Annual Coffs Coast Sea Slug Census
The third annual Coffs Coast Sea Slug Census is being held in January 2021. Each year, the census held in conjunction by SURG with Southern Cross University National Marine Science Centre, invites citizen scientists to submit photographs they have taken of nudibranchs and related animals on the Coffs Coast. So far volunteers have recorded a combined 191 species. See Coming Events for details of the 2021 census.
Details of past Census findings and news:
The most interesting finds: 2019 Sagaminopteron psychedelicum 2020 Doris immonda - Craig and Alex Lewis
Coffs Coast is not the only area to conduct this census. The census started in 2012 in Port Stephens but has expanded to 10 locations along the Australian coast. Citizen scientists in these locations join with experts from Southern Cross University (SCU) National Marine Science Centre to locate, photograph and identify these animals. Apart from the pleasure of finding these colourful critters, the results of the census provides crucial scientific understanding of environmental changes occurring in the nudibranchs habitats.
Sea anemones used in the marine aquarium trade
PhD candidate Nicola Fraser is investigating sea anemones used in the marine aquarium trade. There is very little published information about the aquarium trades preferred species and Nicola's starting point was asking marine aquarium enthusiasts, public aquarium managers and aquarium-related businesses about their sea anemone preferences. Part of her study includes the possibility of artificially breeding anemones to reduce the numbers taken from the wild, thus providing a sustainable source of supply to the aquarium trade.
Investigating water quality in Coffs coastal estuaries and the relationship to adjacent land use
Coffs Harbour City Council engaged Southern Cross University to perform water quality investigations in coastal estuaries with funding from the Environmental Levy Program. Topics of concern include the rapid expansion of the blueberry horticultural industry and potential implications to waterways and the Solitary Islands Marine Park (SIMP). This report focuses on sediment and water analysis from Hearnes Lake downstream of a catchment with intensive horticulture land use.
The following reports are a result of this research.
Water quality on Bucca Bucca Creek and the potential impacts of intensive plant agriculture
Shane's two talks to SURG members and guests generated a considerable amount of interest. Shane discussed the results of his Honours research (below) which involved analysis of water samples taken at various places along Bucca Bucca Creek during 2017. Overall, the analysis revealed a clear link between blueberry farming and nitrogen runoff in headwater streams. Shane's overall recommendation is ". . . site-specific management approaches to reduce farm nitrogen runoff, and the assessment of potential impacts of blueberry nitrogen runoff to downstream habitats such as estuaries and the Solitary Islands Marine Park."