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Around the Reef - Reef Check Australia - February 2024

February 16, 2024
Dear Friend We're Back!, well we never really went anywhere but we did have a well deserved break and hope you all did too. The festive season was somewhat sketchy for those of us in the north of Queensland with Cyclone Jasper causing havoc around Cairns, Wujal Wujal and beyond. Then at the end of January Cyclone Kirrily decided to pay us a visit. Luckily she did not have the massive impact of Jasper and now SEQ is being swamped by record rainfall! Our thoughts are with everyone that was, and continues to be, affected by these events. Given the break in operations and the inability to get out for field work, this month we bring you some more of the activities we completed in 2023. This months email includes: Action of the Month: Love like the Ocean News from the Field Gift Ideas Current Coral Affairs Get With the Program Love like the ocean! Photo by Khadeeja Yasser on Unsplash February may whisper of romance, but at Reef Check Australia, we believe "love" is a much grander tide, ebbing and flowing through ourselves, our communities, and the ocean we adore. So, this month, we're celebrating Love like the Ocean as our The Action of the Month! But how do we truly translate this feeling of love into action? Dive with us into three ways to show your love in February: 1. Embrace Self-Love's Ripple Effect: The ocean cherishes every drop, and so should you! Prioritize a quiet morning walk on the beach, treat yourself to a mindful meditation with the rhythmic waves as your soundtrack, or cook a nourishing meal. When you nurture yourself, you radiate kindness and inspiration, creating ripples of positivity that reach your community and the environment. 2. Strengthen the Reef of Community: Like coral polyps building a vibrant reef, join hands with your community. Do a beach clean-up (or join in for ours coming up this weekend!), volunteer at a marine conservation project, or host a fundraising event for local ocean advocacy groups. These actions not only benefit the environment but also forge bonds of shared passion and purpose, strengthening the fabric of your community. 3. Be the Tide of Change for the Ocean: Remember every small action adds up to a powerful wave of change. Ditch single-use plastics for reusable alternatives, choose sustainable seafood, and educate others about ocean threats. These everyday choices may seem insignificant, but collectively, they form a mighty current protecting the future of our beloved ocean. Let February be a month where love overflows onto the shores of self, community, and the environment. Remember, every act of kindness, every conscious choice, every moment of connection is a love letter to the ocean. Let's show our love through action, and watch the waves of positive change rise!   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 Peel Island Restoration Project Check Up. Science isn't always pretty; but it is amazing. We continue to watch the weather for even the slightest chance of getting on the water, so when the winds died down and the sun came out, we jumped at the chance to go and check on our Peel Island Reef Restoration project site. With the outstanding assistance from Seaworld, it was a true example of collaboration; and what can be achieved when we all work together. With representatives from The Moreton Bay Foundation, The Goodman Foundation, and Brisbane Airport Corporation, as well as Reef Check Australia volunteers; reef health surveyors, reef ambassadors, beach clean up volunteers, volunteers in training and even a board member all joined forces to check in on the project, clean up the structures, document any changes to the growth of the corals, and remove the fishing debris covering one of the structures. Despite the low visibility, conditions were favourable. Corals are doing well, everyone was able to participate in the activities and everyone had a great day in and on the water, again showcasing what we can achieve when collaborations occur. We are super excited to continue to monitor the progress of this project and invite you to participate in the next day on the water; many hands make light work after all! Massive shoutout to all involved; all the volunteers, the companies that allow their staff to take volunteer days to assist with such vital projects, our funding and support; Brisbane Airport Foundation for seed funding, The Moreton Bay Foundation and The Goodman Foundation for ongoing support and to Seaworld for their vessel support and willingness to assist. What a truly magnificent outcome for the not always glorious, but always amazing science that is Marine Biology.    Citizen Science Conference - Sunshine Coast What a fantastic three days at the Australia Citizen Science Association Conference held at the University of Sunshine Coast on 21-23 November! Reef Ambassador and Reef Health survey diver, Toni, was fortunate to observe inspirational and impactful presentations on reef citizen science - so many wonderful presenters and amazing projects. Toni presented a paper ‘Reefs on Wrecks’ in Southeast Queensland: A collaborative citizen science project to measure climate change impacts. This is a maritime archaeology and Reef Check Australia reef health citizen science project. A big thank you to CitSCiOz23 organisers and attendees for making this conference such an uplifting and exiting event! It was fantastic to meet new contacts and discuss future collaborative projects and opportunities. If you are a Reef Check Australia surveyor and are keen to participate in other shipwreck surveys, then please get in contact with Jodi or Toni. Watch this space! Reef Check Acknowledge the Kabi Kabi people of the Sunshine Coast, Traditional Custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and future. This project is supported by the sunshine Coast Council’s Environmental Levy Partnerships Grant. Seaweed Restoration Festival On a splendidly sunny Saturday, October 21st, 2023, Reef Check Australia was honoured to join and support the inspiring seaweed restoration event at Alexandra Headland. Over 50 enthusiastic participants, under the guidance of the Seaweed Research Group, engaged in a significant environmental initiative – planting various seaweed species onto mesh bags for future oceanic restoration. This event, a critical part of a social science chapter led by PhD candidate Shelby Schumacher, was a testament to the power of community-driven environmental action. Reef Check Australia, with our dedication to educational outreach and support for restoration activities, found a natural synergy in the day's proceedings. We were thrilled to be part of an event that not only focused on ecological restoration but also brought together diverse groups for a common cause. The Seaweed Research Group, comprising over 30 cross-disciplinary experts, showed an exceptional commitment to harnessing seaweed’s potential for ecological, economic, and social welfare. Their innovative approach that integrates science, technology, health, and business, highlights seaweed's crucial role in marine ecosystems and its expanding economic significance. The event was more than just a restoration activity; it was a platform for learning and exchange. As participants planted seaweed, they gained insights into its pivotal role in marine ecosystems – akin to terrestrial forests, offering shelter and sustenance to a plethora of marine life. Furthermore, the Seaweed Research Group's efforts in demonstrating seaweed's diverse applications, from health benefits to its role in the global economy, were commendable. We extend our heartfelt thanks to them for inviting Reef Check Australia to be a part of this meaningful day. Reef Check Australia took this opportunity to educate attendees about the delicate coral reefs along the Sunshine Coast, emphasizing their vulnerability amidst climate change challenges. Engaging the community in discussions about reducing carbon footprints and participating in environmental activities resonated with our mission of conserving marine life through education and action. This day of environmental stewardship, knowledge sharing, and community involvement re-enforced our commitment to safeguarding our oceans. Together, we continue to pave the way for a sustainable and vibrant marine future. Remember, every little bit counts.  If you see rubbish on the beach; pick it up.  Together, we can and will make an ocean of difference. Reef Check Acknowledges the Kabi Kabi peoples of the Sunshine Coast, the traditional custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. This project has received funding support the Sunshine Coast Councils Environment Levy Partnership Grant. Mooloolaba Foreshore Festival At this year's Mooloolaba Foreshore Festival , Reef Check Australia got a little creative with the standard stall set up (having forgotten to pack our tables and chairs meant our inner MacGyver skills were activated), I decided to do a tatami-style set up. Our beautiful canvas banner wrapped around the gazebo, it became the perfect background shot of the sea for kids and families to take a snap! Throughout the day, we received a steady stream of visitors, particularly families with young daughters who were eager to engage in beach clean-ups, educational workshops, and nurturing aspirations for their children to become future stewards of the reef and community they lived in. There were also many who had returned to the Sunny Coast to retire who used to surf or scuba dive and wanted a new meaning to the hobbies they once pursued. Reef Check Australia certainly piqued their curiosity, and several were keen to get their feet wet again and engage in reef conservation. As the festival drew to a close, we reflected on the importance of fostering community involvement in ocean conservation and education both from the perspective of a young child growing up to that of the retired who reminisced the coastal ecosystems before rapid modernisation. Big thanks to Cheryl Tan for manning the stall and helping to engage the local Sunshine Coast community. Reef Check Acknowledges the Kabi Kabi peoples of the Sunshine Coast, the traditional custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. This project has received funding support the Sunshine Coast Councils Environment Levy Partnership Grant. Great Barrier Reef In December we bade farewell to one of our amazing team leaders from the GBR as she takes up a new opportunity in Western Australia. We wish Aimee all the best and thank her for her amazing efforts in her work with Reef Check Australia. Beach Clean Up - Steen's Beach Hook Island Taking advantage of a nice forecast our team headed out on the water in the beautiful Whitsundays to explore some of the beaches and see if any of them could benefit from a dedicated clean up effort. Having the advantage of a high tide, our team pulled into Steen’s Beach on Hook Island. The beach is a National Park Campground with a single table and associated benches and a long drop toilet. Our team collected some small items of broken plastic and a few miscellaneous items in the sandy beach area then headed east over the rocks and along the rockier foreshore of the adjoining beach. It was not long before the pursuit of polystyrene sent us into the trees and the green tree ants! Our team collected numerous green tree ant bites and 15kgs of rubbish from this beach, including 144 pieces of polystyrene, 154 pieces of hard plastic, 15 thongs (no matching pairs), 22 plastic drink bottles and, concerningly, 8 bleach bottles (Kuat brand). As posted by Tangaroa Blue on 25 February 2022, (Facebook/Tangaroa Blue), these foreign bleach bottles come from a number of countries and may come in on the ocean currents after being dumped overboard from foreign fishing vessels. The bleach is one of the arsenals used in “cyanide fishing” to stun the fish for live capture. Having covered over 700m of beach, a falling tide forced us back to the boat with our load to ensure we could safely exit the area. Thanks to John at Whitsunday Paradise Explorer for getting us to site, helping with the clean up and hauling the rubbish back to the boat. This clean up was conducted on the traditional lands and sea country of the Ngaro People of the Whitsundays. We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians and their Elders past, present and emerging.  This project is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government's Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.       Whitsundays, Daydream Island Reef Health Survey A small but enthusiastic team headed over to Daydream Island in the beautiful Whitsundays to conduct our annual Reef Check Australia, Reef Health Surveys, along with Eye of the Reef Rapid Surveys and CoralWatch. Both sites were set up in 2013 and have been monitored since then as funds allow. Like many of the sites in the Whitsundays, these sites were severely impacted by Cyclone Debbie and coral cover has not recovered to levels observed prior to this event. Lovers Cove historically had levels of soft coral around 30% and hard coral initially recorded at 33% in 2013. Soft coral levels fluctuated at Mermaids Cove with hard coral cover initially at 15%. During our surveys in 2020 hard coral was less than 2% at Lovers Cove and zero at Mermaids Cove. Hard coral cover has increased to 9% at Lovers Cove and 18% at Mermaids Cove. However, these percentages only represent what was located under the transect tape and recorded during the point intercept survey and do not take into account the numerous corals that were observed scattered around the survey area. Encouragingly we also observed numerous hard coral recruits taking up residence on the bare substrate. Minimal bleaching was observed at both sites but at less than 1% of the population.  Parrotfish were the most observed target fish at both sites, with butterflyfish and coral trout also observed, along with numerous non-target fish. A big thanks to our volunteers Deb Duggan and Terry Farr for helping out, Daydream Island Resort and Living Reef team for making us welcome and Cruise Whitsundays for getting us to site. These surveys were conducted on the traditional lands and sea country of the Ngaro People of the Whitsundays. We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians and their Elders past, present and emerging. This project is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government's Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. Magnetic Island Nelly Bay Reef Health Surveys In early November we started our annual reef health surveys around the Townsville Region for the season. First up was Nelly Bay, Magnetic Island, a site that was established in 2003 and has been surveyed regularly over the past 20 years. Over this period we have observed a decrease in hard coral cover, and in rock (dead coral, often covered in turf algae or crustose coralline algae) among the substrate. No trends were detected in coral impacts or invertebrate presence. Similar to last year, this year’s surveys had very high macroalgae (specifically Sargassum) cover across data points on the substrate survey. However, the height of the Sargassum was approximately 0.5m this year, compared to 3m+ last year when the surveys were conducted in late December when the water was approximately 3 degrees warmer. The team observed some bleaching of hard corals, however this was a small portion of individual colonies (i.e. for each colony of coral that was bleached, approximately 5% of that colony was bleached, with the remaining 95% healthy). A special thanks to our surveyors Joan and Rachelle and surface watch Aabha for making this trip possible and for being available at short notice to make the most of the decent conditions whilst they last! Also thank you to Pleasure Divers for tank hire, allowing us to complete these surveys. This project is made possible through support from Townsville City Council through their Creek to Coral program, the Integrated Coral Reef Citizen Science 2.0 Program funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, and Reef Ecologic. We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on where these activities take place, the Manbarra and Bwgcolman people of Palm Island, and the Wulgurukaba and Bindal People of the Townsville and Magnetic Island region. We pay our respects to their elders, past, present and emerging and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in our community today.     