The last straw- Deakin grad helping to change worldview on plastic pollution

Fellow Deakin Warrnambool marine biology graduate Nicole Nash has had, by the sounds of it, a pretty envious post-university career so far – ranger with Queensland Parks and Wildlife and founder of a campaign to end single-use plastics by tourist boats known as The Last Straw on the Great Barrier Reef.


Plastic straws are one of those absurd plastic implements people may use on a daily, once-off basis, throw away and then forget about – think plastic-handled cotton earbuds, cheap disposable razors.

While there are bamboo and steel straws on the market, like reusable coffee cups they rely on the user having the forethought to take them in their bag to a cafe, restaurant or bar. I have several reusable coffee cups and can count on one hand the time I’ve used a single-use plastic cup in the past year (always because I was caught out with no alternative).

Nicole is having some success convincing tourist boat operators to ditch plastic straws and has the backing of Tangaroa Blue and other partners to produce this video and push the message further. Well done!

More info via How to Join


Why Non-Academics Should Attend IMCC5

While I can’t make it to IMCC5 this June, opening up the conference to non-academics is a great idea and wish more marine science conferences offered the same opportunity


By Chelsea Gray

Everyone loves the sea. Each year, millions of people all over the world flock to sandy beaches. When digging toes into the warm sand, listening to the waves crash over the ocean, how may people feel connected to the ocean? And how many people take that connection home with them, often far from the coast, and impossibly far from the open sea?

Our connection to the sea, no matter how far inland we may live, runs deep. Snow from the mountain tops melts, running off our roads and lawns into rivers, before eventually emptying out to the sea. With much of that run off comes pollutants, chemicals from our pesticides and sediment from agriculture. These pollutants threaten our health and fisheries, as cans of tuna line grocery store shelves.


The ocean has the power to transfix us; It lets us realize our deep connections to nature through…

View original post 566 more words

Serenity NOW!

This is where I find my serenity. Some day’s I long to see the beach and ocean so much. A lot of great memories, and happy times. But like everything in life, one moves on.

via My serenity — Sea Play Photography

Back to the old country – more beaches, sunrises and penguin islands

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Heading back to Warrnambool for a work trip this week and taking a few days off to make it a long weekend. After three years away from this place it’s still tough to go back and see the kind of places we used to enjoy regularly – the breakwater, Middle Island (home of the penguin colony featured in the Oddball movie) and the beaches less than 10 minutes from town but so often seemingly isolated from the rest of the world. These beaches also used to be hotspots for four-wheel-driving but better enforcement and protection of bird nesting sites has meant that wheel tracks are thankfully harder to find.

Weekend Wanderings: Sunset along the river — LEANNE COLE Fine Art Photographer

A couple of days ago I was loaned the new Nikon camera, the D500, from Nikon Australia. It is Nikons new…

via Weekend Wanderings: Sunset along the river — LEANNE COLE Fine Art Photographer

As a resident of the often-maligned state of Victoria since 2001 (apart from two years in the UK), I’ve spent enough time in Melbourne city  to have seen postcard-worthy sunsets over the river on a regular basis. Though I’m not a real city lover, the past four months have been spent working in a 30-storey building that has great views of the MCG, Melbourne Tennis Centre, Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay. And not being able to get out in the water as much as I’d like is tempered somewhat by looking out at the bay or river and soaking up those amazing views.


Nurse Sharks of Belize — indahs: dive, travel & photography

22nd edition of Marine Life monthly post. Marine Life post published every 19th of the month. It aims to share information on marine life species and to promote their conservation. The Nurse sharks are a common sight when scuba diving in Ambergris Caye (Belize). They usually swim in a group and a chance to meet two […]

via Nurse Sharks of Belize — indahs: dive, travel & photography

Dirty secrets revealed during International Coastal Cleanup Day


I’d been threatening to join the Seaford Beach Patrol group for months to take part in their monthly cleanup and, seeing as I helped them join the International Coastal Cleanup Day movement, thought I should finally get along to the cleanup on the 18th of September. Weather was the standard Melbourne September grey and cold, which didn’t deter 17 locals from turning out to collect more than 35kg of rubbish in a one-hour stint along a 200-300m stretch of our bay beach.

Apart from the scary numbers of cigarette butts, plastic-based food wrappers, bottles, tin cans and foam pellets, the cleanup revealed some surprising finds shown in this table below:


Considering lollypops (usually Chupa Chup style but varied in size) are not the fashionable thing they once were, it might be that recent storms and winter king tides have revealed layers of historic plastic waste, and also dumped a larger than expected amount of foam and plastic on this stretch of beach. And the old saying about lost socks turning up in the damnedest places holds true, though why there were two socks and four shoes found is anyone’s guess.

Greenland sharks can live to 400 years old, only reach sexual maturity at 150

Researchers using radiocarbon dating have determined that Greenland sharks, slow-moving giants that live in the cold, dark waters of the North Atlantic, are the longest-living vertebrates on Earth, with one recorded as being 400 years old. Which explains the old Greenland shark quip that goes something like: “God must like practical jokes; why would He make […]

via Scientists say Greenland sharks can live for 400 years — The Cotton Boll Conspiracy

AIMS seminar: “The effects of ocean acidification on zooplankton: using natural CO2 seeps as windows into the future”, 8 September 2016, Townsville, Australia — Ocean acidification

When: Thursday, 8 September 2016 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM (AEST) Where: AIMS Townsville – Main Theatre – Lot 35 Cape Cleveland Road Cape Cleveland, Townsville, Queensland 4816, Australia Spearker: Joy Smith, University of Bremen (Germany), Plymouth University (UK), AIMS Abstract: Ocean acidification has been at the forefront of marine science research due to […]

via AIMS seminar: “The effects of ocean acidification on zooplankton: using natural CO2 seeps as windows into the future”, 8 September 2016, Townsville, Australia — Ocean acidification

Sharks smarter than we think (and probably smarter than the average shark-hater)

Some great UWA research is being reported as showing sharks have better comprehension of their surroundings and are “smarter than we think” – though I presume that means smarter than most clueless people would have thought.

danny green shark

That one time boxer Danny Green next to a dead mako and everyone went crazy. Photo credit: Danny Green

Yes, it’s obvious that scientists are still learning how sharks think, what their motivations are to make long distance swims and even (for any species) their relatively little-known mating and breeding habits. But whenever I see interesting articles in the general media, it still bugs me to read reader comments about how bloodthirsty and stupid sharks are, from people who clearly know nothing about them firsthand.

Anyway, here’s some grabs from the article and I’m sure Dr Yopak is tired of having to always dispel these misconceptions:

University of Western Australia researcher Kara Yopak presented her research into the use of brain anatomy to understand cognitive ability in sharks.

Dr Yopak said it was a common misconception that “sharks are these small-brained pre-programmed eating machines”.

“They are actually relatively large-brained species and they are capable of such an incredible range of complex behaviours,” she said.

Part of her research involved comparing the brains of sharks to mammals, including humans.

“There is a number of similarities that I would say have originated at least as early as sharks and then have been carried through vertebrate evolution to our own brains,” she said.

Dr Yopak said the brains of sharks varied across different species, casting doubt over the effectiveness of one-size-fits-all shark deterrents.

“When we are investigating repellents we probably need to take a species-specific approach,” she said.

%d bloggers like this: