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The URG provides a unique opportunity for members to be involved in research programs and surveys. These research programs are community based and suit a range of skills from simple underwater clean-ups to full-scale underwater biodiversity surveys. There are research roles for underwater photographers, data recorders, water and substrate sample collecting, equipment and boat handling.

Underwater research has been a focal point of URG diving activity since the club’s inception. Copies of the club Bulletin from the earlier years document many research projects, including articles on how to conduct basic research. 

Current projects include:


URG has several members who are certified for Reef Life Surveys. These are the most challenging, but also the most rewarding surveys that you can do as a citizen scientist. They follow a strict protocol, gathering fish and invertebrate data over a 50 m transect. Divers identify species, abundance and size class for every fish and most invertebrates in the transect. Every time you do a reef life survey you learn new species, behaviours or relationships in the ecosystem. Best of all, the data is gathered in a large global database that is used by scientists to analyse the health of our marine ecosystems and has contributed to several high profile scientific papers.

URG does Reef Life Survey regularly, several times a year in various different locations around Australia. In recent years we have coordinated RLS in Sydney and Jervis Bay, and our members have travelled to places like Port Stephens, Ningaloo and Lord Howe Island for surveys.

Learn more about Reef Life Survey


The Dragons of Sydney Program is a collaboration between scientists from UTS, volunteer divers from URG NSW and supporting organisations. Being involved in this program is easy - you just have to find and photograph weedy seadragons! Our data then contribute to tracking these unique animals and supporting efforts to conserve them.


We do regular underwater clean-ups, always accompanied by data collection of important information like the types and abundance of debris. This helps to monitor the sources of debris and eventually contribute to cleaner, safer waterways.


Each year URG together with Southern Cross University’s National Marine Science Centre host the Sydney Sea Slug Census. Like the weedy seadragon program, this involves going diving and photographing cool things - but much smaller! 

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