Marine Science News

Long-term monitoring update to condition of the Great Barrier Reef

The AIMS Long-term Monitoring Program has released an update on the condition of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) based on survey data gathered across the entire GBR over the last 32 years. The update, which assesses data captured up to February 2017, describes a system under considerable pressure.

 

Read More

Feeling helpless about the Great Barrier Reef? Here’s one way you can help

It is easy to feel overwhelmed when confronted with reports of the second mass bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef in as many years. But there is a way to help scientists monitor the reef’s condition.

 

Read More

Exceptional fish diversity found on Australia’s north-west oceanic shoals

Scientists have found exceptionally diverse and abundant coral-reef fish communities at submerged oceanic shoals near Ashmore Reef some 400 kilometres off north-western Australia.

 

March 23 2017

 

Read More

More intense cyclones pose threat to the world’s coral reefs

In the wake of the Great Barrier Reef’s most intense coral bleaching event, researchers at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) report that predicted increases in the intensity of tropical cyclones due to climate change could greatly accelerate coral reef degradation and make it far more difficult for reefs to bounce back from disturbances.

 

Read More

Five ways to reduce your chances of encountering a shark this summer

More people die in car crashes each year than from shark attacks in the last decade.
But that doesn’t mean a dark patch in the water can’t send shivers up your spine.
Read More

Shark study reveals taste buds were key to evolution of teeth

Shark teeth may have evolved from taste buds. from the conversation
Shark teeth may have evolved from taste buds. from the conversation

The first creatures to evolve teeth didn’t have jaws. Many scientists believe these ancient fish developed the first tooth-like structures on their skin that were similar to the “denticle” scales that still cover sharks today, even after 500m years of evolution. It is thought that these denticles gradually migrated into the mouth to form oral teeth. However, research conducted by my colleagues and I suggests modern teeth – at least in sharks – may have also evolved from taste buds.

18 January 2017

 

Read more

Teenage male whale sharks don’t want to leave home

 

 

Researchers from The University of Western Australia and Australian Institute of Marine Science, (AIMS) and collaborators across the Indian Ocean have completed a huge photo-identification study to assess the seasonal habits of whale sharks in the tropics. They were surprised to discover that the male juveniles didn’t seem to venture too far from home.

 

Read More

Could ‘whale poo diplomacy’ help bring an end to whaling

While Japan’s new whaling program dominated the IWC’s summit last month, a Chilean-sponsored resolution nicknamed the “whale poo” resolution was also quietly adopted at the meeting.

 

Read More

Bright city lights are keeping fish awake and hungry

 

Light pollution is changing the day-night cycle of some fish, dramatically affecting their feeding behaviour.

 

Read More

The oceans are full of plastic, but why do seabirds eat it

 

Imagine that you are constantly eating, but slowly starving to death. Hundreds of species of marine mammals, fish, birds, and sea turtles face this risk every day when they mistake plastic debris for food.

 

November 14 2016

 

Read More

Sea Shepherd slams Baird's 1940's backwards approach to saving lives - merely another false sense of security

 

In response to the news today that NSW Premier Mike Baird will approve shark mesh nets for Ballina NSW, Sea Shepherd Australia had the following response.

 

October 12 2016

 

Read More

Marine parks and fishery management: what’s the best way to protect fish?

 

 

The federal government is considering changes to Australia’s marine reserves to implement a national system. This week The Conversation is looking at the science behind marine reserves and how to protect our oceans.

 

4 Oct 2016

 

Read More

More shark nets for NSW: why haven’t we learned from WA’s cull?

 

 New South Wales Premier Mike Baird has this week announced a plan for a six-month trial of shark nets off the beaches of northern NSW. This would extend the state’s shark net program from the 51 beaches currently netted between Wollongong and Newcastle.

 

15 Oct 2016

 

Read More

 

 

New spider crab named 50 years after its discovery

 

A NEW species of spider crab has been named, more than 50 years after the first specimen was lodged at the Western Australian Museum.

