Moreton Bay

On Brisbane’s doorstep are a diversity of spectacular and unique reefs, which is a truly unusual scenario given proximity to large metropolitan area. In a short boat trip from the coastline of bustling Brisbane’s hub of 2 million people, you can find subtropical reefs that host a diversity of tropical and cold water marine species.

While these reefs may not be as extensive, diverse or well-known as the Great Barrier Reef, they are pretty special. The offshore site Flinders Reef, for instance, is home to 125 species of coral. Research shows that Moreton Bay’s inshore reefs have about half of the coral diversity of offshore reefs, as the corals that live here are more robust to tolerate water quality influences from the land.

Moreton Bay’s marine environments host the largest known aggregation of leopard sharks in the world, as well as seasonal aggregations of both manta rays and grey nurse sharks. There are even two coral species that feature Moreton Bay in their name!

The region’s waterways are under growing pressure from a rapidly increasing human presence, with the SEQ population expected to reach 4 million by 2026. Stressors such as habitat loss, nutrient runoff, boating, anchoring, overfishing, marine debris and climate change will have increasing consequences for reefs in the SEQ region. As such, long-term monitoring of these habitats is critical.

Regional Updates

First Surveys For 2019 Done And Dusted!

February 19, 2019
Our SEQ dive teams have kicked off the 2019 season with visits to Moreton Bay and the Sunshine Coast, First up, Reef Check surveyors visited some of our inshore Moreton Bay sites in the second week of January, at St Helena, Mud Island and Green Island. The sites, which RCA aims to visit twice a year, are very close to the river, and urban development along the shore, making it a challenging environment for the coral communities that inhabit the area! With high silt loading and a lot of sediment in the water, it can also make for challenging diving conditions, but our surveyor team did a fantastic job of getting the surveys done at four of our sites! They found plenty of coral battling away, some interesting species of fish, including goatfish, snapper, some wobbegongs and a few sargassum filefish! Thanks to the team at Moreton Bay Research Station for helping us get out to these sites and to the Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd for supporting our surveys. And of course to our amazing surveyors for their hard work!     A Reef Check team also had the pleasure of visiting South East Queensland's most spectacular dive site, Flinders Reef, on the 20th of January. Flinders is home to an incredibly diverse range of marine and coral species, and most renowned for its beautiful large plate and branching corals! Reef Check Australia have been surveying sites at Flinders since 2007, and we have a number of monitoring sites there. Strong currents made it difficult to navigate to the first survey site, but our fantastic team of surveyors managed to complete a survey at our Alden's Cave site and collected an array of fantastic images for updating our surveyor training material! Thanks to Adreno, Scuba Shane and Supercat Charters for putting the trip together, and to the Queensland Government Community Sustainability Action Grant for supporting our activities and surveys in the Moreton Bay area. As ever we couldn't achieve this without our awesome team of surveyors, and special thanks to Gary Cranitch for the incredible images!       Our Sunshine Coast team also recently got out on the water at beautiful Bullcock Beach to do a survey - and didn't miss the opportunity to add in a clean up while they were there as part of the Clean Up for the Hatchlings event. Great work team!         With plans in place to pick up our in water activities in both the Gold Coast and Noosa regions this year, it's going to be a busy time for our Scuba Surveyors!  Don't forget, there's still time to registered your expression of interest for the upcoming Scuba Surveyor training courses in the Brisbane/Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast/Noosa regions. 
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Reef Ambassador and Scuba Surveyor Training Courses - Apply Now!

