Friday, December 19, 2014

VNPA Reef Watch; inspiring volunteers

Over the last 12 years Wendy Roberts has been the primary liaison for the Victorian National Parks Association’s Reef Watch program. Although she is moving on she recently reflected on "a wonderful journey, filled with incredible discoveries" by volunteers surveying their local reefs along Victoria's coastline. Wendy has been an inspiration to volunteers wanting to get their hands wet and an invaluable resource for the wider community and we wish her well into the future. 
Some of the accomplishments during her tenure?
  • More than 24,000 species records from 126 locations, which, with the assistance of Museum Victoria, being uploaded to the CSIRO’s Atlas of Living Australia database.  
  • The successful running of ten Great Victorian Fish Counts involving hundreds of divers across the state that helped build greater awareness of our precious temperate marine species and reef habitats (a report will be completed in 2015).
  • The confirmation of the Western Blue Groper in Victorian waters and the ultimate protection of both species.
  • Two Victorian Coastal Council Awards for Innovation and Education.
  • Successful partnerships with Museum Victoria, Parks Victoria, Port Phillip and Westernport CMA, Coastcare, Melbourne Aquarium and the diving industry, all of which supported and enriched the program immensely.
Is it time for you to join in the fun and discovery of citizen science in your neighbourhood? There are many volunteer programs that make an incredible difference to our body of knowledge and Reef Watch is one of them.
Reef Watch Victoria

Reef Watch is also active in South Australia

Friday, November 21, 2014

Ocean Spiral; can we live under the sea?

Shimizu Corp is a company that is planning for the future and it is looking to the ocean floor. They are visualising people living in an eco-friendly undersea city within 15 yrs while capitalising on the 'infinite possibilities of the deep sea'.

The city would consist of a floating sphere (500 metres in diameter) just under the surface, housing business and residential zones and hotels. The structure would connected to the seabed 3-4km below by a spiral pathway. Energy resources at the seabed will bring the three section of the city to life using ocean thermal energy conversion .

More information at these websites for further artist rendering

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sustainable Seafood Guide, do you have yours yet?

Aussies, you can get an app for your phone here

The Monterey Aquarium has developed this great video clip about sustainable seafood and also have a phone app suitable for the northern hemisphere.

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

illUmiNations: Protecting our Planet Projecting Change

From Oceanic Preservation Society on Vimeo.


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

. *:. °° ° °  .¸¸  ><((((º>
               °°°¯`·.¸¸><((((°>   °  °°°°°

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Give them some space

Dolphins are a much loved mammal. These are Pacific Whitesided Dolphins who were visiting the Georgia Strait just off Vancouver Island in Canada last July. 

Like everybody else dophins need some personal space in order to thrive. When you spot dolphins remember to stay at least 100 m away. They may come to you or they may not however being too close to dolphins can increase their risk of being injured. It also prevents them from performing normal and important behaviours such as feeding.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Precious Water

In the images from outer space blue oceans cover nearly three quarters of the surface of the earth. All but 3% of the water is salty. Most of our fresh water is locked in polar ice!

In understanding the water cycle we can see that evaporation is constantly drawing water up from the oceans into the atmosphere and eventually precipitating back down to earth as rain.
The rain refreshes and cleans the land as it washes down into the receiving waters. The run-off provides us with renewed fresh water in our streams, rivers, lakes and can help to refill our underground aquifers. Water always seeks it's own level, eventually finding it's way back to the sea again.

In the illustration to the left you can see all of the surface water rolled up into a ball on top of the mass of the planet.

Just to the right there is a much smaller blue ball that represents available fresh water. That tiny blue ball is our most precious resource!

Ports Australia Biennial Conference 21-24 October 2014

The next Ports Australia Biennial Conference which will be held in Perth is now less than 2 months away.

The Ports Australia 2014 Conference will be convened at the Pan Pacific Perth. The Conference will commence with a welcoming function for delegates on the evening of Tuesday, 21 October and the Conference itself will be held on Wednesday, 22 and Thursday, 23 October with a port tour on Friday, 24 October.

Following on from the 2012 Adelaide Conference the 2014 Conference will continue the tradition of providing quality sessions and functions.  Also in keeping with established practice we will be gearing the Conference to provide value to Delegates with sessions addressing strategic issues of interest to ports and port business decision makers.

Please reserve these dates. This is an opportunity to be part of the premier national ports conference which attracts CEOs, senior management teams, and board members from the entire Australian ports community, as well as senior managers from our regulatory agencies and other port stakeholders including stevedoring, shipping, towage and other service providers.