Books and podcasts Have you read or listened to something lately that you would like to share? Let us know and we can feature it here The Exceptions - Kate Zernike Not specifically marine related but an interesting story of the struggles of women for recognition in science. With so much focus nowadays on Women in STEM, this book shows how far we have come since the 1960's.   Current Coral Affairs Check out some of the latest news and research about our ocean Antarctica - a continent in crisisEven the most remote place on Earth is beginning to crumble.. Read now in: Australian Geographic What is an ocean avalanche? They are terrifying and deadly on land, but what about under the sea? Read more: Australian Geographic So you think bottled water is better than tap? Bottled water has up to 100 times more plastic particles than previously thought. Read more: Popular Science Get with the Program Here's what we've got coming up in the next few weeks, keep checking the website for more updates.  3 Feb | Clean Up for the Hatchlings - Land Based Activities This is the 10 year anniversary of this awesome event. Clean up your beach and come along for free BBQ and amazing prizes at Coopers Lookout Park, Buddina. For more info and to register for your favourite beach head to Eventbrite. 6 Feb | Coast to Corals - Erik Sandertun Roed and lobster monitoring in Norway. Register on our 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.    Make a Donation   Copyright © 2023 Reef Check Australia, All rights reserved.You have received this newsletter because you have given Reef Check Australia your email address. If you would prefer not to receive any further emails, please click the unsubscribe link in your email.Our mailing address is: Reef Check Australia PO Box 782, Mooloolaba, QLD, 4557Australia
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Around the Reef - Reef Check Australia - December 2023

February 16, 2024
Dear Friend The festive season is certainly here and everyone is looking forward to a short break. Our teams have been busy this last month but we still have some past activities to share with you. Whilst some of these news items might seem a bit old, we still want to share the amazing work our teams have been doing and give a big shout out to our amazing supporters and grant funders who make these projects possible. As promised last month, we also bring you a list of just some of our favourite local and small businesses that we encourage you to support when doing your Christmas shopping. This months email includes: Action of the Month: That's a Wrap News from the Field Gift Ideas Current Coral Affairs Get With the Program That's a Wrap! Photo by freestocks on Unsplash Another year done and dusted and as the world slows down for a few days over the silly season it allows us the perfect time to reflect on the past 12 months and all that has happened. The highlights and the challenges. The successes and opportunities to grow. All offer the opportunity to be grateful for the experience, and allow a platform for us to reflect and plan for the next 12 months. As we look ahead to the new year, it's a time to set goals, make plans, and dream big. Whether it's traveling to a new destination, learning a new skill, or simply taking more time for self-care, there's a sense of optimism and possibility that comes with the start of a new year. For Reef Check Australia, the magnificent team behind the scenes that make it all work accomplished outstandiing things. Along the length of the QLD coastline, almost 100 reef health surveys were completed, and over 80 community events, fundraising nights, movie nights, and beach/underwater clean ups were conducted. Over 20 Reef Ambassadors and 12 Reef Health Surveyors completed their training, and we set up a reef restoration project in Moreton Bay. Hundreds of kg of marine debris was removed from our waterways, beaches and oceans, and hundreds of community members found out who RCA is, and what we do. We even presented citizen science data at two conferences. We strengthened partnerships and created new ones. We won awards, and were finalists for others. That's a really big year for a small team, so thankyou to each and every single one of you. Your support, assistance, energy and input makes a huge impact and we appreciate you. So as we say goodbye to 2023, let's take a moment to celebrate the good, acknowledge the challenges, and look forward with hope and optimism to what lies ahead. Here's to a new year full of possibility, growth, and happiness. That's a wrap! 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 Gold Coast Training - Reef Ambassadors During July and August our latest group of enthusiastic volunteers undertook our Reef Ambassador training course. The theory component is delivered online, enabling people to join from all over the state, all the while reducing our carbon footprint by removing the need to travel. Whilst some of our new ambassadors are yet to complete their face-to-face component, we did have new volunteer participation at the recent Gold Coast Whale Festival. This was a great opportunity for them to learn from more experienced volunteers and practice their skills in communicating with a wide range of people. Our ambassadors brought a fantastic selection of ideas for new projects and events that they wish to organise so we can’t wait to see these come to fruition. Reef Check Australia acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. This project has received funding support from The City of Gold Coasts Catchment and Citizen Science Grants Program. . Kirra Reef Health Survey, August 2023 The sun was out and so were we! With a few days in a row of gorgeous weather, we headed to Kirra reef for our annual reef health monitoring at the site. Our team was lucky enough to encounter watch whales and dolphins on the way to site, making it a truly special day for all of us 😊 Kirra Reef is situated at the southern end of the Gold Coast and consists of scattered rocky outcrops that are covered in kelp and algae. It is approximately 400m from the shore, and is protected on three sides by land, making it accessible most of the year. Despite being close to shore, access by boat is recommended. It is approximately 100 metres in length and home to an array of soft corals, feather stars, anemones, cephalopods and an abundance of fish species. Eagle rays, wobbegongs and turtles can often be spotted just off this reefal area if you have a keen eye and time to explore. Reef Check Australia has been monitoring Southeast Queensland reefs since 2007, and Kirra Reef  since 2019, as part of a partnership with City of Gold Coast to monitor the health of reefs in the area. The team were delighted to find the site full of marine life including the smallest wobbegong anyone had ever seen, an octopus, nudibranchs, sea urchins and so many fish! A small amount of debris was recorded on the site, most drifting with the algae in the gulley’s between the rocky coral covered outcrops. The site supports a large number of anemones, ascidians and flowery soft corals and lots of different types of algae, often making substrate surveys a little tricker. If you get the chance to check out this small but diverse site, we highly recommend having a look!  Again, we recommend access by boat for safety. Big thanks to Gold Coast Dive Adventures for getting us to the site! Reef Check Acknowledge the people of the Yugambeh language region of the Gold Coast, Traditional Custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place, and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. This project has received funding support from The City of Gold Coasts Catchment and Citizen Science Grants Program. Caloundra Music Festival Basking in perpetual sunshine, the 16th annual Caloundra Music Festival took place from Friday the 29th to Sunday the 1st of October and boasted an idyllic setting, bordering the scenic Kings Beach. With a diverse lineup, the festival attracted thousands, serenading them with genres ranging from rap and funk to blues and jazz. While single-use items were minimized through the use of reusable cups and a focus on recycling and composting, Reef Check Australia volunteers took the opportunity to blend environmental education with entertainment. Positioned strategically amidst the festival grounds, they engaged the public on marine conservation efforts and recommended local snorkelling spots to experience the underwater world of the Sunshine Coast. While the music resonated with the attendees, the event also struck a chord on environmental awareness. Partnering with Reef Check Australia and BushCare Sunshine Coast, the festival aimed to educate the public on local conservation initiatives. Both organizations went beyond the festival's timeframe, advertising local citizen science opportunities for the region to get involved in environmental action beyond the three-day event. Volunteers from Reef Check actively discussed ongoing projects in the area and invited festivalgoers to get involved in future conservation efforts. Meanwhile, BushCare Sunshine Coast promoted land-based conservation projects, emphasizing the interconnectedness of terrestrial and marine ecosystems. By intertwining the melodies of the festival with the vital message of environmental responsibility, the event created a lasting impact that will likely reverberate in the actions of attendees long after the last note faded away. A massive thankyou to our new Ambassadors Jolin, Jake and Erica who completed the last elements of their Reef Ambassador course whilst at the festival. Volunteers are vital to the work we do, and we appreciate your time and energy! Thankyou, and we look forward to seeing you art future events! Reef Check Acknowledge the Kabi Kabi people of the Sunshine Coast, Traditional Custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. This project is supported by the Sunshine Coast Councils Environment Levy Partnership Grant.    Moreton Bay - St Helena Reef Health Surveys A sunny day between wind and rain. Despite heavy rains over the past few weeks, Moreton Bay put on a show in September, showing just how gorgeous the on-water conditions can be, meaning this tiny but might Reef Check Australia team was able to get out and conduct a summer reef health survey at Saint Helena Island, to document any changes to the reef in the area. Reef Check Australia has been monitoring Southeast Queensland reefs since 2007, and Saint Helena Island since 2017, as part of a partnership with Port of Brisbane to monitor the effects of activities in the Bay. These locations are monitored twice a year (summer and winter) to detect any seasonal changes. St Helena Island is located 5km from the mouth of the Brisbane River. The island itself has an interesting history. From 1867 it operated as a high security colonial prison, operating for 65 years as a self sufficient set up, complete with lime kiln, sugar refinery, a sugar cane plantation, and almost no native vegetation due to its removal early on. Reef Check Australia has two long term monitoring sites around the island.  The first site; Palindrome, is near the jetty, and has a patchy reef full of both hard and soft corals. This site was quite turbid for the winter survey; unusual for this time of year known for cold but clear conditions. A high level of silt was recorded and purple filamentous nutrient indicator algae covered almost every surface. Several items of debris were recorded; mostly glass bottles, and a couple of nudibranchs, however no target fish species were found on this survey. The second site; Ray of Sunshine, is towards the south east, and has a greater density of hard corals than Palindrome. The visibility was uncharacteristically poor for this time of year, with sediment throughout the water column. No macroalgae was recorded at this site on transect (previously found in high occurance at this site), however Nutrient Indicator Algae (NIA) was recorded in much higher counts than the previous year. This site has plenty of hard coral colonies, with bleaching affecting approximately 5% of the population, an increase since summer, and winter last year. We look forward to heading out again in a few months to continue monitoring any changes that might occur as a part of this long term monitoring program. Thankyou to Go Dive Brisbane for getting us to our reef health monitoring sites. We appreciate that many of the sites we visit are not regularly on the tourist circuit, although we believe they should be! Reef Check Acknowledge the Quandamooka people, Traditional Custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and future. This project is supported by the Port of Brisbane as a part of their environmental monitoring program.       Elliot Heads - Beach Clean Up On a sunshine-filled Saturday morning in early October, the sky cleared just as our clean-up operation began, blessing our environmental efforts with clear weather to launch the start of the Great Barrier Reef Clean-up, which happened throughout the month of October. Spearheaded by Reef Check Australia and Tangaroa Blue Foundation, a diverse group of volunteers—some new to beach cleaning and others well-versed—gathered to reclaim the beauty of our coasts by removing marine debris from our shared shorelines. The scope of the clean-up was expansive, targeting not just the sandy stretches of Elliot Heads Beach but also sections of the serene mouth of Elliot River and the secluded Dr May Island. These areas are not just scenic getaways but crucial habitats for local wildlife. Migratory and critically endangered shorebirds, as well as nesting sea turtles with notably high nesting rates, call these areas home. Bordering the Great Sandy Marine Park, Elliot Heads is just 20 km south of Mon Repos, which hosts the largest nesting population of the endangered loggerhead turtles in the Southern Hemisphere, underlining the critical nature of maintaining clean and safe surrounding environments. This sandy river mouth is also home to shorebirds travelling along the East Australasian Flyway, a route that stretches from Alaska all the way to New Zealand around the western side of the Pacific. Our collaborative effort yielded 11.2 kg of marine debris, packed into three large bags. The origin of this waste varied; some were locally deposited by beachgoers and due to nearby urbanisation, while other debris had been washed ashore. Unfortunately, marine debris was even found inside empty hatched turtle egg casings, demonstrating just how present this problem is in the lives of turtles already. All items collected were meticulously sorted, weighed, and their data incorporated into the Australian Marine Debris Initiative Database. This feeds into a nationwide dataset that scientists across the country can utilise to gain a better understanding of the plastic pollution problem. By the end of the day, it was evident that the endeavour was about more than just physical cleaning—it was a determined community effort to preserve the natural beauty of an important ecosystem. Remember, each individual action serves as a stepping stone towards a larger, collective goal: the sustainable health and beauty of our marine and terrestrial environments. Reef Check acknowledges the Traditional Country of the Taribelang Bunda, Gooreng Gooreng, Gurang, and Bailai Peoples on the land and sea country where these activities took place. