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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Poleward Shift; What does it mean in our ocean?

What is  poleward shift? 

Basically it tells us that things will gravitate more towards either the north or the south pole.

Joseph Kidston, Lecturer, Climate Change Research Centre, UNSW says in The Conversation"The Earth’s principal climatic zones appear to be shifting poleward. If this continues, as climate models project, the weather patterns that give rise to deserts in the subtropics, and stormy wet weather in the mid-latitudes, will move towards the poles of the Earth."

What does that mean in our coastal areas?

University of Tasmania IMAS Honours student Hannah Fogarty published a report in the journal Global Change Biology that has shown initial reports of fish appearing in waters they are not usually found are a sign of "impending species-wide change, with major implications for local ecology and fishing industries."

Ms Fogarty says, " Climate is leading to global changes in species distribution patters and reshuffling of biodiversity is already well underway."

She also advised in the article that new marine species arriving in an area may become pests and change the local ecosystem. This might also provide new opportunities for fishing or recreation.

How can you help monitor the change?

Image courtesy of What's new at Redmap 
In Australia there are people who are actively looking at what that means in our unique coastal waters. Redmap here introduces some excellent citizen science looking at poleward shift using diving enthusiasts to record data. 

In a recent communication What's new at Redmap? they tell us some of the unusual recent sightings include tropical leather jackets in Tasmania, baby Ocellate Butterflyfish in Perth and that Coral Cod noted in New South Wales.












www.ausmepa.org.au

Monday, June 26, 2017

Open House, SA Marine Discovery Centre

July 2nd, Sunday Open at the Henley Beach SA Marine Discovery Centre

Open afternoon from 2:30pm to 3pm and a Marine Trail from 3pm to 4pm.

The Centre has local marine creatures including seahorses, moon jellies, Port Jackson shark, Blue Devils and much more. 

The Centre provides a wide variety of interactive learning experiences.

The Marine Trail is a guided marine discovery walk along our local beach, it’s amazing what can be discovered!

Cost: $10 per person

Seniors/Concession: $5 per person

Bookings essential:
Click here to book

Where: corner of Seaview Rd & Marlborough St,

Henley Beach




www.ausmepa.org.au

The Chirp - Tropical Water Quality Hub

The Chirp - an e-news communication from the National Environmental Science Programme (NESP). They have information that will be of special interest to marine enthusiasts and educators. Below we share an interesting article on the Great Barrier Reef and the TWQ Project.

NESP Tropical Water Quality Hub  Us and the Reef: Understanding Human Dimension Indicators

"A Tropical Water Quality Hub project aims to make sense of the vast range of ‘human dimension indicators’ on the Great Barrier Reef so scientists can track their efforts to protect this vital natural asset. Nearly all current efforts to protect the Great Barrier Reef fall under the Australian Government’s Reef 2050 Plan. Four of the plan’s seven themes (‘Governance’, ‘Community’, ‘Heritage’ and ‘Economic Outcomes’) are ‘human dimensions’ in that they centre on the relationship between humans and the reef."

"There are major knowledge gaps in these areas, including understanding of regionally specific human dimensions, Indigenous cultural values and how reef-dependent communities react to unforeseen impacts such as mass bleaching events. TWQ Project 3.2.2, led by Professor Allan Dale at James Cook University’s Cairns Institute, aims to establish a comprehensive framework of environmental, social, cultural and economic outcomes that can be tested by reef researchers and managers to track progress under the Reef 2050 Plan."



Be sure to click on the TWQ Project 3.2.2. link above to find out more about this project.




www.ausmepa.org.au

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Sharks can promote seagrass health

There is a substantial volume of evidence that shows us the importance of seagrass. Seagrass meadows are food factories and the nursery areas for many important commercial species.
They also are one of the three key coastal buffering systems around the Australian coastline reducing erosion and helping to mitigate the effects of pollution collected by run-off that flows down to receiving waters, estuaries and the ocean.

