oceans could speak, I am certain they would also be immensely appreciative of his efforts in working for them....Patrick O'Callaghan

Peter was my friend. Although a shy man, I could count on him to spend his time generously on the things that we both loved, helping kids and teachers understand the marine environment better. How many hours did he give to the Marine Education Society's website over all those years? I have no idea however the website gave Aussies a public face to show the world that we were determined o make a difference. Thanks for everything, Petey...Jody Plecas

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