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present, and emerging. ReefClean is funded by the Australian Government's Reef Trust and delivered by the Tangaroa Blue Foundation.    Great Barrier Reef Alma Bay Clean Up The conditions around Magnetic Island have been very windy and swelly over the last couple of months, so as soon as our Townsville team found a break in these conditions, we quickly headed to Alma Bay to conduct our biannual beach and underwater clean up as part of Tangaroa Blue's ReefClean project. Being school holidays, we weren’t surprised to see this beach full of people when we arrived, nor were we surprised to find items such as sunglasses, hats and hair clips during the 40 minute scuba dive, however we did only fall a small amount of eight debris underwater. As for the beach clean up, we had a very different outcome with a total of 566 pieces of marine debris collected along the beach which is les than 200m long. The most common debris as expected was hard plastic remnants, accounting for 397 of the 566 pieces of debris. As microplastic surveys throughout Australia have identified this location to have the highest concentration of microplastic of any surveyed beach in the country, we decided to separate microplastics (those less than 5mm in diameter) from larger pieces. We collected 192 microplastics from within the seaweed along the high tide line! On a positive note, this time around we found much less glass from smashed alcoholic beverage bottles compared to last clean up at this location in May – only 6 pieces of glass this time compared to the 465 we collected last time. This project is supported by Tangaroa Blue through ReefClean; a project funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust. ReefClean is a project to remove and reduce marine debris impacting the Great Barrier Reef. All debris form this event were sorted and the data added to the Australian Marine Debris Initiative Database. We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on where these activities take place, the Wulgurukaba people. We pay our respects to their elders, past, present and emerging and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in our community today. Whitsundays, Hook Island Reef Health Survey Getting out before the winds increased again our team headed out to Hook Island with the aim to conduct our annual Reef Check Australia Reef Health Surveys, along with Eye of the Reef Rapid Surveys and CoralWatch. The Luncheon Bay site was set up in 2013, with Butterfly Bay first surveyed in 2018. Although we had planned on starting at Butterfly Bay, the presence of a very large charter boat and a huge number of snorkellers on our survey site, changed our mind and we headed to the quieter Luncheon Bay. Levels of hard coral cover at Luncheon Bay remained similar to 2022, with an increase in soft coral cover noted and a decrease in rubble. An increase in hard coral was recorded at Butterfly Bay, with a decrease in rubble. Coral bleaching was observed on all transects at Luncheon Bay but only 2 transects at Butterfly Bay, but like the other Whitsunday sites we have surveyed, it was less than 1% of the population.  Coral damage was observed on all transects at Butterfly Bay however this was not surprising as this very pretty area is very popular with snorkellers. Parrotfish and Butterflyfish dominated at both sites. Once again, clams were the only target invertebrate observed at both sites. Thanks to John at Whitsunday Paradise Explorer for getting us to site and Aquadive for supplying the tanks. These surveys were conducted on the traditional lands and sea country of the Ngaro People of the Whitsundays. We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians and their Elders past, present and emerging. This project is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government's Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.   Gift Ideas Support local, give experiences. Here are just a few of our favourite businesses to support. What to give that person who has everything? Why not Adopt a Reef! Visit our Website to make your purchase. or visit our Sea store for other great gift ideas and help support our cause. Your Mates Brewery Purchase your loved ones a gift card or a box of tasty beverages and support this local business that supports Reef Check (you may have heard about the monthly raffles?) Blue Tortuga Adventures Have someone on the Sunshine Coast who likes diving, snorkelling or fishing? Shout them a trip with Blue Tortuga. Gold Coast Dive Adventures How about a trip to the Gold Coast's Wonder reef? Whitsunday Paradise Explorer Maybe shout the family or friends a day out snorkelling or visiting the beautiful beaches and islands of the Whitsundays on your own personalised, professionally skippered small boat. Pranafest 2024 Early bird tickets now available. Shout yourself (why not) and some loved ones tickets to a weekend of wellness and awesome music on the Sunshine Coast.   Current Coral Affairs Check out some of the latest news and research about our ocean Scalloped Hammerheads gather in seas off PerthWhy - find out what researchers have been able to determine. Read now in: Australian Geographic Heatproofing Coral Can heat tolerant algae help save our coral? Read more: Australian Geographic Get with the Program Here's what we've got coming up in the next few weeks, keep checking the website for more updates.  Like most people we are taking a  break for a couple of weeks. Keep an eye on our socials for any activities that may pop up. We will have beach and snorkel clean ups early in the new year and ambassador and surveyor training course dates will be announced.   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.    Make a Donation   Copyright © 2023 Reef Check Australia, All rights reserved.You have received this newsletter because you have given Reef Check Australia your email address. If you would prefer not to receive any further emails, please click the unsubscribe link in your email.Our mailing address is: Reef Check Australia PO Box 782, Mooloolaba, QLD, 4557Australia
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Around the Reef - Reef Check Australia - November 2023

February 16, 2024
Dear Friend We have reached the penultimate month of 2023 and what a busy year it has been.  Our teams have been challenged by windy weather but have persevered and been out doing reef health surveys when conditions allow, whilst other amazing volunteers have been spreading the word about ocean conservation at a range of events. With the silly season fast approaching check out our action of the month on how you can help save our environment. This months email includes: Action of the Month: Support local this Christmas News from the Field Brain Food Current Coral Affairs Get With the Program Support Local this Christmas Photo by Donovan Dean on Unsplash With Christmas just around the corner many people are busy creating gift lists, organising get togethers and preparing menus. Which allows us the perfect opportunity to think about supporting local companies. This way we can minimise our impact and maximise our support for local! Think about where products are coming from, how many miles have they travelled to get to your place, how are they packaged and what they are made from. We urge you to think outside the square, and look at experiences as gifts this year. If you do choose items, next month we take a look at some of the companies that we love to support Following on from our July Action of the Month (Plastic Free July), we urge you to consider purchasing products locally (or at least in Australia), products made from recycled materials, items shipped in compostable or recycled packaging or giving experiences instead. When organising get togethers, don't use single use plates or cutlery. If you don't have a big picnic set, get everyone to bring their own reusable plates, cups and cutlery. This creates less waste, even paper plates and bamboo cutlery have to be disposed somewhere. These small actions add up to big wins for our environment. Don't forget next month we will bring you details of some small local businesses that you can support when ticking off your Xmas shopping list. 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 Gold Coast - Palm Beach Reef Surveys A quick window of good weather in August meant an opportunity to conduct a survey at Palm Beach Reef (site 1), so our mighty team of surveyors from all over Southeast Queensland jumped at the chance to get in the water and check in on the health of these local reefs. Palm Beach reef is an extensive rocky reef made up of numerous ridges and gullies, located 800-1000m off shore. The reef has patchy hard coral cover and hosts a high number of benthic invertebrates such as sponges, ascidians and anemones. It also has a notably high abundance of sea urchins, wobbegongs and nudibranchs. Reef Check Australia has been monitoring Southeast Queensland reefs since 2007, and Palm Beach Reef since 2007 as funds allow, to gain a better understanding of the subtropical reefs in the Gold Coast subregion. The site was host to numerous anemones (339 on this site alone!) along with a large number of urchins (Diadema; a long spined sea urchin, collector urchins and pencil urchins; all target species for Reef Check Australia).  The benthic survey shows an increase in the amount of Nutrient Indicator Algae (from 0.6% in October 2022, to over 10% in August 2023), as well as a decrease in the amount of Soft Coral observed, and an increase in rubble. Wobbegongs and reef rays were found along the transect along with a selection of nudibranchs. Reef Check Acknowledge the people of the Yugambeh language region of the Gold Coast, Traditional Custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. This project has received funding support from The City of Gold Coasts Catchment and Citizen Science Grants Program. Wavebreak Island Reef Health Survey, August 2023 A minimal tide, clear calm waters and sunshine meant all systems go for the Reef Check Australia in water research team as they headed out on the early morning to visit Wavebreak Island as a part of their annual reef health surveys for the Gold Coast region. Reef Check Australia has been monitoring Southeast Queensland reefs since 2007, and Wavebreak Island Reef since 2019, as part of a partnership with City of Gold Coast to monitor the health of reefs in the area. Wavebreak Island is located within the Gold Coast Broadwater (inshore) and is therefore protected from ocean swells. It provides an ideal environment for introductory diving and snorkelling. It's a perfect dive spot for beginners or for someone seeking calmer conditions. The rocky scree environment allows diver's to navigate in both shallow and deep depths, however divers should take care diving here on anything other than a slack tide, as the water can move quickly around the rock wall. The rock formation to the north of the island is an ideal area to explore as it's home to numerous sponges, and a small number of corals. A huge number of fish are found here, resulting in this site being heavily utilised by fishermen, divers and snorkelers alike. Plenty of surgeon fish and a few bream were sighted during the survey. As the site is characterised by rocky rubble on a sandy bottom, there was no coral recorded on the substrate transect however several were noted and photographed within the area. Several large stonefish, a wobbegong and a cleaner shrimp, plus several collector urchins and long spined sea urchins were also recorded at the stie. There was a huge amount of marine debris recorded, including 4 fishing rods, a camp chair, cable ties, glass bottles, tuna cans, drink lids, material, a snorkel and over 60m of fishing line noted, and where possible, removed. Noting how much debris weas recorded here, we will host a clean up specifically for this site in the near future, so stay tuned if you wish to join. Big thanks to Gold Coast Dive Adventures for getting to the site! Reef Check Acknowledge the people of the Yugambeh language region of the Gold Coast, Traditional Custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. This project has received funding support from The City of Gold Coasts Catchment and Citizen Science Grants Program. Sunshine Coast - Currimundi, Reef Health Survey, September 2023 After several reschedules due to weather, the conditions were stunning for one glorious day, so the Reef Check Australia team jumped at the chance to check out our site at Currimundi. Currimundi Reef is situated on a flat exposed rocky outcrop area, off the Currimundi Coast. Reef Check Australia has been monitoring this reef for reef health since 2009. Our 2 sites sit at around 9m and are located on the reef flat dominated by leathery soft corals, encrusting hard coral, bryozoans and other benthic invertebrates. Although starting at the same point as Site 1, Site 2 runs west, whilst Site 1 runs east. Whilst similar the 2 sites offer different amounts of coral cover. Surface conditions and visibility was great, with a bit of surge under the water. The substrate at this site consists of rock with turf algae and scattered hard and soft corals, along with calcareous algae which acts like a cement to hold the reef together. On both sites we encountered a large amount of Asparagopsis algae which is very unusual. Our team recorded 101 counts of this macroalgae during the two point-intercept substrate surveys. Coral bleaching was only recorded on two transects at Site 1 and one transect at Site 2, but at only 1% of the population,  levels were low. Numerous non-target fish were observed, and we recorded 19 butterflyfish and 3 snapper during our fish survey. Despite the popularity of the area for fishing, the only impact recorded was one unknown coral scar. We were also lucky enough to spot several species of nudibranch and the largest sea hare we have ever seen! Thank you to Blue Tortuga Adventures for getting us to site and a big thank you to all of our surveyors! These vital reef health surveys are not possible without our amazing volunteers, so thankyou for all that you do! Reef Check Acknowledge the Kabi Kabi people of the Sunshine Coast, Traditional Custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place, and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. This project is supported by the Sunshine Coast Council’s Environmental Levy Partnerships Grant. Gold Coast Whale Festival Reef Check Australia was thrilled to host a stall the amazing Whale Festival on August the 12th at Burleigh Heads' Justin Park, right by the surf club and overlooking the beach and majestic whales passing by. This day marked an inspiring blend of community passion and environmental action. Collaborating with a line-up of NGOs and organisations such as Sea Shepherd, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Sea World Foundation, Ocean Connect, The Griffith Marine Megafauna Lab, Sharks and Rays Australia, Gold Coast City Council, Ocean Connect and many more we united under the banner of marine conservation. The event embraced diverse initiatives - from a simultaneous beach cleanup to captivating scientific talks by marine megafauna experts. The heart of the event resonated with sharing knowledge and inspiring real change. Talks focused on various marine topics and engaging discussions, which encouraged and empowered Gold Coast locals to integrate conservation practices into their daily lives. Our combined efforts resulted in an unforgettable day- sunny skies, happy hearts, and a cleaner shoreline. The event saw hundreds of enthusiastic participants engaging in beach cleanup activities that removed litter deposited by beachgoers and marine debris washed up! Every piece of trash collected added valuable data to the Australian Marine Debris Initiative, contributing to vital research on marine pollution. We thank Humpbacks and Highrises for orchestrating the fantastic event that seamlessly blended education, inspiration, and fun. With captivating scientific talks, practical conservation tips, and a touch of sun, this event was a perfect recipe for a meaningful weekend. Let's continue to make waves of change and protect our oceans for generations to come. Remember, every little bit counts.  