For enquiries please contact David Anderson, Susan Fryda-Blackwell or Wilma Kippers at Ports Australia on 02 9247 7581.

Level 16, 1 York St, Sydney NSW 2000
Phone 02 9247 7581 | Fax 02 9247 7585
Email | Web

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

CSIRO; tagging a white shark

CSIRO are a truly wonderful Australian science research resource. Key result areas stretch across a wide spectrum and when it comes to the mysteries of the ocean they dive deep. They also help to educate the public.

CoralWatch Professional Development Workshops 3-6 October 2014 .

Learn more about coral reef ecology, reef health and the importance of reef conservation. Receive tools and knowledge to engage your students in a global reef monitoring program.

-          3-6 October 2014 - 'Caring for Corals' at Heron Island for senior science, marine & geography teachers

-          22 October 2014 – ‘Corals at Your Doorstep’ at Wellington Point for primary school teachers focusing on grade 4-7

Both workshops include practical, classroom & field activities. Registration costs include a range of take-home materials.

Download the EOI and register your interest today or contact CoralWatch to find out more: or email

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

CSIRO report on Lionfish

CSIRO Double Helix is a fantastic site for students and teacher interested in how things work.  One recent article describes Lionfish hunting strategies including invisibility tactics.

Lionfish hunting party

Lionfish wave their big side fins before a group hunt.
Image: Wikimedia Commons/Jens Petersen
In the warm tropical ocean around the Great Barrier Reef, the lionfish hunts. Venomous fins fan out to trap a school of smaller fish. The little fish look for an escape. But this lionfish is not hunting alone.
As we grow up, we learn to share, take turns and cooperate. Now it seems lionfish use the same skills for a more deadly purpose. New research shows lionfish hunt better when they cooperate with other lionfish, and that they share the meal evenly.
Lionfish are predators and use their long, stripy fins to corner prey. 
Click here to see more
Enjoy the adventures of Ed the Bear and his partner, Steve Savage, at a beautiful shingled salt marsh in Shoreham, UK (below). Like saltmarshes in Australia the hardy plants that live there can have stunning colours as well as providing essential environmental services for us.

You can view many more of our friend Ed's adventures at

Shoreham Beach

Hi All

Today I took Abby to my beach at Shoreham. I explained that the beach was a nature reserve because of the rare vegetated shingle habitat – special plants that grow in the pebbles. They can survive with little water, no soil and survive the strong winds, hot sun and salty sea spray.

Although Steve and the nature reserve team help to look after the plants and wildlife, they were concerned about how global issues such as climate change, sea level rise, increase in storms and other issues might affect this beach. This is why I started my global travels to visit scientists to find out what they know about the ocean and the damage humans are doing to the ocean. 

Off to Dungeness tomorrow to show Abby where some of the beach shingle travels to because of the sea and wave action. Sea defenses stop some the shingle moving so the beach doesn't get washed away

Monday, June 30, 2014

Marine debris collection: TomSea

There are lots of ways to do marine debris collection and we will highlight these from time to time. This clip demonstrates the one that TomSea have developed.


Mantas of the Great Barrier Reef

Manta Rays of the Great Barrier Reef BY Fabrice Jaine for the
2013 People's Choice Bommies Award

Friday, June 20, 2014

Maritime 14 - Ship to Shore, Melbourne 10-12 November

Registrations now open for Maritime 2014 - Ship to Shore.  Melbourne, Australia, 10-12 November 2014.
Australia’s inaugural national shipping and domestic commercial vessel conference
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority invites you to attend Australia’s inaugural national shipping and domestic vessel conference - Maritime 14: Ship to Shore.
Combining the knowledge and resources of Natship and the Marine Safety Conference, this event will provide a unique opportunity for people involved in both the shipping and domestic commercial vessel industries to discuss the latest maritime developments in regulations, safety, environment, seafarer qualifications, navigation and search & rescue.
With a concurrent exhibition, Maritime 2014 will provide a meeting place for industry representatives to exchange ideas and knowledge, as well as to establish personal and business connections.
Registrations are now open, for more information, please
As the inaugural event and a combination of two conference, Maritime 2014 is expected to draw a strong attendance from both the shipping and local commercial vessel industry. Conference participants will be keen to work together in discussing and raising issues involved with maritime operations across Australia
Aligning your organisation with this important conference ensures you continue to have a presence and are visibly involved with shaping the future of this industry.
Bookings for exhibition space and sponsorship are now open.  More information can be found on theMaritime 2014 website.   

