Monday, September 30, 2013

Great Victorian Fish Count 2013

Victoria's Reef Watch and VNPA are hosting another community monitoring event to see how the fish are going in the south east. Here's your invitation.

Saturday Nov 23 to Sunday Dec 8

Grab your fins, wipe your snorkel, take a deep breath and start your count down.
The VNPA's Great Victorian Fish Count 2013 is nearly here.
Last year more than 350 divers and snorkellers from 25 groups throughout Victoria made the Fish Count a fabulous success -- help us make 2013 the biggest event yet!
The Fish Count is a fabulous way to explore Victoria's beautiful sea and a practical way to make our oceans healthier and happier places for our unique marine plants and animals to live.
Great Victorian Fish Count 2011
> Fact sheet
> Reef Watch
> Watch video
> Fish Count manual
> Fish Count ID guide
We'll post details soon on how to get involved, but until then if you have any questions please contact Wendy Roberts on (03) 8341 7446 or email
We look forward to seeing you beside the seaside.

Divers taking part in the Great Victorian Fish Count monitor reefs all along our coastline.

Monday, September 23, 2013

What is it about corals?

We love our corals, those tiny animals who build such big colourful and heavily armed homes. Australia is well known for it's tropical coral reefs and some of our corals live in deeper waters and in cooler southern waters.

Stinging seajellies and anemones are related to corals so be careful not to touch them.

Hard corals make large constructions (reefs) of calcium carbonate so it is a surprise to find out that coral polyps that live as single animals that can be agile and move around. The mushroom coral can flip itself right over as it forages on the bottom.

Corals like their own space too. If a neighbour gets too close it means war. Stinging cells are sent out and the coral with the greatest fire power wins.

But what makes coral so important to us?

In earlier days sailors greatly feared coral seas and ships that strayed too close risked becoming wrecked. Navigation and pilotage systems are far advanced and now keep vessels on a safe course.

Increasingly we value these very old, diverse reef ecosystems for the environmental services they provide. Coral reefs are homes and breeding grounds for marine wildlife and diversity is essential in keeping the ocean healthy. Plants and animals of coral reefs not only provide abundance they are also important sources of new medicines.

Some coral reefs can be so vast that they can be seen from outer space. They attract visitors and bring dollars for the communities who look after the reef values.

Coral reefs join other coastal buffering zones like mangroves, seagrasses and salt marshes in protecting our shorelines against waves and storms.

There is a lot to love about corals. Students and communities can become involved in looking after our magnificent corals by becoming citizen scientists with Coral Watch here and by checking out AUSMEPA's unit of work for middle year students, the Effect of Climate Change and Coral Bleaching here.
Coral Workshop, low tide at N Stradbroke Island, Qld

Sunday, September 15, 2013

REEFSearch Marine Education Kit by Reef Check Australia

reef check logoThe REEFSearch Marine Education Kit is now ready for purchase, and is being offered at $230, including postage within Australia.  The Kit is full of engaging, colourful, hands on activities for educators to engage students in reef health monitoring, reef appreciation, and reef conservation. 

The Kit is designed to complement the REEFSearch program here in raising awareness about reef conservation, promoting community engagement in reef health issues, improving knowledge about reef ecosystems, and inspiring responsible environmental behaviours.  It helps to bring reefs to the classroom and students to the reef, providing practical and engaging data collection tools. 
Included in the REEFSearch Marine Education Kit:
·         32 page Teacher Support Guide
·         2 X REEFSearch Field Kits (52 Page REEFSearch Field Guide, reusable underwater REEFSearch slate with pencil and hand strap, plus an awesome calico bag to keep everything safe!)
·         CD with 2 PowerPoint presentations: Introduction to Coral Reefs, and Threats to the reef
·         Activity: Classroom Reef Walk (80 double sided full colour image cards to simulate various reef scenarios)
·         Activity: Who Am I fact sheets and cards (16 double sided full colour photo cards plus fact sheets)
·         Activity: Who’s Eating Who (3 magnet sets: 24 magnets in total)
·         Activity: Fact the Facts (20 marine debris mix and match cards plus fact sheets)
·         Activity: Trivia (30 questions for 3 rounds of trivia plus answer sheet)
The number of Kits are limited, so if you are interested in purchasing one, please check Sea Store for details. 
If you have any questions or comments, please email our good friends at