Around the Reef - Reef Check Australia - February 2022

February 06, 2022

Dear {{recipient.first_name_or_friend}} 

Wow it's 2022 already and February! Our team had a well earned break but were back into the action by mid January. So much happened towards the end of last year that we could not fit it all in the December news, so we have included some in this months newsletter. We have lots of activities coming up in the next few months so we have a busy time ahead. 

This months email includes:

  • Action of the Month: Love is in the air
  • News from the Field
  • Brain Food
  • Current Coral Affairs
  • Get With the Program

Love is in the air! 

It's February, which means Love is in the air!

To celebrate, Februarys Action of the month is to bring more HEART into your life.

This month, we want to take a deep dive into looking at ways to bring more heart into everything we do, which means starting with yourself. It's been said time and time again; it's important to look after yourself, and with the world around us changing as often as it is, we want to make sure we really take that to heart. This month, let's make sure we all practice self-care first and foremost; fuelling our bodies, getting enough sleep, doing things that make us happy, connecting with nature, or reaching out to friends and family if we need support. The past days, weeks, months have been hard on many of us, so remember to be kind; to each other, and ourselves.

There are plenty of ways to bring more heart into all our lives; a heartfelt message, or note of appreciation is a beautiful way to show you care. Or a hug, some home baked goodies, a coffee, or even a walk with a friend who needs a friendly shoulder all encourages connection.

So, let's bring more heart into our lives this month; for yourself, those around you, and the planet. What will you do?


News from the field

Stories and updates from our teams out & about. Check out some of these regional stories on our website!

South East Queensland

Mooloolah River Survey

Our team managed to sneak in a survey at La Balsa Park before the impending holiday crowds descended upon this popular location. We were greeted by good visibility and kept company by an assortment of fish, including lots of butterflyfish, bream and fan bellied leatherjackets. It was encouraging to see some small hard coral recruits attaching to the rocks. Whilst there, our team also collected a significant amount of debris during the survey, including a large sheet of disintegrating black plastic and hundreds of metres of fishing line.

This survey is sponsored by the Sunshine Coast Council Environment Levy Partnership.

Mud Island Survey

A small team got out on the beautiful Moreton Bay with our friends from River to Bay. Surface conditions were magical and although the underwater visibility was low, it was still enough to allow us to complete our 2 surveys at Mud Island. Once again, as happens every summer, we were greeted by large amounts of Sargassum algae, but we did find some small soft corals hiding amongst it. We look forward to our winter surveys when this algae has gone and we can see the amazing corals in this area.

This project has received funding support from the Port of Brisbane.

Clean up for the Hatchlings

Unfortunately due to Omicron the annual Clean-up-for-the-Hatchlings was not able to be run in it's normal format. We missed the interaction with all the community groups that get involved in this activity and the people who come along and help out with the snorkel. We did however still manage to get a team in the water to collect rubbish on behalf of this event.

Great Barrier Reef

Alma Bay, Magnetic Island, Clean Up

Participation in marine conservation activities is a fantastic way for the local community to connect with nature, learn about threats to its ongoing health and do something that can ‘make a difference’. Over the weekend Reef Check Australia in partnership with Tangaroa Blue hosted 24 enthusiastic volunteers at Alma Bay, Magnetic Island as part of the Great Barrier Reef ReefClean project. Participants completed an underwater and beach clean up. The dive team of four explored the seabed of Alma Bay looking for trash discarded or washed into the sheltered bay. Aluminium cans and broken glass along with a couple of hair ties dominated the limited debris located underwater. 18 Students from the local Pimlico State High School’s Global Studies program joined in the land based activities assisting Reef Check team leader, Nathan Cook in completing a thorough scour of the beach for debris. ‘I am amazed at how much rubbish we found’ said Pimlico student Satya Cook. “When we arrived the beach looked pretty clean so I am surprised we found so much rubbish’. The students completed an AUSMAP microplastics survey and a beach clean up. All rubbish found was sorted, categorised and uploaded to Tangaroa Blue’s Australian Marine Debris Initiative. Since 2004 more than 7 million pieces of data have been inputted into the Australian Marine Debris Database, creating a comprehensive overview of what amounts and types of marine debris are impacting beaches around the country. Among the debris found at Alma Bay on the weekend the rubbish was dominated by broken glass and plastic bits and pieces.