Logo: Australian Government - Australian Maritime Safety Authority
Maritime 2014 is proudly organised by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
Maritime 2014 Event Team
GPO Box 2181
Tel: +61 (0)2 6279 5032
Tel: +61 (0)2 6279 5098

Monday, June 9, 2014

MERRI MARINE SANCTUARY SEMINAR, 21st June 2014, Warnambool, Vic

Reef Watch Merri Marine Seminar
Book your spot.Hi Friend, have you ever explored the Merri Marine Sanctuary near Warrnambool?
Its sandy bottom and rocky reef combine with oxygen-charged, nutrient rich waters to create a world brimming with marine life among giant kelp forests.
But how much do we really know about this sanctuary?
Join us for a two-day seminar in June and learn more about this incredible marine protected area – what we know, what we don’t know and how you can get involved!
Numbers are limited, and it's free, so you’ll need to book soon!
Day 1 – Saturday 21 June
• Percy Baxter Lecture Theatre, Deakin University, Warrnambool.
During the morning session hear from people who share a passion for the Merri Marine Sanctuary, with presentations from the Victorian National Parks Association’s Reef Watch program, Parks Victoria, Friends of Merri Marine Sanctuary, Coastcare/ Landcare, Daktari Dive and Mad 4 Merri.
In the afternoon discover the world of the largest animal on Earth as Dr Margie Morrice talks about her Blue Whale Study.
Gunditjmirring Traditional Owners will tell us about their connection to the area, and we will enjoy underwater footage of the local marine protected areas including the launch of the new Merri Marine Sanctuary video.
Saturday night guest speaker
Coastcare hosts this special night with guest speaker Associate Professor John Sherwood, who will share his passion and knowledge of the Merri River mouth and Warrnambool breakwater.
Please join us in the La Bella room at the Foreshore Pavilion. Supper will be provided, the talk starts at 7.30pm.
Day 2 – Sunday 22 June
• Merri Marine Sanctuary.
On Sunday we’ll get out and enjoy the Merri Marine Sanctuary with a ‘Seasearch’ intertidal monitoring session, a chance to learn more about the Reef Watch ‘feral or in peril’ program and the opportunity to take a dive or snorkel.

If you do plan to dive or snorkel it is essential to register with Daktari Dive Shop before June 13, phone them on 03 5562 4006.

This two day Reef Watch seminar is free but numbers are limited so please book early.
Lunch will be provided on Saturday and Sunday.

To book your spot and get the full agenda visit
Banner image: courtesy David Bryant, SEAPICS. Side image: courtesy Jane Bowman, OCEAN DIVERS.
Ph: 03 9347 5188  |  Email:  |  Web:  |  Facebook

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Australian Ambassador Jenny Bloomfield and Embassy staff, Athens

AUSMEPA is proud of its marine educational profile at home and abroad.

Here find a surprise photo submitted by staff at the Australian Embassy in Athens showing their support for AUSMEPA's marine environmental education and highlighting calendars and posters. Thanks very much!

The Australian Ambassador to Greece, Jenny Bloomfield, along with AUSMEPA's Chairman, Rightship CEO, Warwick Norman, will participate in this year’s Posidonia 2014 International Shipping Exhibition in Athens from 2-6 June which will be attended by over 60 delegations including Australia. 

AUSMEPA commends the shipping industry for its support for marine environmental education and action through their support of a network of Marine Environmental Protection Associations throughout the world. 

For instance, ships who qualify for AUSMEPA's ship membership stand up as iconic inspiration to their peers. By flying the AUSMEPA flag they announce their commitment to captaining ships of quality who meet international safety and environmental standards.

Queensland Education Resources Expo 2014

Teachers in south east Queensland have found this exhibition to be a wonderful resource, highlighting resources, hints and tips to help in forming their workplans.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

AIMS; 'Marine Nation 2025'

Visit the Australian Institute of Marine Science here to find out more about how closely we are linked to our marine coasts and seas. There is a plethora of interesting material on all aspects of our marine environment.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Sea Urchin Tutorials online

Stanford University has some fascinating interactive tutorials that will assist in the exploration of sea urchins (click here)

interactive tutorials
(require free flash plugin — we recommend downloading the latest version for your platform)
link to predator and prey tutorial; requires Flash pluginlink to embryo microinjection lab; requires Flash plugin
& prey

link to microscope tutorial; requires Flash plugin
our acidifying

c2008-2013, Stanford University. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation.