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