 

Read More

Rigs to reefs: is it better to leave disused oil platforms where they stand?

The global offshore oil and gas industry has installed a wide variety of infrastructure throughout our oceans, including tens of thousands of wells, thousands of platforms and many thousands of kilometres of seabed pipelines.

 

10 August 2016

 

Read More

Crown-of-thorns starfish vision revealed for the first time

Scientists are looking for physical vulnerabilities in the coral-eating Crown-of-Thorns Starfish (COTS) in order to mitigate their harmful impacts on coral reefs when in plague numbers.

 

In their pursuit of an Achilles heel, scientists have focused on the animal’s ability to perceive its environment through its senses. Research has already demonstrated that adult COTS have a well-developed sense of smell, touch and taste. Better understanding these aspects of COTS biology may lead to new methods to either disperse or attract them in order to control their numbers.

11 August 2016

 

Read More

Playing on fears: Exploring the use of the Pacific triton for mitigating crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks

Triton shell and crown of thorns starfish, from AIMS.
Triton shell and crown of thorns starfish, from AIMS.

Controlling repeated outbreaks of the coral-eating Crown-of-Thorns Starfish, Acanthaster planci, is one of the greatest challenges facing resource managers of the Great Barrier Reef.

 

The Pacific triton (Charonia tritonis, also known as the “giant triton”) is a large marine snail that inhabits coral reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific region. They are rare; historical evidence of harvesting levels is scant, however scientists speculate that overharvesting of the snails for the meat and shell has led to threatened status throughout their range. As such, tritons have been protected on the GBR for decades.

 

25 July 2016

 

Read More

Australian First Shark Spotting Trial to Begin In Byron Bay

 

In a partnership between Sea Shepherd, Byron Shire Council and the Member for Ballina Tamara Smith MLA, a feasibility study for shark spotting will take place at Wategos Beach after Mayor Simon Richardson successful moved a Mayoral Minute to support it at last weeks Council meeting. 

  

Read More

The facts on Great Barrier Reef coral mortality

Despite reported claims and counter claims over the last month about the ‘death’ of large swathes of the Great Barrier Reef, the true impact of this summer’s major coral bleaching event is now emerging. Preliminary findings from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) show approximately three quarters of coral on the Reef has survived to date. The vast majority of the impact is in the northern third of the Reef, from Port Douglas to Cape York, with the central and southern regions escaping significant mortality.

 

Read More

 

AIMS June 3 2016

A 1997 seagrass restoration trial, four years later in October 2001
A 1997 seagrass restoration trial, four years later in October 2001. From science network western Australia.

Local leads most successful seagrass restoration in the world 

WHEN Geoff Bastyan noticed Seagrass disappearing from harbours in Albany nearly 50 years ago, he would never have predicted his observation would lead to the most successful seagrass restoration in the world.

 

Read more

AIMS GBR Bleaching Monitoring update

The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is in the midst of a period of mass coral bleaching, part of a wider event affecting coral reefs globally. Surveys by air and sea reveal that bleaching is widespread across the Reef, but that the severity is not uniform. 

 

The data collected shows that the severity of bleaching that will cause mortality to the coral community has been restricted to the upper third of the GBR, from Port Douglas north.

 

Read More

Bleaching severity is varied on the central section of the Great Barrier Reef. Here, the shallow reef flat at Coates Reef just south of Cairns shows major bleaching (where 30-60% of the coral community is bleached). Image: N. Cantin / AIMS
Bleaching severity is varied on the central section of the Great Barrier Reef. Here, the shallow reef flat at Coates Reef just south of Cairns shows major bleaching (where 30-60% of the coral community is bleached). Image: N. Cantin / AIMS

A large table coral is severely bleached at Scott Reef. Research divers are assessing the extent and severity of the bleaching by conducting surveys at several sites across the reef. (Credit Nick Thake)
A large table coral is severely bleached at Scott Reef. Research divers are assessing the extent and severity of the bleaching by conducting surveys at several sites across the reef. (Credit Nick Thake)

Western Australian reefs feel the heat from global bleaching event

Western Australian reefs feel the heat from global bleaching event. Scientists aboard AIMS research vessel Solander at Scott Reef, an isolated coral reef system located 250 km off the northwest coast of Western Australia, are reporting 60-90% of corals in water depths of up to 15 m have bleached and that wide-spread mortality is already evident.