The @reefclean project is funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and delivered by @tangaroablue Foundation and a number of partner organisations including Reef Check Australia


Nelly Bay, Magnetic Island, Clean Up

Despite the grey skies, a small team of Reef Check Australia volunteers ventured out to Nelly Bay at Magnetic Island in search of marine debris. We conducted a beach cleanup and an underwater cleanup, targeting around the backpackers and along the beach. We found 208 pieces of hard plastic remnants amongst other items like plastic cutlery, bottle lids, cigarette butts and aluminium cans and removed this from the area in time for the turtle hatchlings due to emerge in a months time! Thanks to our fantastic team of volunteers who weathered the rain and change of plans and made a day of it, we simply could not have done it without them!

The ReefClean project funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust, delivered by Tangaroa Blue Foundation and a number of partner organisations including Reef Check Australia.



Brain Food

Reviews and details on books, documentaries, and podcasts that we have come across, & wanted to share.

Whale Sharks Biology, Ecology and Conservation. Edited by Alistair D.M. Dove and Simon J. Pierce

Want to know all about whale sharks? Did you know they are bigger than Megalodon? I have only read an excerpt from this book and it is amazing. They have brought together the world's leading experts on whale sharks to discuss the lives of these magnificent creatures.

Breath The New Science of a lost Art by James Nestor

If you're looking for an interesting read, this was one of the most popular books from the 2021 Mindlife Project Bookclub. There is nothing more essential to our health and well-being than breathing: take air in, let it out, repeat twenty-five thousand times a day. Yet, as a species, humans have lost the ability to breathe correctly, with grave consequences. Journalist James Nestor travels the world to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it.

Current Coral Affairs

Check out some of the latest news and research about our ocean and waste reduction innovations:

"New" Coral Reef found off Tahiti

A huge, “pristine” coral reef has been discovered off the coast of Tahiti, French Polynesia. Stretching 3 kilometers (nearly 2 miles) – that’s around 27 football fields – it is thought to be one of the biggest coral reefs in the world. Read more about this amazing discovery in IFLScience:

Blast from the Past

We were recently sent these photos by one of our RCA supporters. These photos were taken at Heron Island in 1977, at Heron Bommie (one of RCA's survey sites). Apparently the year of these photos was a big update on the equipment required for diving there - a CO2 inflated surface vest! They still had no SPG, depth gauge, watch or octopus (all of which were considered unnecessary). You knew it was time to head back when it got hard to breathe and you had to pull a j-valve for some extra air, depth was read from the boat's sounder and the dive time supplied by the boat skipper. I must admit I am glad equipment has improved somewhat since then.


Get with the Program

Here's what we've got coming up in the next few weeks, keep checking the website for more updates. 


Sunday 6 Feb | Moreton Bay Habitat Restoration, come and chat to our team. 6.30am for BBQ followed by a tour of the local ecological habitat . This will have representatives of UQ Marine Society, Ozfish, Reef Check etc to take tours of the under water environment. Mangroves, Migratory birds oyster reef restoration projects and more. Come and be a citizen science participant for a couple of hours and join our experts and be a tourist, for a brief encounter with the wild side of the world. Bring your camera, your children, grandparents etc and your wellies/ gumboots for a walk on the wild side of nature.
Meet you at the cnr of Endeavour Esplanade & Oyster Point Parade Scarborough.
6.30am to 11am Sunday
Contact [email protected] for more details


Reduce your carbon footprint in March 2022, while raising funds for environmental organisations (think Reef Check Australia). March 4 Earth is working to connect and empower Aussies to live more sustainably and support climate action. Find out how you can get involved by checking out their website.  


If you missed any of our Coast to Coral online events, remember you can always catch-up by taking a look at our YouTube Channel here  


Thanks for reading! If you want to help our work to empower more people to protect Australian reefs, please consider making a monthly tax-deductible donation. 



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