If you see rubbish on the beach; pick it up.  Together, we can and will make an ocean of difference. Reef Check Acknowledge the Kombumerri & Yugambeh people of the Gold Coast, Traditional Custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. This project has received funding support from The City of Gold Coasts Catchment and Citizen Science Grants Program. Sunshine Coast - Plastic Free Sea Festival  On a windy September day dotted with patchy rain and bursts of sunshine, a crowd of committed volunteers gathered across Happy Valley in Caloundra, the old dry river mouth of Pumicestone Passage, and parts of North Bribie Island. This impressive gathering was orchestrated by Visionary Ocean Warriors, in collaboration with multiple organisations including the Envoy Foundation, Sunshine Coast Council, TurtleCare, and Take Action for Pumicestone Passage & EnviroComm. Each group offered educational stalls with informative material on local conservation initiatives. The collective purpose of the event was not just to clean up but also to educate the community on the vital role they play in safeguarding their local marine environment. Despite the challenging weather, the event drew in 73 volunteers who together collected over 60kg of marine debris. All collected waste was meticulously categorised, weighed, and the data uploaded into the Australian Marine Debris Initiative database for future research. The river mouths in the cleanup areas were identified as hotspots for marine debris, owing to their flat terrains that facilitate the transportation of waste by oceanic currents and winds. A significant amount of the rubbish also came from the high numbers of tourists visiting the region, highlighting the pressing need for frequent clean-up efforts in these areas. The event concluded with a unique twist—each volunteer had the opportunity to go 'thrifting' through a donated assortment of clothes, books, and miscellaneous items as a token of appreciation for their hard work. In the end, it wasn't just about cleaning the beaches; it was about fostering a community spirit centred around conservation. Remember, every individual contribution counts in the larger battle against marine pollution. By being conscientious about our habits and involving ourselves in community-driven projects like this, we are not just cleaning up; we're also laying down a foundation for a cleaner, healthier future for our oceans and marine life. Remember, every little bit counts.  If you see rubbish on the beach; pick it up.  Together, we can and will make an ocean of difference. Reef Check Acknowledge the Kabi Kabi people of the Sunshine Coast, Traditional Custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. This project is supported by the Sunshine Coast Councils Environment Levy Partnership Grant. Great Barrier Reef Nelly Bay Underwater Clean Up In late September we finally caught a break from the strong winds and were able to head to Magnetic Island to conduct our biannual underwater marine debris clean-up at Nelly Bay. Being a mid-week event planned last-minute to take advantage of the conditions, we were only able to gather together a small but mighty team of two volunteer divers – one Reef Check surveyor and one ambassador, along with our amazing team leader Aimee. This was our new ambassadors first time diving our local reefs on Magnetic Island, and she was pleasantly surprised to see how clean they were, with not one piece of debris found during their 40 minute scuba dive! Given this location is a fairly popular snorkel site with a snorkel trail leading through the coral reef, and around a dozen snorkellers there at the time of our clean up, it was great to see how pristine this reef is. We would like to say a massive thank you our volunteers Rachelle and Marika for squeezing in this clean up during their busy schedules to help keep our reefs clean! This project is supported by Tangaroa Blue through ReefClean; a project funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust. ReefClean is a project to remove and reduce marine debris impacting the Great Barrier Reef. We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on where these activities take place, the Wulgurukaba people. We pay our respects to their elders, past, present and emerging and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in our community today. Rowes Bay Sustainability Stall On September 17th Reef Check Australia was invited to hold a stall at the Rowes Bay Sustainability Centre Open Day, an event for locals to learn how to be more sustainable and resilient in order to help our environment. This was a great opportunity for new ambassador Nadja to complete her training and attend her first event! Nadja got to put all she learnt about RCA into action while chatting to people of all ages visiting our stall, educating them about who we are, what we do, and small measures people can take to help protect our local reefs. It was great to see a diverse range of locals interested in taking measures to live a more sustainable life! Thank you to Townsville City Council for organising this event. Our attendance at this event was made possible by funding support from Townsville City Council through the Creek to Coral program. We acknowledge the Bindal and Wulgurukaba People, the traditional custodians of the land on which this event took place, and their elders past, present and emerging. Black Island Reef Health Survey After weeks and weeks of strong winds our team was able to get out to Black Island Reef (Whitsundays) in beautiful conditions. Our aim was to conduct our annual Reef Check Australia, Reef Health Surveys, along with Eye of the Reef Rapid Surveys and CoralWatch. This site was set up in 2021 as a site of interest linked to the Boats 4 Coral project and is an area of coral reseeding. Our team of divers and snorkeller completed these activities and are happy to report the corals appeared healthy with minimal damage observed. Although some bleaching was observed it affected less than 1% of the population and was only recorded on 2 of the 4 transects. Butterflyfish were the most sighted fish with clams being the dominant invertebrate. Thanks to Aimee, Terry and Deb for helping out, John at Whitsunday Paradise Explorer for getting us to site and Aquadive for supplying the tanks. These surveys were conducted on the traditional lands and sea country of the Ngaro People of the Whitsundays. We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians and their Elders past, present and emerging. This project is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government's Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. Hayman Island Blue Pearl Bay Reef Survey  Taking advantage of the nice weather our team also headed out to Hayman Island, Blue Pearl Bay in beautiful conditions. Our aim once again was to conduct our annual Reef Check Australia, Reef Health Surveys, along with Eye of the Reef Rapid Surveys and CoralWatch. Site 1 was set up as one of Reef Check Australia’s initial survey sites in 2001. Site 3 was added in 2003. Both sites have been monitored since then as funds allow. Hard coral cover at site 1 has remained reasonably consistent over the last 3 years however has still not recovered to levels observed in 2016, prior to cyclone Debbie. Hard coral cover at site 3 has increased  since 2022, but again has not returned to pre-cyclone levels. Bleaching was observed on all transects at both sites but at less than 1% of the population.  Other coral damage was very low and disease was not recorded. Parrotfish were the most observed target fish at both sites, with butterflyfish and coral trout also observed. Thanks to John at Whitsunday Paradise Explorer for getting us to site and Aquadive for supplying the tanks. These surveys were conducted on the traditional lands and sea country of the Ngaro People of the Whitsundays. We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians and their Elders past, present and emerging. This project is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government's Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.   Brain Food Reviews and details on books, documentaries, and podcasts that we have come across, & wanted to share. The Deep Ocean, Life in the Abyss. Micheal Vecchione, Louise Allcock, Imants Priede & Hans van Haren. Explore the deep ocean and the diversity of organisms that live there. Don't forget if you read any of the books we list to send us a message and let us know what you think! Current Coral Affairs Check out some of the latest news and research about our ocean Organisms without brains CAN thinkResearchers have found that organisms without a brain can learn. Read now in: Australian Geographic A spoonful of sugar makes a better battery Australian researchers have discovers that simply adding a dash of sugar could improve the life of your electric car's battery. Read more: Anthropocene Magazine Get with the Program Here's what we've got coming up in the next few weeks, keep checking the website for more updates.  4 November | Mooloolaba Foreshore Festival. For more info: Hello Sunshine Magazine 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.    Make a Donation   Copyright © 2023 Reef Check Australia, All rights reserved.You have received this newsletter because you have given Reef Check Australia your email address. If you would prefer not to receive any further emails, please click the unsubscribe link in your email.Our mailing address is: Reef Check Australia PO Box 782, Mooloolaba, QLD, 4557Australia
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Around the Reef - Reef Check Australia - October 2023

February 16, 2024
Dear Friend Welcome to our October update. The end of the year is quickly approaching and our teams have been out and about doing surveys and attending events. We rely heavily on our volunteers to make these things happen, so we say a BIG thank you to those who were able to help make all of these things possible.  This months email includes: Action of the Month: Start local for a global impact. News from the Field Brain Food Current Coral Affairs Get With the Program Start Local for a Global Impact Photo by David Clode on Unsplash As the vibrant colours of spring continue to surround us and the warmer weather starts to trickle in, we thought it would be the perfect time to celebrate this months Action of the month; to take action for your local environment. This month, lets celebrate the natural world around us, and choose tangible ways to protect it. With world habitat day and world migratory bird day amongst others sharing October, we thought it the perfect time to look after local, for a global focus. This month we have our Moreton Bay reef restoration activities continuing, and we will be joining a seaweed restoration project on the Sunshine Coast. We are gearing up to help with coral spawning activities in the Great Barrier Reef early next month, and there are so many sea birds gracing our shores on their annual migration, it’s a great opportunity to admire these animals that have arrived on our shores. With so many ways to make a positive impact on our local environment, let's come together as a community to protect the beautiful natural spaces that surround us. Unsure what you can do? Join a community clean up day, join a tree planting activity, join in one of our restoration activities above or below the water, jump onto Inaturalist and start logging what you see in the world around you, or maybe build a frog house in your backyard, or create a haven for other critters like possums or bats. There are plenty of small ideas that have big impacts. Remember, every action counts. This October, let's unite in protecting our local environment and leave a positive impact on the world around us. Together, we can create a greener, cleaner, and more sustainable future for generations to come. 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 Tallebudgera Land Based Clean Up A group of Reef Check Australia volunteers braved the cold winter mornings we’ve had recently (despite it not technically been winter yet!) and cleaned the area around Tallebudgera Creek on the Gold Coast. The area we targeted on this occasion was around Kevin Gates Park on Saturday 27th May including the park land, the rock wall and the beaches surrounding the creek. This area is surrounded by developments, is a common park ground for recreational activities and is also a popular fishing spot, and thus prone to littering. A lot of fishing gear (fishing line, lures, sinkers etc.) was collected along the creek. Sadly, many cigarette butts and bits of soft plastic were also collected making up a large portion of 300 items making up approximately 3kg of debris collected over a 400m2 area. Many items looked like they had been embedded in the surrounding environment for quite a while. Overall, the most common items on the clean-up were fishing line, plastic wrappers and bits of confetti. It was concerning that we found lots of small pieces of plastic as this suggests that they have been breaking down in the environment and are potentially accumulating in the area. They can also pose a very real threat to animals and marine critters that inhabit the area. Remember, every little bit counts. If you see rubbish on the beach, pick it up and dispose of it in the correct bins. Together, we can and will make an ocean of difference! Reef Check Acknowledge the Yugambeh people of the Gold Coast, Traditional Custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. This project has received funding support from The City of Gold Coast's Catchment and Citizen Science Grants Program. Goat Island West Reef Health Survey, May 2023 Another beautiful autumn day meaning another perfect day to hit the water and survey reef health as a part of our long term reef health monitoring program in Moreton Bay. Goat Island is a coral cay in the middle of Moreton Bay, surrounded by internationally recognised Ramsar wetlands and the Moreton Bay Marine Park. It sits just off the coast of the North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah) town of Dunwich (Goompie) and is a tiny, uninhabited island that supports an impressive array of native species, and provides critical habitat and roosting sites for shorebirds. The island’s rocks in the south-west corner are known among boaties as a superb fishing spot, with a multitude of fish species gathering at the rocks to feed as the tide rises. The Goat Island West reef health monitoring site was set up in 2014, in collaboration with Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation and Quandamooka Land & Sea Management Agency. The site sits to the southwest of the island and is impacted by the steady flow of boating traffic moving close the island. It is dominated by rocky substrate and soft coral. The site was last monitored by Reef Check Australia in 2022, shortly after the February floods.  