Can you help find Kelp galls?

Callum Blake, an Honours student at ANU has asked the Atlas to help in his research. He is seeking sightings and samples of the gall-forming parasite of the kelp seaweed Durvillaea, Maullinia.

Durvillea Potatorum is our local Bull Kelp and the northernmost limit of its range is along our coast, somewhere between Bermagui and Tathra, but moving south every year.

We would really like to find out where its northernmost growth is just now and track its changes over time. Can you help us?

Callum is hoping we have divers and snorkelers who may be able to find further samples of the galls for his research.

If you are diving and see something that looks like this, please take a photo and your location and send it to: or call 026495 0917

There are no real ‘set’ methods for identifying this parasite, unfortunately, but Callum has attached a file with an image of the galls in an effort to help you understand roughly what to look for. The best description he has found so far is ‘yellowish, protruded, wart-like growths, irregular in form and size. Tending to be circular or elliptic with a diameter between 0.5-4cm’.

Galls on Durvillea kelp

Galls on Durvillea kelp

Gall on DurvilleaGall on Durvillea (1)

The wonders of plankton – a workshop led by Dr Patrick De Deckker

We offer you a rare chance to learn about the mysteries of our oceans with an expert marine scientist.

Dr Patrick De Deckker from the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences will be leading a presentation and workshop to help us appreciate the nature of the microscopic life off our coasts and how important it is to drive the carbon cycle and oceanic food webs.

On Wednesday November 18th Patrick will give us a presentation and workshop to introduce us to the amazing diversity of plankton we find here.

PlanktonPlanktonDSCN0445 DSCN0457There will be a powerpoint presentation outlining the main groups of zooplankton to be found near the coast in the western Tasman Sea. The importance of zoo- and phyto-plankton will then be discussed in terms of the carbon and silica cycle and a brief overview of food webs will also be described. This presentation will be followed by the discussion of a simple identification key to enable us to determine principal plankton groups. Afterwards, the group will be shown how to use binocular microscopes and separate the various taxonomic groups into petri dishes.
This is a rare opportunity to learn from one of our expert scientist friends. His presentation is enlightening and the identification of plankton will be a guided exploration into the unknown realms of microscopic ocean life.

Location to be advised nearer the time. Please contact T:02 6495 0917 for further information or to reserve a place. Spaces are limited so please do let us know that you are interested.

BioBlitz 2015 – Wallagoot Catchment

This year we are organising our BioBlitz in the Wallagoot Catchment on Friday December 4th and Saturday 5th.

We are focusing on increasing the value of the science of the BioBlitz and hope to be running specialist survey training for those who are particularly interested before the BioBlitz.

We will be posting more details in the run up to the event and as usual we are seeking volunteers to help with all aspects of the BioBlitz, from Basecamp to data entry, survey leaders and survey leader’s assistants, photographers and guides. Please contact Libby or Patrick if you would like to be involved:

wallagootcatchment 2

The Wallagoot catchment is predominately forest or woodland with cleared land for agriculture. Wallagoot Lake itself is an ICOLL – with high vulnerability as it has the lowest opening frequency on the South coast. It has seagrass beds and small areas of saltmarsh). There are large areas protected in the Bournda National Park and Bournda Nature Reserve as well as Bega Local Aboriginal Land Council land and property in private ownership. There are several endangered ecological communities: River-flat Eucalypt Forest on Coastal Floodplains, Freshwater Wetlands on Coastal Floodplains, Bangalay Sand Forest, Swamp Oak Floodplain forest and Coastal Saltmarsh. There are a number of threatened flora an fauna species as well as a number of invasive species in the area. The Kalaru/Wallagoot area is rich in fauna values, especially for the Yellow-bellied Glider, Glossy Black Cockatoo, and threatened shore and water birds. The area is a wildlife corridor allowing species to move between more and less disturbed areas.

We have been invited to help create a biodiversity snapshot of the area to contribute to the land management plans being developed by Bega LALC. It is planned that this will be the first of a series of BioBlitzes which will be undertaken in subsequent years along the important wildlife corridor that runs from Bournda up to the hills of Wadbilliga National Park.