World Oceans Day 2016


Wednesday June 8

3.45pm – 5.30pm

Celebrate World Oceans Day 2016 with a rockpool ramble to collect data for Climatewatch Marine.

Let out your inner scientist and join the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre for an afternoon looking at critters at the local beach.

The afternoon will start, at the Discovery Centre in Eden, with an introduction to Climatewatch and the survey method we will be using. We will then venture down to the rock pools to conduct a 30 minute survey of the animals that live there.


Free event. Bookings are required.

Call 0264961699 or email


Turning the Tide on Trash

The forum is being held on May 28th and 29th, 2016 at Club Sapphire in Merimbula. The tdougbinheme for the 2016 forum is Turning the tide on trash: Discussing the problems, working towards solutions, which dissects the issue of marine debris, where it comes from, what impacts it has on our environment and what we can do.

The forum is run over 2 days with 4 different marine scientists presenting on their research and a pollution solution workshop run by Doug Reckord from Bournda Environmental Education Centre. The researchers come from a variety of backgrounds and will cover topics such as the effects of micro plastics on shorebirds, the economic impact of debris and how we can use citizen science to make a difference.

Register online now

Visit the SCMDC website for more information

SCMDC Marine Science Forum

The Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre runs a marine science forum every year to showcase the wonderful research happening in our oceans.

The theme for the 2015 forum is Our Changing Oceans. A look at changes in climate and species population in relation to the Sapphire Coast.

 Date: May 2 and 3, 201528984 SCMDC Posters

Location: Club Sapphire, 119 Main St, Merimbula, NSW

The forum is run over 2 days with 6 different marine scientists presenting on their research. They will cover topics such as tropical invaders, ocean acidification, how climate change affects our beaches and much more.

There will be outdoor activities run on Saturday afternoon to allow participants to explore the beautiful Sapphire Coast. Followed by a social dinner on Saturday night at Wheelers Restaurant in Merimbula (additional cost, bookings required). The dinner is a great chance to meet the speakers and a fun night out.
Please advise us of any dietary requirements.

 Book online now!

Or download the registration form below

Marine Science Forum 2015 Registration Form

Registration Fees
(NB: fees include morning tea both days and lunch on the Saturday)

General Public

Early Bird Special (Thursday April 2, 2015)

Primary or High school Student

Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd May




3 course dinner at Wheelers Merimbula – 6.30pm
Saturday 2nd May  (booking essential)




Contact Details:

Jillian Riethmuller

02 64961699

Aquarist position available

The Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre is seeking an Aquarium Maintenance Technician.

Flexible hours, up to 12 a fortnight. Experience necessary.

Applications close February 16, 5pm.

For more details contact us on 02 6496 1699 or email:

Marine Discovery Centre Networking – Island Style

Each year representatives from Marine Discovery Centre’s Australia get together  for an annual Marine Discovery Centre conference.


At these conferences like minded Marine Educators meet up and over a period of two to three days discuss ideas, give presentations about their own centres, hear interesting talks and share experiences.   It is an excellent opportunity to see how other Marine Discovery centres around Australia operate and to meet the diverse and energetic group of people who work at them.

PA170219Each year one of the centers’ will host the conference and this year, it was set in the rather awesome location of Thursday Island, Queensland. Set at almost the tippy top of our continent, our Host Tim Hillier , Head of Land and Sea, Tagai College, held an impressive meeting at the school he works at which houses his Marine Discovery Centre , called the Torres Strait Land and Sea Discovery Centre

Tim boated us around just a few of the 244 spectacular islands that make up the Torres Straits which included Prince of Wales Is, Horn Island, Friday Island and of course Thursday Island itself. We had a chance to dive a few stunning coral ribbon reefs, lunch on pristine sands while conducting ‘reccies’ for future outdoor activities for Tim’s students, conduct a marine debris clean up and check out some of the local wildlife and nightlife. Of course there was the more serious side of business such as presentations about The Great Barrier reef, turtle and dugong management in the area and general fisheries management. We had a chance to tour Tim’s school and check out the marine discovery centre he is in charge of and meet some students.


All in all this years’ conference proved to be once again highly successful as an informative learning session and sharing of thoughts, new concepts and designs. Set in a beautiful location we were treated to some amazing scenery, made new friends and I’m sure I’m not alone when I say we all came back with heads full of new ideas ready to implement into our own centres.

The annual Marine Discovery Centre conferences are made possible with a grant by the FRDC (Fisheries Research & Development Corporation).


Sapphire Coast Underwater Research Group AGM

If you are a diver and want to do some research dives then this is for you.