It was a great opportunity to check in on the health of this reef after such widespread impacts in the region last year. A medium amount of silt was recorded covering the site. Bleached coral was recorded on every transect, however population levels were low (1-5%). Coral disease was recorded on a few coral colonies and several items of marine debris were recorded and removed from the location; fishing line and glass bottles in particular. Reef Check acknowledges the Quandamooka people of Minjerribah, the Traditional Custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place, and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. This project has received funding support from the Queensland Government’s Community Sustainability Action grant program. Shark Gulley, Flat Rock, Reef Health survey, June 2023 With the sun out, the water cold and the whales passing by in droves, the Reef Check Australia team soaked up all the glorious sunshine above the water, and all the amazing diversity below the water, at the Nursery at Flat Rock. Flat Rock is a popular recreational diving and boating location offshore from Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) featuring an exposed rocky ledge dropping into deeper water. This Marine National Park (Green no take) zone has a no-fishing zone and is also a Grey Nurse Shark Protection area. This site was established in 2009. The site is made up of rocky ridges and gullies and is characterised by encrusting and branching hard corals and benthic invertebrates. Site 1 lays at 9 meters on the seaward side of the fringing reef, sitting above a common gathering area for Grey Nurse Sharks. The survey team was treated to 16 whales in the vicinity of our dive boat before heading under water to see what we could find. The site sits along a benthically diverse wall. Hard coral percentage was less than when the site was last surveyed, with soft coral taking up a much larger footprint than in previous years. Rock made up the majority of the benthos, with ascidians, sponges and nutrient indicator algae making up the remainder. Minimal impacts were recorded, and a couple of sea urchins, a clam and drupella snails were the only target invertebrates recorded, however a calcareous tube worm was recorded which is a fascinating organism and an absolute highlight of the dive (besides the whales of course). Thanks to all the volunteers and organisers who made this trip a success, and to Manta Lodge for getting us to site. Reef Check acknowledges the Quandamooka people of Minjerribah, the Traditional Custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place, and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. This project has received funding support from the Queensland Government’s Community Sustainability Action grant program. Narrowneck Artificial Reef; Reef Health Survey, August 2023 A minimal tide, clear calm waters and sunshine meant all systems go for the Reef Check Australia in water research team as they headed out on the early morning to visit Narrowneck Artificial Reef as a part of their annual reef health surveys for the Gold Coast region. Reef Check Australia has been monitoring Southeast Queensland reefs since 2007, and Narrowneck Artificial Reef since 2007, as part of a partnership with City of Gold Coast to monitor the health of reefs in the area, and the growth of this artificial reef structure. Narrowneck reef (sometimes called “Gold Coast Reef”) is an artificial reef (made from geotextile) that was constructed in 1999. At 70,000 cubic meters, it holds the title for the largest multi-purpose reef ever constructed. The reef was designed primarily as a shoreline stabilisation structure. Creating better surfing waves was a secondary concern. However, it’s generally accepted that it did improve the quality of surf during its earlier years by improving the shape and frequency of rideable waves. Due to degradation, the reef was refurbished in 2017 and 2018, providing improved shoreline stabilisation and an increase in waves. However anecdotal information suggests the reef is seldom surfed. The site supports a large variety of algae and seaweed with sponges and ascidians. This year, a small amount of soft coral was also spotted; big hoorah! We were lucky enough to also find several wobbegongs, plenty of fish and a small shark as well. A small amount of debris was also found on site. This site is very dependant on calm conditions, so we were very lucky to have gorgeous conditions enabling us to visit this site. Big thanks to Gold Coast Dive Adventures for getting us to the site! Reef Check Acknowledge the people of the Yugambeh language region of the Gold Coast, Traditional Custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place, and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. This project has received funding support from The City of Gold Coasts Catchment and Citizen Science Grants Program. Kings Beach, Reef Health Survey, September 2023 Utilising local surveyors who used quick action to let us know the time was NOW to check out the glorious Kings Beach boat ramp for our annual reef health monitoring site meant the A team activating their inner MacGyver to come up with a plan quickly and effectively. With visiting superstars of Reef Check Australia GBR team Julie and Terry, the team was ready to jump in the spring water and see what we could find! Sunny conditions and clear waters before the storm came rolling in and swell picked up was a glorious start to this survey. Kings Beach is a surprising fringing reef located approximately 100m offshore, adjacent to a frequently utilized boat ramp and near to Caloundra's popular beachfront area. Site 1 is situated at a depth of 3 meters. This site was added to the Reef Check Australia reef health survey list in 2009, to gain a better understanding of reefs off the southern Sunshine Coast. The site was heavily impacted by the 2011 SEQ flood, and again in the 2022 flood. The area has a diverse array of corals and critters found at the site, and despite consistently being impacted by increased flooding, the coral populations are slowly increasing after being almost completely decimated in 2011. The site was again covered in the macro algae Asparagopsis (see previous posts and ongoing research on this algae) which makes surveying that extra bit of fun! Plenty of Halimeda (a reef building algae) and sea stars were found amongst patchy encrusting hard corals, and a few soft corals making their way through the algal carpet. Ascidians (commonly called sea squirts) were found across the entire site in a variety of forms. Non target sea cucumbers, one collector urchin and a couple of long spined sea urchins were also recorded on transect. No target fish were recorded on this site, however only two pieces of rubbish was found here, which is a great sign! If you haven’t checked out Kings Beach you should grab a snorkel and get down there! Reef Check Acknowledge the Kabi Kabi people of the Sunshine Coast, Traditional Custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place, and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. This project is supported by the Sunshine Coast Council’s Environmental Levy Partnerships Grant. Great Barrier Reef Nelly Bay Land Clean Up In September Reef Check Australia was joined by Our World Heritage Island and Co-Exist Australia for our biannual clean up as part of Tangaroa Blue's ReefClean project. Unfortunately, due to unfavourable conditions the in-water part of the clean-up was postponed, however we were still able to conduct the beachcombing component on September 16th as planned. This beach combing event was a great way for locals to become involved in protecting their beautiful island. We were joined by 37 participants, including local families, Townsville residents and tourists to clean up what first appears to be a reasonably clean beach. We were all surprised by the number of debris collected, which totalled 1612 debris weighing 14.5kg! The most common items collected were hard plastic pieces (630), soft plastic remnants (140) and cigarette butts (134). The team was very disappointed to see such a large number of cigarette butts, however we are happy we managed to collect so many so they are no longer posing a threat to local marine life. We would like to say a massive thank you to all who took part in this event, it was great to see people of all ages becoming involved and excited to do their part to keep our oceans and beaches clean! Thank you to Our World Heritage Island and Co-Exist Australia for collaborating with us on this event, we hope to work with you again soon! Check out these two organisations on social media to learn more about what they each do to help protect our beautiful earth. This project is supported by Tangaroa Blue through ReefClean; a project funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust. Reef Clean is a project to remove and reduce marine debris impacting the Great Barrier Reef. All debris form this event were sorted and the data added to the Australian Marine Debris Initiative Database. We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on where these activities take place, the Wulgurukaba people. We pay our respects to their elders, past, present and emerging and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in our community today. Alma Bay Underwater Clean Up The conditions around Magnetic Island have been very windy and swelly over the last couple of months, so as soon as our Townsville team found a break in these conditions, we quickly headed to Alma Bay to conduct our biannual beach and underwater clean up as part of Tangaroa Blue's ReefClean project. Being school holidays, we weren’t surprised to see this beach full of people when we arrived, nor were we surprised to find items such as sunglasses, hats and hair clips during the 40 minute scuba dive, however we did only fall a small amount of eight debris underwater.   As for the beach clean up, we had a very different outcome with a total of 566 pieces of marine debris collected along the beach which is les than 200m long. The most common debris as expected was hard plastic remnants, accounting for 397 of the 566 pieces of debris. As microplastic surveys throughout Australia have identified this location to have the highest concentration of microplastic of any surveyed beach in the country, we decided to separate microplastics (those less than 5mm in diameter) from larger pieces. We collected 192 microplastics from within the seaweed along the high tide line! On a positive note, this time around we found much less glass from smashed alcoholic beverage bottles compared to last clean up at this location in May – only 6 pieces of glass this time compared to the 465 we collected last time.   This project is supported by Tangaroa Blue through ReefClean; a project funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust. ReefClean is a project to remove and reduce marine debris impacting the Great Barrier Reef. All debris form this event were sorted and the data added to the Australian Marine Debris Initiative Database. We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on where these activities take place, the Wulgurukaba people. We pay our respects to their elders, past, present and emerging and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in our community today.   Brain Food Reviews and details on books, documentaries, and podcasts that we have come across, & wanted to share. Earthshot, How to save our planet. Colin Butfield and Jonnie Hughes. A book of optimism and action to save our planet. Current Coral Affairs Check out some of the latest news and research about our ocean Jurassic era fish fossil found to have died from eating an overly large ammoniteA pair of paleontologists at Universität Hohenheim's Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart has found a fossilized Jurassic-era fish that appears to have died after swallowing an overly large ammonite. Samuel Cooper and Erin Maxwell report their study of the fossil in the journal Geological Magazine. Read now in: phys.org   Scientists uncover the secret of the deep-sea ‘octopus garden’After three years of monitoring the area, researchers found the site is a popular mating and nesting ground for pearl octopuses, where hot springs help embryos develop twice as fast than expected at this depth. Read now: CNN Get with the Program Here's what we've got coming up in the next few weeks, keep checking the website for more updates.  3 October | Coast to Corals: Rubble Stabilisation and Dynamics. Head to Reef Check Australia to register. 21 October | Seaweed Restoration Festival - Alexandra Headlands. Head to USC for more information on how to become involved. 29 October | UQ Moreton Bay Research Station Open Day. Keep an eye on our socials for more information. 4 November | Mooloolaba Foreshore Festival. For more info: Hello Sunshine Magazine 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.    Make a Donation   Copyright © 2023 Reef Check Australia, All rights reserved.You have received this newsletter because you have given Reef Check Australia your email address. If you would prefer not to receive any further emails, please click the unsubscribe link in your email.Our mailing address is: Reef Check Australia PO Box 782, Mooloolaba, QLD, 4557Australia
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Around the Reef - Reef Check Australia - September 2023

February 16, 2024
