The global tracking map: your key to discovering how the marine world moves.

VEMCO researchers map

VEMCOs researchers map: ‘Help us help you collaborate with the best researchers in the world and let us “Put You on the Map”! Red pins represent studies using VEMCO products, the dark pins represent institutes’.

For those that have an interest in animal movement in the oceans, I’d like to draw your attention to a handy and interesting tool on the VEMCO website; the global tracking map. This tool Continue reading

Special underwater video session – ASFB conference

I’m very excited to be co-convening a special session on the use of video technology to better understand fish ecology and behaviour at the Australian Society of Fish Biology conference 2015!! See flyer below for details. Registration and abstract submission ARE NOW OPEN!!

Also check out ASFB’s Facebook page here for regular updates.

ASFB custom

New underwater video up: extended BRUV highlights

Baited Remote Under Water Video (BRUV) Video highlights from some recent research we have been undertaking here at Fish Thinkers.<!–more–> We have been using this as background footage at a few events and after a few requests we decided to put it up online. Show it to your cat…they will love it ;).  Feel free to share or show people that might be interested. Whilst on that topic thanks to everyone who has shared our videos, photos and blog posts on social media, it is much appreciated (and rather surprising how many reads we have gotten on topics we least expected people to be interested in).

Of course all of this BRUV research wouldn’t be possible without the extensive support of the Dr Nathan Knott, the NSW Fisheries (DPI) and the University of Wollongong.

The tale of the much maligned giant Australian water rat.

rakali

CREDITS : © J Gould © Victoria Museum, http://www.museum.vic.gov.au

Recently whilst pottering around in the backyard I saw what I first thought was a ringtail possum in the undergrowth. That was until it scampered across the open yard at a pace a ringtail could only dream of attaining on the ground. It was the biggest rat I had ever seen and it seems to have taken up residence in the ponds (i.e. bathtubs and containers I have set-up for fish and frogs) in my yard.

Since then I have seen it regularly and it doesn’t look like the rats I usually see in the urban environment; it was huge at around 1.5 kg and it also had a fluffy tail tipped with white and a slightly golden underbelly. I’ve seen these guys before when fishing so after the first good look at it I knew it was a native water rat (also known as the rakali). That’s where my knowledge on the species ended. Continue reading

Positive response of Giant Mud Crabs to protected areas

The giant mud crab (Scylla serrata) is a beast of a crustacean, capable of reaching 3kg in weight but often caught around the 0.5-1kg range. In Australia, they are distributed in sheltered waters from southern NSW, up through QLD, across the NT and over to Broome, WA.

Giant mud crabs have a short life cycle (3-4 years) and are reproductive machines. Females can carry between 2 – 5 million eggs and migrate up to 95km offshore to release their eggs. The young crabs hatch as tiny planktonic larvae, where they can remain in this stage for several weeks at the mercy of ocean currents. This aspect of their biology gives giant mud crabs substantial capabilities for dispersal.

A giant mud crab (Scylla serrata) chillin next to some mangroves on Mali Island. Photo by Jürgen Freund. Check out more of his amazing wildlife photos here and on facebook at Jurgen Freund Photography – Australia.

Their prized meat and high numbers within estuaries make them a highly targeted recreationally and commercially harvested species. In NSW, annual commercial landings are approximately 100-120t and the annual recreational catch is estimated between 30-60t. The main method of capture by both commercial and recreational fishers are crab pots, however rec fishers also use hoop nets or dillies.

Continue reading

Cleaning up the coast with the Clean Coast Collective

This guest post is from our mates over at cleancoastcollective. They are on a mission around Australia cleaning up marine debris. The amount of rubbish they are finding in places is crazy, ranging from huge ghost nets to millions of pieces of micro plastics scattered across beaches. Take a read below and check out their crowd funding effort that is under way to fund a rubbish clean up mission to Cape York in the far north of Australia. They are a bee’s whisker away from their $20,000 tipping point and every little extra bit of coin will help them get across the line whilst supporting a really worth while initiative; so consider tipping in some funds if you are able (edit: they reached their tipping point today but getting the whole project fully funded would be great!).

Trashed in Cape York by Clean Coast Collective

We had been told by all of our friends that if we wanted to see serious amounts of marine debris, we needed to venture to the Cape York Peninsula. We were also warned that the experience might be incredibly disheartening.

Trash Tribe project 3 (1)

The journey up to the Cape York Peninsula is quite the expedition – hundreds of kilometres of dirt roads, riddled with corrugations and no mobile reception. Sure, you can go without Facebook for a few hours, but if you break down on these roads, you’d better hope the next person passing you is either a mechanic or a tow truck, because there isn’t a great deal of options if you get stuck. Continue reading