December 24, 2018
  Expressions of interest are now open for both Reef Surveyor and Reef Ambassador training in 2019 - so keep reading and get your application in ASAP if this sounds like you!   Be A Reef Check Scuba Surveyor Reef Check Scuba Surveyor training is a fun way to meet a tribe of reef-mind people, find out more about our beautiful reefs, boost your dive skills and build your capacity to actively contribute to scientific research. You don't need to have previous science or survey experience--we'll provide you with comprehensive training to safely collect great quality data to help look after reefs.  We'll be running training courses both for Brisbane and the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast region in 2019. So if you're a PADI Advanced Open Water diver, or equivalent, and you've always wanted to get more involved in reef research - now is your chance!      Expression of Interest Forms - Scuba Surveyor Training Brisbane and Gold Coast: Expressions of Interest Form For SCUBA Surveyor Training, March 2019 Sunshine Coast: Expressions of Interest Form For SCUBA Surveyor Training, May 2019   Be A Reef Ambassador Our Reef Ambassador program is a ground breaking project, training community outreach volunteers to actively inspire, motivate and support their communities to better understand and help protect local marine environments. Reef Ambassadors are reef role models who actively empower their communities to better understand and help protect marine environments at a local level. If this sounds like something you'd love to be involved in, then apply now!       Expressions of Interest Forms - Reef Ambassador Training: Brisbane and Gold Coast: Expression of Interest Form For Reef Ambassador Training, March 2019 Sunshine Coast: Expression of Interest Form For Reef Ambassador Training, May 2019   Check out the calendar for more info on all these training sessions!    
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Moreton Bay 2018 - It's a Wrap!

December 18, 2018
The Brisbane team has had a super busy year during 2018 and they're finally winding down for the festive season. But they wanted to go out with a bang - fitting in a range of events in and out of  the water to round off a productive year. So here's just a few highlights from their end of year activities: Reef Check Australia staff and volunteers attended the Moreton Bay Research Station Open Day in November, to celebrate 56 years of their fantastic work facilitating and supporting education and scientific research. The survey teams have relied heavily on the staff and resources at the station to help get them out to many of our long-term monitoring sites in Moreton Bay this year, so we were very proud to be involved on the day! Project Coordinator Rory Mulloy gave a brief presentation on Reef Check Australia's survey findings and volunteer activities in the region. Thanks to Reef Ambassadors Britt and Sue for coming along to help spread the word about citizen science and local reefs! Thanks to the Queensland Government's Community Sustainability Action Grant, and the Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd for their support in making these events happen.     You don't have to travel far in South East Queensland to find a surprisingly beautiful underwater world. Our surveyors have visited some incredible sites this year and the last survey trip of the season was no different, with our team jumping in off the Amity Point boat ramp to find an interesting array of reef fish, wobbegongs, nudibranchs, and even a humpback dolphin. Unfortunately they also found a large amount of marine debris, in particular fishing line, so the team also conducted an underwater clean up as well as a survey! Divers managed to remove fishing line which was wrapped around branching coral, sinkers and lures, and old bottles. A very worthwhile addition to this survey trip. These activities were proudly supported by the  Queensland Government Community Sustainability Action Grants.   Finally, to round off a brilliant year of Coast to Coral talks, Johan Gustafson spoke to a full house at the Bearded Lady about his work tagging and tracking hammerhead sharks in South East Queensland. His research has helped identify hammerhead pupping grounds in the region, and to better understand the movements and behaviours of this species. Sharks always seem to capture people's imaginations, but we have had a whole range of fascinating topics in 2018. Talks have covered habitat restoration, dolphin acoustics, sea-grass meadows, and even how diving on the reef virtually from your own home can contribute to citizen science, and help monitor the state of the Reef. The talks will resume in February 2019, and we already have more fantastic speakers lined up! Thanks to the Queensland Government Community Sustainability Action Grant for their continued support with these talks.     Thanks to all our volunteers and supporters who have helped make this year so productive in the Moreton Bay region. We can't wait to see what 2019 will bring!
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SEQ Survey Season Launch!

September 04, 2018
The South East Queensland survey season has now officially begun, with an awesome team of Reef Check Australia volunteers recently spending the weekend on gorgeous (and quite wet!) Stradbroke Island refreshing their reef surveyor ID skills in addition to learning new skills with Fish identification.  Despite the cold and sometimes rainy weekend, teams also completed four reef health surveys at Flat and Shag rock off Stradbroke Island.    Teams were treated to many a turtle, plenty of whales breaching, and wobbegongs a plenty!   As ever we need to say a huge thank you to our amazing volunteers for their time and dedication over the weekend- reef monitoring simply cannot be done without them, and we are so lucky to have volunteers willing to donate their whole weekend to monitoring the reef.  Thanks also go to Holzheimer (Point Lookout SCUBA Dive Charters) for getting the team to our sites, and to the Queensland Government's Community Sustainability Action Grants for supporting these vital projects. What a way to kick off the season!
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