 

Read More


AIMS takes coral bleaching to task

This past week, as field observations and aerial surveys of severe bleaching poured in from Cairns north to Torres Strait, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) lifted its response...

 

31 March 2016

 

Read More


Queensland Fisheries secretly considering the use of smart drum lines within the Great Barrier Reef

The Queensland Fisheries Minister, Leanne Donaldson has revealed in a letter to Independent MP, Peter Wellington, that the Department has requested a permit for additional drum lines in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park for the potential future trialing of new technology such as smart drum lines.

29 March 2016

 

Read More 

Drum lines on the NSW coast
Drum lines on the NSW coast. Image from Seashepherd

Rare Mobula Rays found dead in Queensland Shark Nets

Sea Shepherd crew aligned with the Apex Harmony Campaign, have made a gruesome discovery of two rare mobula rays, which appear to be Japanese Devilrays, dead in a shark net, 100 meters from each other at Miami Beach on the Gold Coast. One of the rays, had two large bites within its body, appearing to have come from a shark.

 

Read More


Shark Spotters coming to Australia from Cape Town, South Africa

The co-founder and project manager of a successful shark mitigation program in Cape Town, South Africa will be coming to Australia in early March, to ascertain whether the initiative could be introduced at beaches within Western Australia, Queensland and New South Wales. 

 

Read More


Boat noise makes fish vulnerable to predators

New research has found that noise from passing motorboats increases stress levels in young coral reef fish and reduces their ability to flee from predators. As a consequence they are captured more easily and their survival chances are halved.

 

Read More


Don’t go in the water: a world of pain awaits in Australia’s deep blue seas

Australia’s reputation for deadly creatures of all kinds is known the world over. Tourists worry about it, and comedians have a field day with it.

13 Jan 2016

 

Read More

The blue-ringed octopus is just one of many venomous creatures found in Australian waters.  Amber Hansen
Blue Ring Octopus. Amber Hansen, The Conversation.

Shark safety tips: sorting out fact from fiction

There are more than 500 species of shark and only three of them pose a significant threat to humans. These are the great white, bull or Zambezi and tiger shark.

The probability of being bitten by a shark is statistically extremely low. There were 72 shark bites, three of them fatal, reported worldwide in 2014. Considering that hundreds of thousands of people use the ocean daily for recreation, this is a staggeringly low number.


Early warning signs of widespread coral bleaching in 2016

Record breaking summer ocean temperatures have led to widespread coral bleaching in the northern hemisphere. These hot conditions are predicted to extend into the southern hemisphere in the...

 

Read More

Bleached Coral in the Northern Hemisphere, (Image credit: Jurgen Freund)
Bleached Coral in the Northern Hemisphere, (Image credit: Jurgen Freund)

Scientist observing a whale shark at Ningaloo Reef, WA. Credit: Wayne Osborn
Scientist observing a whale shark at Ningaloo Reef, WA. Credit: Wayne Osborn

The secret to becoming an ocean giant

How do the world’s largest fish – whale sharks – reach such immense sizes when they feed on some of the smallest prey in the ocean?

The answer, according to a new study, is that whale sharks are very efficient foragers, using a combination of "yo-yo" like swimming to save energy and specially-adapted bodies to maximise heat conservation as they search for "krill" (tiny, shrimp-like animals) that they feed on in cold ocean depths.