Australia is very lucky to have about half the world's kinds of seagrasses and it is important to our own health that we keep these dynamic systems healthy too. Surprisingly sharks play a role in this balancing act.



www.ausmepa.org.au

How can whales change the climate?

Please find a stunning video describing how the trophic cascading around the declining number of whales affects ocean systems. 



A similar video showing how wolves changed rivers can be found at: 
https://youtu.be/ysa5OBhXz-Q

We need to recognise the need for top predators in order to keep the ecological balances in place. Another way that people can contribute to waters healthy on the land and sea.



www.ausmepa.org.au

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Inland rail and ports

A hot topic in relation to operating ports optimally is the issue of rail infrastructure.

Australian ports provide vital import and export services that we depend on and a remarkable number of jobs are provided in and around ports too. We often underestimate just what good well functioning ports mean to our quality of life however, as with all other human activities, we cannot ignore the environmental price.

As service providers ports need to cater to the needs of ships as well as the communities around them. This isn't always an easy task often from the middle of busy cities and congestion. Efficient operation as well as environmental concerns are always at the forefront of good community relations so reducing environmental impacts is high on the list.

We know that ships provide the least environmental impact of any transport for delivering large quantities of goods from one part of the world to another. Four times more efficient than rail and 20 times more efficient than road. Understandable when we consider how much easier it is for ships to basically glide across the water in a relatively frictionless way.

However when goods need to be unloaded or indeed loaded from ports, what kind of infrastructure will provide the best services in moving the goods to and from ports? Rail is the winner and it needs to feed the ports efficiently from inland agricultural centres, cities and mining areas. We can't do without trucks either so effective efficient roads to and from the ports will help too. Excellent planning and maintenance will help to reduce the collateral pollution.

There is currently a 'big push' for government to allocate funding to this issue however it will be an expensive investment, competing with the prioritisation of passenger services. It has been suggested that separate freight lines direct to the ports may be the best outcome.

See an interesting pdf from the Australian Rail Track Association (ATRC) here











www.ausmepa.org.au

Student art activity; Undersea Cave

Plastic pollution enters the food chain at the most basic level. The plastic breaksdown into tiny particles that are eventually taken up by filter feeding organisms who are then eaten by larger and larger animals up the chain. This art exercise demonstrates pervasive waste in the marine environment.


 Undersea Caves:

Rocky reefs are havens for many primal animals and algae. Possibly the most common type of small animal clinging to a reef are those who have polyps. The polyps can be anything from sea anemones and sea jellies to the delicate hydrozoa and their coral relatives.

There are many other animals and plants that make underwater caves places of wonder and surprise, crabs, snails, snakes, nudibranchs (seaslugs) and fish of countless descriptions. All are at risk from plastic pollution.

       
         Photo courtesy of Marine Care Ricketts Point
Photo courtesy of Simply Tour














Undersea Caves:

Rocky reefs are havens for many primal animals and algae. Possibly the most common type of small animal clinging to a reef are those who have polyps. The polyps can be anything from sea anemones and sea jellies to the delicate hydrozoa and their coral relatives.

There are many other animals and plants that make underwater caves places of wonder and surprise, crabs, snails, snakes, nudibranchs (seaslugs) and fish of countless descriptions. All are at risk from plastic pollution.

 
What you need:
Clean disposable PET or PETE (Polyethylene terephthalate) bottles of the right shape and size for your project. You can use colourless or incorporate colours as the bottles are available
A flat surface area with a protective covering that can withstand high temperatures
A roll of Baking Paper (parchment paper).
A household iron
A canvas shape (inexpensive ones can be found in discount shops like Sam's Warehouse, Reject Shop, Discounts Galore)
Bubble wrap
Packing noodles (starch ones) and nurdles (plastic beans)
A variety of waste and recyclable odds and ends
Small brush &  water to clean brush
Paper towels
Acrylic colours, or writing pen ink or water colours
glue gun

What to do:
Draw a design on your canvass
Paint background
Create invertebrate and vertebrate community on cave walls and in open water background
Use hot glue gun sticks to adhere organisms onto canvas




www.ausmepa.org.au