Dear Friend Welcome to our September update. Winter is over and spring is upon us. For many areas winter was warmer than normal with reports of flowers blooming early even in Tasmania. Scientists are hoping this is not a sign of things to come as whilst early flowers might seem nice, scientists are concerned that pollinators do not respond to the same temperature cues and we could end up with an ecological imbalance. This is another indication of our changing climate and reinforces the importance of everyone doing their bit, no matter how small, to help our environment.  This months email includes: Action of the Month: Spring into spring! News from the Field Brain Food Current Coral Affairs Get With the Program Spring into Spring! Image by Sean Oulashin - unsplash HOW IS IT SEPTEMBER? I don’t know about you, but every time I look at the calendar, another day week month has passed.. and now it's already September!!!  This year has proven to be one of our busiest. We are all so busy at the moment, trying to fit all the activities we perhaps missed out on over the past few years into one very action packed 2023! During winter, we found comfort in rest and recuperation, but now it's time to channel that energy into action. Let's take a moment to assess where we stand in our personal goals and aspirations for 2023. Are we on track to achieve what we set out to do? Spring is the perfect time to reassess, re-evaluate, and realign our paths as we SPRING into SPRING! So set some time for yourself to reflect and review. And if you need some guiding prompts to kick start you, here are a couple; What have I done well? What would I do differently if I had the time again? Am I spending and investing in places which are aligned with my values? What is the part of each day I am most tired/stressed/frustrated and how can I do it differently? What is the one thing I can change NOW to improve my experience of 2023? Remember, without looking back we have no idea how far we have come! Let’s Spring into Spring with a renewed sense of purpose, embracing the chance to make a difference and create lasting memories. Don't hesitate to reach out and join us in our upcoming adventures— above or below the water. It's time to bloom with the promise of a brighter future for ourselves and the world around us! 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 Tallebudgera Underwater Clean Up A group of keen Reef Check Australia snorkellers and divers braved the chilly (almost) winter morning on the 27th May to clean up Tallebudgera creek on the Gold Coast. The creek area is a popular swimming and fishing spot and can therefore be impacted by littering and industrial waste. During previous activities, this area has been identified as a hot spot, hence our continued efforts to remove debris located in the area as well as the continued monitoring of changes in the levels of debris removed. It was encouraging to report that fewer items were found under the water than we have previously recorded on both land and underwater clean-ups at this location. The debris consisted of large numbers of fishing line, lures and hooks. These items can pose a significant entanglement risk to others swimmers, snorkellers and divers. They can also be damaging to marine creatures that get entangled and entrapped in fishing line, which is why it is so important to remove as much debris as we can safely. This activity forms part of a wider program to look at the ongoing impacts of the floods in early 2022, in addition to documenting the rate of attrition of marine debris in the region. Everyone can make a difference to the health of their local marine resources. If you see debris, please pick it up and dispose of it correctly. Together, we can and will make an ocean of difference! Reef Check Acknowledge the Yugambeh people of the Gold Coast, Traditional Custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. This project has received funding support from the Queensland Government’s Community Sustainability Action grant program. Myora Reef Health Survey The sun was shining, and the water was clear (if a bit chilly!) so the team took the opportunity to check out the gorgeous Moreton Bay site; Myora reef. Myora Reef is a unique reef habitat in Moreton Bay, as it is the only location dominated by Acropora corals (a branching hard coral). Myora Reef is situated on a fringing reef on the west side of North Stradbroke Island, within the Marine National Park (Green no take) zone. The reef patch is situated next to Rainbow channel and therefore receives extensive tidal flushing. The site is one of our long-term monitoring sites, established in 2014 in collaboration with the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation and Quandamooka Land & Sea Management Agency. The site hosts notable hard coral communities, with the hard coral growth forms dominated by branching, plate and foliose. Some bleaching and coral disease was observed but at less than 1% of the population, levels were low. The site had a medium silt level recorded, and turf algae covering available rock surfaces. Butterflyfish and snapper were recorded onsite, along with long spined sea urchins, and non target sea cucumbers; sea cucumbers are not commonly recorded on any of our reef health monitoring sites.Thanks to all the volunteers and organisers who made this trip a success, and to Go Dive for getting us to site. Reef Check acknowledges the Quandamooka people of Minjerribah, the Traditional Custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place, and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. This project has received funding support from the Queensland Government’s Community Sustainability Action grant program.    Underwater Clean Up Dive Peel Island Crystal clear waters, calm seas and sunshine made the perfect day for the Reef Check Australia team to hit the water for an underwater clean up at Peel Island for World Oceans Day, June 8 2023. Peel Island is a small, heritage-listed island and national park located in Moreton Bay, just 4km from the mainland at Cleveland. The island is known for its natural beauty and wildlife enjoyed by locals and visitors alike and is accessed only by boat or watercraft.  The island has an interesting history. To read all about it, check out some of our previous posts. The island is a popular fishing and swimming area, with tens of boats often anchored in Horseshoe Bay due to the area offering protection from many winds, and a safe spot to swim.  This site was selected as it has been previously identified as a hot spot. Sitting close to Platypus wreck, and close to a beach entry point, this area is commonly used. Due to the large number of people visiting the area, it is often littered with fishing debris as well as additional recreational items. This activity forms part of a wider program to look at the ongoing impacts of the floods in early 2022, in addition to documenting the rate of attrition of marine debris in the area due to boating and fishing. Approximately 12 kilograms of debris was removed from a 800m2 area, including 10 glass bottles, approximately 30meters of fishing line, lures and sinkers, rope, and a discarded crab pot.  Where debris was able to be safely removed, it was. Any large items with coral growth established was left in situ. With large amounts of the reef suffering significant impacts due to the floods and storms of 2022, we want to ensure live coral remains that way. Reef Check Acknowledge the Quandamooka people, Traditional Custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. This project has received funding support from the Queensland Government’s Community Sustainability Action grant program. Moreton Bay - Flat Rock - The Nursery Reef Health Survey With the sun out, the water cold and the whales passing by in droves, the Reef Check Australia team soaked up all the glorious sunshine above the water, and all the amazing diversity below the water, at the Nursery at Flat Rock. Flat Rock is a popular recreational diving and boating location offshore from Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) featuring an exposed rocky ledge dropping into deeper water. This Marine National Park (Green no take) zone has a no-fishing zone and is also a Grey Nurse Shark Protection area. The Nursery, Site 1 is on the sheltered leeward side of Flat Rock, where a flat rocky slope meets rocky boulders. This site was established in 2008, and sits at a depth of six- eight meters on the leeward side of the fringing reef. This site is a haven for turtles and wobbegongs, with plenty of each being found on the transect, as we listened to the whales as they passed us close enough to hear them but not see them. Hard coral cover has stayed steady at approximately 23%, with a slight increase in the percentage of soft coral since 2021. Additional benthic categories making up the rest of the transect included anemones, sponges and nutrient indicator algae; all increased in presence since 2021. Pencil urchins, long spined sea urchins, anemones, giant clams and drupella snails were all recorded on the transect. Coral disease, unknown scars and bleaching were recorded, although in low numbers. A beautiful site to revisit! Thanks to all the volunteers and organisers who made this trip a success, and to Manta Lodge for getting us to site. Reef Check acknowledges the Quandamooka people of Minjerribah, the Traditional Custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place, and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. This project has received funding support from the Queensland Government’s Community Sustainability Action grant program. Industry Placement Information Night Reef Check Australia General Manager Jodi Salmond joined almost 40 students and speakers recently at the University of Queenslands HDR Industry Placement Information Night! Such a great turn-out with students joining in the event to learn more about options for industry placements in the marine sector. Such a great opportunity for students to meet people working in the sector, make connections, and ask questions! Thankyou to UQ Centre for Marine Science for organising the event, for fellow industry representatives from CSIRO, frc environmental, Healthy Land & Water, Reef Check Australia and Sea World - Gold Coast, Australia, as well as to Nathaly from the UQ Graduate School who helped students understand the placement program in more detail. Lots of great connections were forged, and we look forward to hearing from HDR students undertaking industry placements in the future. Reef Check Acknowledge the Turrbal/Jagera people, Traditional Custodians of the land on which the University of Queensland is situated, and on which these activities took place and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. Reef Check Australia’s involvement in reef health monitoring and community engagement in the Brisbane region has  received funding support from the Port of Brisbane.   Great Barrier Reef Alma Bay Land and Underwater Clean Up Late May we were joined by Co-Exist Australia for our biannual beach and underwater clean up at Alma Bay, on Magnetic Island. Our combined team of 19 volunteers put in an amazing effort and collected a whopping 908 pieces of debris along this popular beach, making a huge impact in helping keep our local areas clean! Over half of what was collected on the beach (465) was pieces of broken glass, primarily found among the rocky areas at each side of the bay. We also collected 239 hard plastic remnants, which wasn’t surprising as this location has been found to have the highest concentration of microplastics of all surveyed beached within Australia! Thankfully within the water there was much less, with our team of divers and snorkellers collecting 13 pieces from within the water around the reefs. Once again glass was the most commonly found. This project is supported by Tangaroa Blue through ReefClean; a project funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust. ReefClean is a project to remove and reduce marine debris impacting the Great Barrier Reef We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on where these activities take place, the Wulgurukaba people. We pay our respects to their elders, past, present and emerging and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in our community today.    Dry Tropics Report Card Launch Townsville Our team joined the large number of partners responsible for the data behind the Townsville Dry Tropics Waterways Report Card 2023 for the public launch in Townsville this month. Organised by the Dry Tropics Partnership for Healthy Waters, the afternoon was well attended by the passing public including young prep students, university students, families and holiday makers. We were able to showcase the work Reef Check Australia does and how the data we collect contributes to documents such as the Report Card. Our little reef survey display was once again a hit with the kids, raising questions from the enquiring minds and encouraging them (and their parents) to think about how their actions can make a real difference to protecting our reefs and oceans. As partners, we were delighted to attend a private evening function, which included networking opportunities and trivia. We were very happy to note that some of the prizes to be won were bottles of wine from Goodwill Wines, with 50% of the profits going to Reef Check Australia. Although our table tried our hardest, we did not win any trivia prizes, but it was still a win for Reef Check Australia. Thank You Dry Tropics Partnership for Healthy Waters! We also acknowledge the Bindal and Wulgurukaba People, the traditional custodians of the land on which this event took place, and their elders past, present and emerging. Our attendance at this event was made possible by support from Townsville City Council Creek to Coral program.   Brain Food Reviews and details on books, documentaries, and podcasts that we have come across, & wanted to share. Inside your mind. Podcast by Stephen Fry. Available on audible.   Current Coral Affairs Check out some of the latest news and research about our ocean Jellyfish roaming the sea for at least 500 million years The extinct Burgessomedusa phasmiformis evolved to swim hundreds of millions of years before dinosaurs existed. Read in: Popular Science Miracle substance growing off Australian Cost A miracle substance being grown off the coast of Australia could be the solution to a growing problem the country is facing. Read in: news.com.au Close to home - Record Breaking haul of illegal crab pots. Marine park rangers and fisheries officers have retrieved 195 derelict or illegal crab pots from Pumicestone Passage. Read now: abc.net.au Get with the Program Here's what we've got coming up in the next few weeks, keep checking the website for more updates.  5 September | Coast to Corals - Restoration opportunities in a UNESCO biosphere with Maddison Brown. Register now: Reef Check Calendar 23 September | Plastic Free Sea Festival. Happy Valley Caloundra. Free event.  24 September | Raffles at Your Mates Brewery, Warana. All profits from sale of raffle tickets go to Reef Check Australia. 29 Sept - 1 Oct | Caloundra Music Festival - tickets available now: https://caloundramusicfestival.com/ 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.    Make a Donation   Copyright © 2023 Reef Check Australia, All rights reserved.You have received this newsletter because you have given Reef Check Australia your email address. If you would prefer not to receive any further emails, please click the unsubscribe link in your email.Our mailing address is: Reef Check Australia PO Box 782, Mooloolaba, QLD, 4557Australia
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Around the Reef - Reef Check Australia - August 2023

August 02, 2023