Read More


Documents reveal mass capture of over 84,800 marine animals in Queensland

A Freedom of Information request initially started by Sea Shepherd Australia and then followed up by Shark Files Queensland, has revealed the staggering impact that the Queensland Shark Control Program has had on a large variety of marine life, including over 9,000 unborn pups.

Catch-data dating back to November 1962, reveals that over 84,800 marine animals have been ensnared in the program, including many, vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered species.

 

Read More

Sydney’s waters could be tropical in decades, here’s the bad news…

An idyllic vision of Sydney’s future? Adriana Verges, Author provided
An idyllic vision of Sydney’s future? Adriana Verges, Author provided

Welcome to tropical Sydney, where colourful surgeonfishes and parrotfishes are plentiful, corals have replaced kelp forests, and underwater life seems brighter, more colourful and all-round better. Or is it?

 

While this vision of a future Sydney is just an embellished cartoon of what climate change would do off the city’s coastline, our recent research does point to a widespread “tropicalisation” of temperate coastlines such as Sydney within the next few decades. This may sound pleasant, but it can lead to unwanted consequences.

 

 

Read More

Sharks on film! Global shark and ray survey begins at 400 reefs

Grey reef shark (Carcharhunus amblyrhynchos), Photo: AIMS
Grey reef shark (Carcharhunus amblyrhynchos), Photo: AIMS

The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and James Cook University (JCU) are working with a team of US and other international researchers, to capture underwater videos of sharks and rays..

 

Read More


We already cull thousands of predatory sharks a year, but shark attacks are rising

The Lennox-Ballina board riders club should be congratulated on attempting to bring the community together to find a common voice to the increasing shark encounters in the region.

 

Read More


Shark Spotters at work in Cape Town, South Africa.  Photo: Blair Ranford
Shark Spotters at work in Cape Town, South Africa. Photo: Blair Ranford

Is the Queensland Government killing sharks and marine life without a permit to do so?

Discrepancies in the actual number of drum lines verses permitted

Sea Shepherd Australia is demanding answers regarding the use of up to nine drum lines being used within the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef Marine Park without a required permit.

 

Read More

Shark caught on a drum-line. Image from http://www.seashepherd.org.au/
Shark caught on a drum-line. Image from http://www.seashepherd.org.au/

Demand for Omega-3 wiping out Krill

Krill in the Southern Ocean
Krill in the Southern Ocean, from www.seashephard.com.au

Around the world, growing demand for farmed fish and omega-3 health supplements is coming at a hidden cost – the Antarctic, one of the last unspoiled oceans on the planet. In a quest to exploit the Antarctic krill as a raw material input into both fish farming and omega-3 supplements, this pristine environment and its whales, penguins, seals and birds are dangerously threatened. 

 

Dietary Supplement companies (and their suppliers) are now depleting a species already feeling some of the worst effects of climate change, and quite literally taking the food right out of the mouths of whales (as well as penguins, seals, fish, etc.). That’s why SeaShepherd are now taking the fight to the mainland and confront the Supplement Supply companies every day at supermarkets and chemists across Australia.

 

Read More

 

About Krill

 

Marine Science News

Long-term monitoring update to condition of the Great Barrier Reef

Feeling helpless about the Great Barrier Reef? Here’s one way you can help

Exceptional fish diversity found on Australia’s north-west oceanic shoals

More intense cyclones pose threat to the world’s coral reefs

Shark study reveals taste buds were key to evolution of teeth

Marine Science facts

  •  Irukandji jelly fish, with just a brush of venom leaves almost no mark. But after about a half hour you develop Irukandji syndrome, a debilitating mix of nausea, vomiting, severe pain, difficulty breathing, drenching sweating and sense of impending doom. You get so sick that your biggest worry is that you’re not going to die

 

  • Half the Oxygen we breath is produced in the Ocean

 

  • The most remote point in the oceans is called Point Nemo

 

  • The Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans are known as the three major oceans.