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

Shag Rock Survey!

January 02, 2020
Thanks to the Brisbane survey team for their fantastic efforts collecting quality data from two survey sites at Shag Rock on 21 December.   The survey team left in the early hours of the morning to North Stradbroke Island. The conditions were perfect and the sea life was booming! Two successful surveys completed with giant rays, leopard sharks, moray eels and plenty of fish which is all a sign of a healthy reef.   After the team made their way home they were informed that a Great White Shark was hanging around the corner at Point Lookout!       Thanks to the Queensland Government for supporting our work in this region.
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RCA at Moreton Bay Research Station Open Day

December 27, 2019
  On a bright Saturday morning, volunteers Tanya, Marzia, Krystel and Jodi hopped on a ferry over to Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) for the UQ Moreton Bay Research Station open day. This annual event is getting very popular, with the station offering activities for kids and environmental nerds of all ages, from touch-tanks, to boat tours of the bay, to talks about how parasites affect turtle ecology. Reef Checkers were happily stationed between the arts and crafts table and the NGO Humpback and High Rises.     The “guess who I am” cards were a big hit with kids - some of them staying for over 30 cards and bringing friends along to check out what they had learned. Although there weren’t too many divers present, adults were very interested to learn about Reef Check Australia’s survey methods and how we get that information to the government and other stakeholders. Lucky for us, a fifth Reef Checker and current UQ Honours student, Tanya Alejo, transformed from station volunteer to Reef Check volunteer in the afternoon, giving the rest of the team a chance to check out some cool talks.     Thanks to the Port of Brisbane and the Queensland Government for supporting our work in this region.
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Clean Up At South Straddie - A Volunteer Roundup!

November 19, 2019
The South Straddie Cleanup 2019 did not disappoint - offering an amazing weekend and learning experience for those who took part. Check out this roundup from Cheryl Tan - one of our fab volunteers!   The RCA team were among over 50 volunteers from a range countries (including the USA, Brazil, Spain, New Zealand, Singapore and of course Australia!) who all came together for a common cause and picked up 650 kgs of rubbish in under 3 hours!        Volunteers learnt how to fill out a data collection sheet used by Positive Change for Marine Life (PCML) to sort the rubbish collected into different categories. This was useful in understanding what and where the rubbish was coming from and made everyone reflect on the bigger issue at hand; the insidious movement from "non-sustainable single-use plastic" to "biodegradable single-use plastic" which is simply placing a band-aid over the issue of micro-plastics and not addressing consumer behaviour towards single-use plastic.          It was a great segway into the evening presentations given by participating organisations (Cleanwater Group, Positive Change for Marine Life & Surfrider Foundation Gold Coast Tweed) which explained the multi-dimensional approach adopted by these groups. It did not stop just at organising community clean-ups; instead they take things one step further by engaging with the community both locally and overseas to find the root cause(s) of pollution and collaborating with local councils and government to implement effective waste management strategies.     Thanks to Cleanwater Group for inviting us along to the event, as well as charity partners Positive Change for Marine Life, Surfrider Foundation Australia and Tangaroa Blue. As well as all of the event sponsors: Byron Bay Brewer, Spirit of the Gold Coast Whale Watching, Patagonia, Biome Eco Stores, Charlies Fruit Markets and Tipplers Licence Cafe for helping make the day such a HUGE success. A big thanks to City of Gold Coast for their support.
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Getting Busy in Brisbane

August 27, 2019
  August saw some awesome educational events happening in Brisbane, and as ever our amazing team of ambassadors were there to educate and empower.   On the weekend of 16-18 August, over 4000 people attended Brisbane Science Festival at South Bank. Reef Check ambassadors raised awareness of the incredible marine diversity found on Brisbane’s doorstep in Moreton Bay and discussed ways that everybody can help protect the ocean, no matter where they live. We were inspired by the number of young STEM enthusiasts and budding marine biologists we met over the weekend who were excited to tell us about the actions they are already taking to protect the planet!       Meanwhile, the University of Queensland hosted ‘Trash free Tuesday’ over at their St Lucia Campus during sustainability week. The event brought attention to the range of sustainable choices each and every one of us can make in our daily lives to minimise waste. Reef Check Ambassadors chatted with staff and students about how to ditch the plastic habit and how to get involved in community clean up and awareness events in SE QLD. We hope to see everyone again soon at one of our local Coast to Coral events.     Thanks to the Queensland Government Citizen Science Grant for supporting our work in this area.
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