Dear {{recipient.first_name_or_friend}}  Welcome to our August update. Our teams have once again been busy, but we still have some past events to share with you. We would like to say a BIG welcome to our new subscribers from our most recent events and our Ambassador trainees who commenced their training last week. Hopefully you will get to meet some of these people at our upcoming events. This months email includes: Action of the Month: Create a new habit! News from the Field Brain Food Current Coral Affairs Get With the Program Create a new habit! Creating a new habit or ditching an old one is hard.  Whether it's exercising more, eating healthier, or practicing self-care, creating a new habit can be challenging. But with the right approach and mindset, it's possible to develop new habits that stick. Well. The time is now, and we are here to help. So this months Action of the Month is to create a new habit (and lets make it a good one!) There are 4 laws to creating habits - Make them obvious, attractive, easy and satisfying. Start small. Instead of trying to make a big change all at once, focus on taking small, consistent steps. Want to read more books? Leave the book where you have to physically pick it up. Set a goal of just opening the book, make it a book you want to read, and maybe read it in your comfy chair, in the sun, or at the beach, so all 4 laws are met. Remember to make it enjoyable. Find ways to make your new habit fun or rewarding. If you enjoy your new habit, you'll be more likely to stick to it. Accountability is also important when it comes to building a new habit. Having someone to support you and hold you accountable can make a big difference in sticking to your new habit. Another really important tool for creating great habits is to track them!  There are plenty of habit trackers out there; paper and app versions. Tracking helps make your habits obvious, increases self-esteem around ability to change/grow and can also increase motivation by gamifying it. Remember to be patient with yourself. Building a new habit takes time and effort, and setbacks are a natural part of the process. Don't beat yourself up if you slip up or miss a day, simply recommit to your habit and keep moving forward. With dedication and perseverance, you can develop new habits that bring positive changes to your life. So, What habit will you focus on building this August? 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 Peel Island Underwater Clean Up With blue skies and clear water, the Reef Check Australia team was out again, on and under the water cleaning up our local Moreton Bay marine environments, this time at Peel Island North. Peel Island is a small, heritage-listed island and national park located in Moreton Bay, just 4km from the mainland at Cleveland. The island is known for its natural beauty and wildlife enjoyed by locals and visitors alike and is accessed only by boat or watercraft.  The island has an interesting history. To read all about it, check out some of our previous posts. The island is a popular fishing area. Unlike Horseshoe Bay, the north of the Island is not as protected from the elements, meaning less tourist boats. There is however heavy use by recreational fishermen. For this reason, this site was selected as it has been previously identified as a hot spot for marine debris. Surprisingly, much less debris was recorded at this location. Approximately 2 kilograms of debris was removed from a 400m2 area, including 3 glass bottles, approximately 20 meters of fishing line, and some pieces of broken glass. This activity forms part of a wider program to look at the ongoing impacts of the floods in early 2022, in addition to documenting the rate of attrition of marine debris in the area due to boating and fishing. Reef Check Acknowledge the Quandamooka people, Traditional Custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. This project has received funding support from the Queensland Government’s Community Sustainability Action grant program. Burleigh Heads Beach Clean Up The last day of school holidays and the weather was perfect, so the Reef Check Australia team took the opportunity to clean up the popular Burleigh Heads as a part of an ongoing effort to document debris loads along the length of the Queensland coastline. Burleigh is popular with tourists and locals alike, as evidenced by the huge amount of people enjoying the sun surf and sand bright an early on a Sunday morning. Unfortunately, many also choose to leave their waste behind. Over 1000 pieces of debris was removed in a couple of hours. 473 of these items were plastic, single use balloons. Polystyrene chunks were also found, as well as a variety of both paper and plastic straws and cutlery, 147 cigarette butts, plastics, clothing, and even some toothpaste, sunscreen and a pool noodle. This activity forms part of a wider program to look at the ongoing impacts of the floods in early 2022, in addition to documenting the rate of attrition of debris in the area due to land based activities. Approximately 8.9 kilograms of debris was removed from a 500m stretch of beach, covering 8000 square meters. Despite the number of accessible bins in the area, the sand dunes, trees and shrubs were filled with a variety of debris items. It doesn’t take much to make a difference. If you see debris, pick it up. Every bit counts. Together we can stop this rubbish from entering our oceans and waterways. Reef Check Acknowledge the Yugambeh people of the Gold Coast, Traditional Custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. This project has received funding support from the Queensland Government’s Community Sustainability Action grant program. Gold Coast Seaway - Reef Health Surveys Braving the crowds that can always be found utilising this popular Gold Coast area, our team of trained volunteer divers headed to the Gold Coast Seaway to undertake our annual survey at the South-west Wall. This site was established in 2007 after initially conducting a clean-up dive and discovering the diversity of organisms and substrates at this site, and the potential for change over time. This site is located within the broadwater and is a very popular spot for fishing, boating, diving, snorkelling and swimming, with a sandy beach and sets of steps making access to the water easy. Visibility was excellent with the substrate dominated by rock with turf algae reaching a sandy base. Despite the unassuming appearance of the substrate, the site hosts a variety of marine organisms including tunicates, hydroids and nudibranchs. Our team recorded a number of target organisms including butterflyfish, moray eels and snapper, several collector urchins, lobsters, banded coral shrimp and anemones. Thank you to Aqua Adventures for hiring us tanks, and to all our amazing volunteers who gave up their public holiday to help out. It is much appreciated as always. Reef Check Acknowledge the people of the Yugambeh language region of the Gold Coast, Traditional Custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. This project has received funding support from The City of Gold Coasts Catchment and Citizen Science Grants Program. Mudjimba Island - The Ledge survey The sun was out and the water was looking crystal clear, so with a full team and plenty to do, our Reef Check Australia volunteers headed out to one of their favourite locations in the whole of South East Queensland; Mudjimba Island. Site 1 at Mudjimba Ledge was set up as a long term monitoring site in 2007, and sits at just 4-5m of water, along the top of the reef. The site is dominated by encrusting hard coral, soft coral, anemones, plenty of corallimorphs and zooanthids and benthic invertebrates. The visibility was fantastic, with the team able to identify corals from the surface, at over 10m deep. The site was teeming with fish (as usual) and turtles resting and making their way along our transect. Moray eels, nudibranchs and sea stars were spotted between lobsters and wobbegongs. This site is truly one of the most species dense areas along the length of South East Queensland. Soft corals, encrusting hard corals and a variety of sponges, ascidians and algaes made up the substrate, along with rock with turf algae and calcareous algae which acts like a cement to hold the reef together. Drupella snails (a coral eating snail) were found on every transect, often in small patches of high number. Coral disease was recorded. Bleaching was also observed on all transects, with up to 10% of the population being bleached. Butterflyfish, snapper, turtles and wobbegongs were all recorded on transect. The water temperature had dropped a couple of degrees in just over a day, illustrating that cold weather is starting to come in. Time to make sure you get some clear water diving in whilst you can! Thank you to Blue Tortuga Adventures for getting us to site. These vital reef health surveys are not possible without our amazing volunteers, so thankyou for all that you do! Reef Check Acknowledge the Kabi Kabi people of the Sunshine Coast, Traditional Custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place, and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. This project is supported by the Sunshine Coast Council’s Environmental Levy Partnerships Grant. Nurture Festival - Lake Kawana What a beautiful excuse to get out and about, enjoy the sunshine and meet so many new people! The Reef Check Australia team set up a gorgeous, captivating stall at the Nurture Festival at Lake Kawana in May this year. This annual family friendly event provides a safe space for young people and their families to have important conversations about mental health and wellbeing. As visitors meandered through the festival grounds, enjoying the live music and inspirational speakers they were drawn to our vibrant stall and the passionate volunteers of Reef Check Australia. The stall was adorned with informative posters, a green screen and knowledgeable volunteers who enthusiastically shared insights on the current state of Australia's reefs, the threats they face, and the collaborative efforts underway to protect these delicate ecosystems. The green screen provided the opportunity for some fun, with one background image proving the most popular. Attendees left the stall inspired and empowered, armed with a deeper understanding of the urgent need to safeguard Australia's reefs for future generations. The Reef Check Australia stall was a focal point of the Nurture Festival, showcasing the organisation's commitment to preserving and nurturing the mesmerizing underwater worlds that grace the Australian coastline. Reef Check Acknowledge the Kabi Kabi people, Traditional Custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place, and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. Our attendance at this festival is made possible by funding support from the Sunshine Coast Council’s Environment Levy Partnership Grant. Great Barrier Reef Fitzroy Island Land and Underwater Clean Up The strong wind warnings cancelled one of our trips to Fitzroy earlier in the month, so as soon as the weather turned favourable, a tiny but mighty team of three headed to site in mid-May as part of our collaboration with Tangaroa Blue's ReefClean project. Great Barrier Reef team leaders Jenni and Aimee were joined by reef health surveyor in training; Bec, for an underwater clean-up, as well as a beach clean-up on the beautiful Fitzroy Island, off Cairns. The team started off the day with a morning walk across Welcome Bay collecting rubbish from the beach and talking with visitors about marine debris, data collection and the Australian Marine Debris Initiative. After collating and recording their findings, the dive team jumped in the water with scuba cylinders supplied by our friends at Reef Restoration Foundation and Fitzroy Island resort and conducted an underwater clean-up focusing on the areas under the public boat moorings. Glass bottles, aluminium cans, fishing line and a pair of underwear were found around this well utilised area. The location was chosen due to its high use, and identification as a marine debris hot spot during previous visits to the island. The ReefClean project is funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and delivered by Tangaroa Blue Foundation and a number of partner organisations including Reef Check Australia Reef Check Australia acknowledge the Gimuy Walubara Yidinji people of Fitzroy Island (also known as Koba or Gabar) as the Traditional Owners of the land and sea country where these activities took place and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. Nelly Bay Underwater and Land Clean up Co-Exist Australia joined forces with Reef Check Australia to undertake a marine debris event at Nelly Bay, Magnetic Island in late May. A team of 20 volunteers partook in collecting marine debris along the 1500m stretch of beach, as well as in water with both divers and snorkellers cleaning up the local reefs. During our event we came across some locals who walk this beach daily, and are regularly picking up debris. Despite this amazing commitment from locals , we still collected a total of 406 items, and not surprisingly half of this was hard plastic pieces (214 pieces). Other items collected included plastic cups from the nearby accommodation, cigarette butts (26), a lighter and a vape, and 11 clothing items. Underwater, our divers and snorkellers collected 25 items, consisting of remnants of soft plastics, hard plastics, glass, aluminium cans and paper. In addition to this, we also collected an additional 420 pieces of hard plastic from the degrading tactile strips at the bus stop adjacent to the beach which were breaking apart and spreading plastic into the surrounding scrubland. This project is supported by Tangaroa Blue through ReefClean; a project funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust. ReefClean is a project to remove and reduce marine debris impacting the Great Barrier Reef We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on where these activities take place, the Wulgurukaba people. We pay our respects to their elders, past, present and emerging and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in our community today. Our Townsville event A small team held a stall at the Our Townsville event in early June, an annual event with a huge range of local exhibitors. Being such a diverse community event, we had people from all ages and backgrounds (environmental or not) visiting our stall. The majority of people we spoke to at our stall had never heard of Reef Check Australia, so it was a great opportunity to inform locals who we are and the work we do in the area to protect our local reefs. Many expressed their interest in becoming involved with Reef Check, with people signing up for our eNewsletter and to express their interest in becoming an ambassador, surveyor, or to participate in local clean ups. We hope to see some of these new faces at our next event! We also acknowledge the Bindal and Wulgurukaba People, the traditional custodians of the land on which this event took place, and their elders past, present and emerging. Thankyou to Townsville City Council for organising this event. Our attendance at this event was made possible by funding support from Townsville City Council through the Creek to Coral program.     Brain Food Reviews and details on books, documentaries, and podcasts that we have come across, & wanted to share. If I had an Octopus by Gabby Dawnay. A great bedtime story for the little ones. Many Things Under a Rock - The Mysteries of Octopuses by David Scheel. Written by a marine biologist with a lifelong preoccupation with octopuses. Only out this month and looks amazing, let us know if you read this one and give us a review. Current Coral Affairs Check out some of the latest news and research about our ocean Studying Marine Life with Seaweed-Based Soft Robots Biodegradable, edible, bendible soft robots? Yes it is a thing! Read in: Innovation Hub Fossil records hold clues about modern-day marine ecology Read in: Popular Science Marine Sponges don't like it too hot either! Sponges are turning white and dying when the water gets too hot, but why? Read now: AIMS information centre Get with the Program Here's what we've got coming up in the next few weeks, keep checking the website for more updates.  8 August | Coast to Corals - Movement and Diet of Tiger Sharks with PJ Ikpe. Register now: Reef Check Calendar 12 August | Whale Festival, Justin Park, Burleigh Heads. Free event. Visit their website for more details. 29 Sept - 1 Oct | Caloundra Music Festival - tickets available now: https://caloundramusicfestival.com/ 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.    Make a Donation   Copyright © 2023 Reef Check Australia, All rights reserved.You have received this newsletter because you have given Reef Check Australia your email address. If you would prefer not to receive any further emails, please click the unsubscribe link in your email.Our mailing address is: Reef Check Australia PO Box 782, Mooloolaba, QLD, 4557Australia