The Sapphire Coast Underwater Research Group (SCURG) AGM is on tomorrow night (Thursday October 2) at 5.30pm at Club Sapphire in Merimbula.

We will be electing our committee at the meeting and planning what the club will do in the coming months.

All current and possible new members are welcome to attend.

SCURG conducts research dives on marine debris, fish identification and photographing weedy sea dragons.

Weedy Sea Dragon

Venture to the depths with James Cameron

Deep Sea Challenge 3D – Movie Fundraiser Night

Dreamed of going to the bottom of the sea to explore the deep, dark, mysterious depths?  Well, now you can – at least
through the eyes of someone who did!

Film maker James Cameron (director of such films as Titanic, imagesAvatar, Terminator, Aliens and The Abyss), has dreamed of exploring the deepest part of the ocean – the Mariana Trench – nearly 11km’s beneath the ocean’s surface.

With breathtaking footage, this incredible film chronicles Cameron’s dramatic fulfilment of his dream – his solo journey piloting a submersible he designed himself. The risks were astounding. the footage stunning, the adventure incredible. JAMES CAMERON’S DEEPSEA CHALLENGE 3D is a celebration of science, courage, and extraordinary human aspiration.

Come and see this amazing film on Monday 15th September, 6:30pm, at Merimbula’s Picture Show Man cinemas, as a fundraising event for the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre. Part of the proceeds from tickets sales will be go towards producing and delivering more exciting Education Programs around the local region and beyond. Tickets are on sale at the Discovery Centre in Imlay Street, Eden, or at the Picture Show Man, Merimbula.  For more information please call the Discovery Centre on 02 6496 1699.


Join the Oceans Connected Marine Survey

1901544_728015357263321_1851959195571913798_nThis Saturday (August 23) the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre is holding an Open Day to celebrate National Science Week. As part of the Open Day we will be running our second Oceans Connected marine survey.  The survey is running from 11am – 1pm and we would like to invite you to come along and be citizen scientists for the day. Everyone is welcome to come along and learn about the local rock pools and how we can contribute to real science.

We have Dr Linden Ashcroft from ClimateWatch coming along to run the survey and to answer all your questions. It will be a a wonderful way to explore the local rock pools and discover the diversity of life that lives there.

tara hicks

Where: Meet at the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre then down to Shellys Beach

When: 11am – 1pm

Cost: Free

To book in for the survey visit:

Finding Dragons of the underwater variety

On a cold and blustery day in August five volunteers braved the cold to go on an underwater expedition to find a dragon. Water temperatures of 13 degrees Celsius would not deter these brave souls from their mission. Luck was with them on this day as they were able to not only find a dragon but they found over 8 and managed to capture them on camera.

Weedy sea dragon

This dragon is none other than the Weedy Sea Dragon (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus), a beautiful and iconic fish; yes it is a fish, which is endemic to Australian waters. The Sea Dragon is related to the sea horses and lives amongst the weeds in southern Australia. It has appendages on its body that assists it in camouflage amongst sea weed; this is its only form of protection from predators.

It is a protected species in NSW waters; it is listed in the 1997 IUCN Red List in the Data Deficient category. Due to the categorisation of this species as data deficient scientists are now trying to gather data on as many populations in Australia to develop a deeper understanding of population sizes, longevity and breeding habits.

Professor David Booth from the University of Technology in Sydney is leading the research and has enlisted the help of local dive group the Sapphire Coast Underwater Research Group (SCURG) to collect photographic data and DNA samples from local populations of Weedy sea dragons. David Booth will be presenting at the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre Marine Science Forum in May, 2015.

M0016632The SCURG dive team was able to find, photograph and collect tissue samples of the Twofold Bay Weedy Sea Dragon population that will be sent to David Booth for analysis. The photos are extremely important as they allow researchers to identify individuals within the population. Weedy Sea Dragons have vivid yellow spots on the side of their body in a pattern that is unique to each individual and work like a fingerprint. Scientists are able to use computer software to analyse the photos and recognise individuals. With dive surveys photographing the population over time the scientists will be able to estimate population sizes and longevity of the species in each location.

This dive would not have been possible without the generous contribution from the Merimbula Divers Lodge who has offered ongoing support to local marine research and the SCURG group.

Whilst under the water the SCURG team conducted research for a second project, two birds with one stone.  As part of an ongoing Marine Ecology project run by the Atlas of Life and the Sapphire Coast Marine Society the divers set up data loggers to measure water temperature and thirty metre transect lines to record and monitor the sea weed in the area.

boatThese are both ongoing research programs and SCURG will be doing more dives locally to collect more data. If you are interested in being involved please find us on Facebook or email us