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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Yellow Crazy Ants - sea cargo hitch hikers

The following information comes from the Queensland Government website here 
"Native to Africa, the yellow crazy ant has a long body and very long legs and antennae. Its name comes from its erratic walking style and frantic movements, especially when disturbed. Yellow crazy ants can disrupt natural environments, affect the horticulture industry, and cause skin and eye irritations. They are found throughout the Pacific region and on Christmas Island, and are most commonly transported inside sea cargo."
Native crabs are particularly under threat as well as native birds, other animals and plants. The large aggressive ants husband sap sucking insects and can spray harmful formic acid.
"The yellow crazy ant is listed as one of the world's 100 worst invasive alien species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature."
"They have spread extensively in Queensland since they were first discovered in Cairns in 2001. Despite Biosecurity Queensland’s ongoing treatment and surveillance, eradicating yellow crazy ants is no longer considered possible in Queensland. Efforts will now focus on working with councils, industry and landholders to manage yellow crazy ants and their ongoing impacts."

Yellow crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes) - Photo courtesy of Invasive Species Council

Seen in many parts of northern Australia possibly the worst affected is Christmas Island and our iconic Christmas Island red crabs. To protect our crabs and other natives be alert and advise the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries here.

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.

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

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.

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.

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:

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.