Follow by Email

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

National Science Week 12-20 August 2017 school theme: Future Earth



The earth's systems are always in flux and changing to one degree or another. This year's National Science Week is focusing on sustainability issues around Australia and our region and how systems respond to change.

Our water world, the hydrosphere, is interconnected to the biosphere, geosphere and atmosphere. None stand alone and this interdependence is to be appreciated and explored during National Science Week.

The Australian Association of Environmental Educators (AAEE) recent newsletter advises that
AAEE Treasurer Angela Colliver and her team created a National Science Week Resource Book, FUTURE EARTH to highlight sustainability issues that are unique to our region in and around Australia.

Teachers looking for more information on the resources should visit the Australian Science Teachers Association here

The ocean needs our help.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Seeking Ambassadors for CoralWatch

CoralWatch are opening up a workshop for teachers and students (15+yrs) wanting to do their part in keeping track of the health of our corals. We all know there are threats, would you like to be part of the solution?

There is a Teacher Professional Development workshop 13-14 May (Keppel) for senior science, marine, geography teachers. The PD Includes lectures, hands-on and field activities as well as NEW curriculum linked materials for grade 7 and aquatic practices.

Following that there will be a full on CoralWatch Ambassador workshop 24-28 May on Heron Island. Applications are open until March 28 and Ambassadors will be trained to help run events, collect data, visit schools and other outreach activities, helping the core staff and more important our wonderful reef on a voluntary basis.

This invitation is extended to teachers as well as grade 11-12 students (who need to be 15yrs +QLD based only). Students may find that this will be a way to enhance their resume with gained skills and experience while having the enjoyment of being involved in marine conservation.

To express your interest please contact:
Diana Kleine
CoralWatch - Project Manager (Mon-Wed)
Queensland Brain Institute
The University of Queensland | St. Lucia | QLD 4072 | Australia
M +61 402 385 391|+617 336 54522

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Coral Watch; You can become a citizen scientist

AUSMEPA is a proud partner with Coral Watch. Their work engaging the community (that's any or all of us!) in monitoring of corals either as individuals or dive or school groups is now easy and fun. 

Here's a video to show you how you might contribute.

Consider this also a call to action for our marine enthusiasts in southern waters where little monitoring is done. We need your information too!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Protecting the health of the sea also protects Australia's biodiversity; Ruby Seadragon

AUSMEPA is dedicated to marine environmental education and employs partnerships in its efforts to protect the coastal and ocean waters of Australia from the impacts of land based activities as well as helping encourage a high safety and environmental standard for those living and working on the sea.

Australia is unique in so many ways, not the least of which is in her ocean territory. That vast 200 nautical mile Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ) is home to a wonderful array of tropical and temperate species of plants and animals. Some we don't even know exist yet. 

Keeping Australian waters as pristine as possible ensures that we get the chance to be awed by new zoological discoveries too. In February 2015 a collected specimen of seadragon was discovered to be a new species! Although bright red its shape is the same as the other two however it doesn't have the leaf-like appendages we associate with them and lives in deeper water. 

The photo above was published in the Australian Geographic on March 15, 2015 just a month after the taxonomy change. See the article here

The hunt was on then, to find a live specimen. The team from Scripps Institute of Oceanography (in my hometown) of La Jolla, California, gave it their best and came up with the first recorded sighting of a live Ruby off Western Australia.  

This is simply another validation for our continuing effort to keep our unique Australian oceans clean and healthy through AUSMEPA's work in marine education on marine pollution.

Thanks Zoe Della Vedova and Australian National Geographic and of course dedicated researchers at Scripps Institute of Oceanography.

As an aside I'd like to thank Scripps Institute also for strongly influencing my early life through community outreach as well as the opportunity to work with Mr Wisner in 1968 sorting deep water trawls from the South Pacific. It gave me purpose and eventually lead me to AUSMEPA.

Jody Plecas
Education Officer, AUSMEPA

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Laundry and marine pollution


What a chore. It's a must, though, and we've known for a long time that it is a potential source of environmental pollution as it carries so much 'product' with it. Sewage treatment plants have systems set up to deal with these chemicals. However the Marine Pollution Bulletin has alerted us to another unseen pollutant that may not be well accounted for by sewage treatment.

Key points from the article were that:

  • Washing clothes made from synthetic materials is potentially important source of microplastic into the environment.
  • The study examined the release of fibres from common fabrics; polyester, polyester-cotton blend and acrylic
  • Fibre release varied according to wash treatment with various complex interactions
  • For an average wash load of 6kg, over 700,000 fibres could be released per wash.

We can add this new consideration to the growing awareness regarding micro plastics entering the ocean and subsequently the food chain. 

Something to take onboard is that polyester/cotton blend fabrics gave off fewer fibres than other synthetics tested. 

Addtional reference:  “Our laundry a source of marine microplastic pollution” The Blue Reporters, 14 November 2016.…lastic-pollution/ 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Global rules on shipping fuel sees a big change

The United Nations has now set regulations to limit sulphur emissions by 2020. This is a big change and it will affect both the atmosphere and an industry that is currently in a severe downturn.

Shipping is among the world's largest emitters of sulphur behind the energy industry.

“This is a landmark decision and we are very pleased that the world has bitten the bullet and is now tackling poisonous sulfuric fuel in 2020,” said Bill Hemmings of campaigner Transport & Environment.

“This decision reduces the contribution of shipping to the world’s air pollution impact from about 5 percent down to 1.5 percent and will save millions of lives in the coming decades.”

The changes will no doubt see a rise in shipping costs and at the cash register.

See more at Hellenic Shipping News here