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Around the Reef - Reef Check Australia - July 2023

July 11, 2023
Dear {{recipient.first_name_or_friend}}  Can you believe it is already half way through winter and 2023? Our SEQ teams have been busy doing clean-ups (both above and below the water) and undertaking reef health surveys, whilst our GBR teams have been busy hosting stalls whilst we wait for our next round of surveys to begin. We would also like to say a BIG welcome to our new subscribers and stay tuned for our next Reef Ambassador and Reef Health Surveyor Training Courses. We hope to finalise dates for these shortly. This months email includes: Action of the Month: Plastic Free July News from the Field Brain Food Current Coral Affairs Get With the Program Plastic Free July. Lets chat about Plastic Free July! If you haven't heard of this campaign before, it's a movement that started in Australia in 2011 and has grown into a global initiative to raise awareness about plastic pollution and encourage people to reduce their plastic usage. The idea behind Plastic Free July is to challenge individuals to make small changes in their daily habits to reduce their plastic consumption. For example, instead of using single-use plastic items like straws, plastic bags, and water bottles, participants are encouraged to use reusable alternatives. Reducing plastic consumption can be super overwhelming at first, but its all about starting small. Start using a reusable water bottle. Say no to single use coffee cups and either sit down, or BYO keep cup. Carry a reusable shopping bag, and choose naked products. These choices are not hard. they are all there for us to make. It's about making conscious choices that moves away from plastic convenience, and actively choosing to steer clear of single use plastic. So our Action of the Month for July is this; Try Plastic Free July for yourself. Start with 1 day and see how you go. Nailed it? Go for another. Each of these actions is a ripple, and together, ripples create waves. And remember to share your wins and fails. Lets share our experience, and hot tips. The impact of Plastic Free July may seem small at first, but it can have a significant impact when we all participate. By making conscious choices to reduce our plastic consumption, we can help protect our environment and preserve our planet for future generations. Ready to check it out? Head to https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/ to sign up, to find out more and to be inspired! And if you need a reusable cup, bag or beeswax wrap.. head on over to the Reef Check Australia page and get ready for the month in style! http://www.reefcheckaustralia.org/seastore 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 Caloundra Outrigger Club Underwater Clean Up During summer the Reef Check Australia team took the opportunity to clean up one of our in water clean up locations in Caloundra; the Outrigger. This site has been previously identified as a marine debris hotspot due to its location along the river and the small rocky groin or pier capturing much debris as the tides moved back and forth. The site is also a popular fishing location, resulting in fishing debris often being found throughout the site. This site sits south of our Bulcock Beach clean up location, also inside the Caloundra bar. The area has changed significantly over the last few months, due to the breakthrough occurring on Bribie Island.  We knew it would be an interesting spot to go back to visit after all these changes, so the team was excited to go and check it out. The site has changed substantially since we last visited. Due to the ongoing rain and wind, we have had of late, the visibility was less than previously seen at the site, with the area covered in a layer of silt, making it important to keep an eye on the estuary floor in case of stonefish and the like.  Several fish, prawns and even an eel was spotted amongst the fishing tackle and lures underwater.  A broken and discarded crab pot was removed (it had no identifying markers, no name and no number as required) and several cans, bottles and shards of glass were found from below the water. Above the water we had four more people join in, showing that beach clean ups can be a great family-based activity if done safely. Cigarette butts, bottle caps, fishing debris and light weight plastic made up the majority of our findings. A total of 8kg from below the water and an additional 2kg of lightweight items (totalling more than 450 individual items) were removed from this well utilised area in just over an hour of cleaning up. Remember, every little bit counts.  If you see rubbish on the beach; pick it up.  Together, we can and will make an ocean of difference. Reef Check Acknowledge the Kabi Kabi people of the Sunshine Coast, Traditional Custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. This project has received funding support from the Queensland Government’s Community Sustainability Action grant program. Green Island -  Summer Reef Health Survey Moreton Bay put on a mighty fine show this April, with gorgeous sunny days, calm waters and beautiful clarity! With temperatures dropping above and below the surface, the Reef Check Australia team headed out to conduct a summer reef health survey at Green Island West to document any changes to the reef in the area since last we visited. Reef Check Australia has been monitoring Southeast Queensland reefs since 2007, and Green Island (Danggar) Island since 2017, as part of a partnership with Port of Brisbane to monitor the effects of activities in the Bay. These locations are monitored twice a year (summer and winter) to detect any seasonal changes. Green Island; a low flat wooded coral cay 2km in length and 1km wide is located 5km from Wynnum Esplanade, and has quite the fascinating history. For a detailed history, see our previous posts on the island, or check out this link for some fascinating info: https://thecommunityleader.com.au/community-news/local-history/green-islands-fascinating-history/ Reef Check Australia has two long term monitoring sites around the island.  This site; West is towards the West of the island (fancy that!) and has coral bommies interspersed throughout the area. The site was beautifully clear for this time of year, with up to 6m of visibility. There was a high layer of silt covering much of the substrate. A nutrient Indicator Algae called Lobophora was found covering large portions of the area, with several bleached hard corals recorded; similar to Green Island North. A single butterfly fish was recorded at this site. Overall the site continues to surprise us with a diverse array of corals and other substrates found here, and we highly recommend checking the site out for yourselves! We look forward to heading out again in a few months to continue monitoring any changes that might occur as a part of this long term monitoring program. Thankyou to Go Dive Brisbane for getting us to our reef health monitoring site. We appreciate that many of the sites we visit are not regularly on the tourist circuit, although we believe they should be! Reef Check Acknowledge the Quandamooka people, Traditional Custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and future. This project is supported by the Port of Brisbane as a part of their environmental monitoring program.     Inner Gneerings - Reef Health Surveys With wind forecast to hit later in the afternoon, the Reef Check Australia team headed out to the Inner Gneerings first thing in the morning to survey our sites at The Caves. The Inner Gneerings reef is located offshore from Mooloolaba and is a popular diving and fishing location, with depths ranging from 10m to 25m.  Reef Check Australia has been monitoring site 1 for reef health since 2009. The site can be heavily impacted by Asparagopsis algae during the warmer months, however lower levels than usual were observed on this trip, much to the delight of our surveyors. The site consists of rock with turf algae and scattered hard corals, predominantly the encrusting growth forms, and soft corals. Whilst we observed coral bleaching on all transects, at only 1% of the population, levels were low. Reef Check Australia has been monitoring Site 2 for reef health since 2013. This site is located in proximity to Site 1 but was set up to gain a greater understanding of the health of this highly utilised reef area. Similar to Site 1, the site consists of rock with turf algae and scattered hard corals, predominantly the encrusting type, soft corals and encrusting sponges. Whilst we observed coral bleaching on three transects, at only 1% of the population, levels were low. We also observed low levels of coral damage, disease and scars. Plenty of Asparagopsis, a seasonal macro algae was also found at this site. Thank you to @‌bluetortugua Adventures for getting us to site and to all our volunteers. These vital reef health surveys are not possible without our amazing volunteers, so thankyou for all that you do! Reef Check Acknowledge the Kabi Kabi people of the Sunshine Coast, Traditional Custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place, and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. This project is supported by the Sunshine Coast Council’s Environmental Levy Partnerships Grant.       Peel Island - Beach Clean Up Another gorgeous winter day in Moreton Bay, allowing he Reef Check Australia team to take full advantage of it, and head to Peel Island for a beach clean up. The island is popular with locals and visitors alike, with the island often utilised as a beach stop, as evidenced by many items of food debris found strewn around the area. This site was selected as it has been previously identified as a marine debris hot spot, and most likely to accumulate debris due to the bays shape. This activity forms part of a wider program to look at the ongoing impacts of the floods in early 2022, in addition to documenting the rate of attrition of marine debris in the area due to boating and fishing. Approximately 10 kilograms of debris was removed from a 7000m2 area, with hard plastic, soft plastic, plastic bottle lids, aluminium foil and polystyrene being the most common items found. Single use cutlery and balloon string were found amongst lures, fishing line, toothbrushes, old clothing items, a fishing net and construction debris. Construction debris is regularly found at many of our clean up locations along the length of South East Queensland, with much appearing to come from up river. Reef Check Acknowledge the Quandamooka people, Traditional Custodians of the land and sea country on which these activities took place and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. This project has received funding support from the Queensland Government’s Community Sustainability Action grant program.       Great Barrier Reef Eco Fiesta Cairns Overnight rain didn’t dampen the spirits at the Cairns Eco Fiesta on Sunday 4 June 2023, with huge crowds coming out to visit the myriad of stalls with exhibitors covering everything from the Reef to the Rainforest. A fantastic range of food and beverage options kept the crowd nourished as they enjoyed the live entertainment and workshops. Our team were kept very busy with a constant flow of families, young people and the not so young quizzing our volunteers on the health of the reef, who Reef Check Australia are, and what we do. A small reef survey display gave a visual representation of how we do what we do and provided a great chance to quiz our younger visitors on which items should not be there on the “reef”, with the majority correctly identifying the items we look out for. Our team used this opportunity to explain the dangers of plastic in the environment and how easy it was for them to help simply by collecting rubbish when they see it on the beach. Strong interest was garnered for our next ambassador and survey diver training courses, whilst many people expressed an interest in helping out at future clean-up events. We certainly hope to see these people again! Our attendance at this event was made possible by support from Cairns Regional Council’s Community Sustainability Grant.   \    Low Isles Underwater Clean up What better way to spend National Volunteer Week than diving the Great Barrier Reef to collect marine debris and data! In mid May, a team from Townsville and Cairns travelled to Port Douglas to head out to Low Isles for our annual underwater clean up as part of the Tangaroa Blue ReefClean project. Although local tourism operators visit this location daily taking many tourists to visit this part of the Great Barrier Reef, we were pleased to find minimal debris at this location. Divers found 14 pieces of debris in total, and these were all found within close proximity to the public moorings. The most common finds were glass items, including beer bottles, jars, and an unopened bottle of wine! Divers also found a reef anchor, which has been passed on to be reused. We would like to say a massive thank you to Wavedancer Low Isles for the ongoing support to our charity! Thank you giving us spots on your vessel to reach this location, supplying scuba tanks and to all of your amazing crew for all of their assistance and generosity throughout the day! The ReefClean project is funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and delivered by Tangaroa Blue Foundation and a number of partner organisations including Reef Check Australia. Reef Check Acknowledge the KuKu Yalanji and Yiragandi people of the Low Isles as the Traditional Owners of the land and sea country where these activities took place and we pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. Brain Food Reviews and details on books, documentaries, and podcasts that we have come across, & wanted to share. Weird and Wonderful World of Marine Worms: Tropical Indo-Pacific by Andrey Ryansky. One of a number of amazing ID books by Andrey Ryansky, available in pdf, hardcover and paperback.   Current Coral Affairs Check out some of the latest news and research about our ocean 'Catastrophic': Decade of loss on Australian reefs paints grim picture in new study. Work must ramp up to protect what is uniquely Australian Read in: 7 News Credit: Alison Godfrey/AAP Striped Pyjama Squid is never going back to the office Read in: Australian Geographic Striped pyjama squid (Sepioloidea lineolata). Image credit: Alexius Sutandio/shutterstock Get with the Program Here's what we've got coming up in the next few weeks, keep checking the website for more updates.  11 July | Coast to Corals - TBA - due to the Australian Marine Sciences Association Annual conference being held in the first week of July, we have postponed this months talk - stay tuned for details. 12 August | Whale Festival, Justin Park, Burleigh Heads. Free event. Visit their website for more details. 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.    Make a Donation   Copyright © 2023 Reef Check Australia, All rights reserved.You have received this newsletter because you have given Reef Check Australia your email address. If you would prefer not to receive any further emails, please click the unsubscribe link in your email.Our mailing address is: Reef Check Australia PO Box 782, Mooloolaba, QLD, 4557Australia
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