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Education and Community

URG transcends the typical diving club experience. With ongoing research initiatives and a strong commitment to education, we stand out as a unique community. Every second Tuesday of the month, URG gathers in a private room at The Oaks Hotel, Neutral Bay, starting at 6:30 pm. This monthly rendezvous serves two key purposes: socializing and education.

At these events, URG seizes the opportunity to host various presenters, delving into a spectrum of marine-related topics to enrich our members' knowledge. Boasting a diverse membership of around 70 individuals, URG extends a warm welcome to guests at our monthly general meetings. Whether you are a member or not, join us for free at our monthly get togethers and discover a club experience that goes beyond the ordinary!

In early 2024, we are planning for a talk from the team at iNaturalist and when we confirm other speakers we will announce!

To give a taste of the types of educational talks URG provides at our general meetings have a look at the snapshot below from what we saw in 2023:

  • Jess from the University of NSW shared exciting details about the Posidonia project. This project focusses on helping restore the endemic sea grass of Sydney (Posidonia) that is a critical habitat for many species, including sea horses. The project provides a solution to help slow the decline of sea grass habitats through the collection of dislodged shoots and replanting. 

  • Dr Joseph DiBattista gave a talk on eDNA research in Sydney Harbour and how much we can understand about the species that exist within a body of water simply from samples taken of the water.

  • Graham Short gave a talk about the Syngnathidae family (seahorses, seadragons, pygmy pipehorses, and pipefish). Not only are they undeniably beautiful marine creatures, with many endemic to Australia, but they are also at risk of extinction.

  • Ana Gaisiner shared research on Cardinalfish, in particular the Australian species including Woods Siphonfish, Pinkbreast Siphonfish and the Wedgehead Siphonfish which have rare bioluminsence. Ana shared the studies into the symbiotic relationship between the bacteria and the fish, and explaining how little is really understood about these rare creatures. Her call out was for sharing photos of these species that can often be found in Clifton Gardens and Shelley Beach so that scientists can further understand their behaviour and distribution.

  • Mike Scotland gave an interesting presentation about wrasse, their different habitats and the multitude of different wrasse that live across them. In summary, there is always something new to discover in diving and finding a new focus can invigorate your dives and totally change your focus.

  • Laura La Motta and Jennifer Matthews from UTS gave a presentation about Pocillopora Aliciae, Sydney’s first Branching Coral. Studies are underway to improve our understanding of why this tropical coral species is settling in Sydney, likely due to climate change. A great presentation to consider how we might learn more about coral health and resilience under changing environmental conditions.

  • Nicolas Remy gave a presentation about underwater photography and his tips on how to take good photos of marine life. He shared specific information about an elusive fish that often can only be studied in the lab, but through patience and good diving and photography techniques he was able to capture some beautiful and rare photographs of the fish in its natural environment.

  • John Turnbull gave a very interesting presentation about the hard and soft corals of Sydney including the coral that was discovered by the club and known affectionately as the URG Coral. 

  • To round off the end of the year, the URG team also put on a marine related trivia game which proved both a success and a bit of fun!

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