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Underwater pollution takes various forms, including heavy metals, increased nutrients and chemicals in runoff. One particularly important form of pollution is marine debris – rubbish that can be seen and collected. A large proportion of marine debris is plastic, which can eventually choke or entangle marine life. For this reason, URG has been supporting marine debris research during 2012 / 2013.


Marine debris surveys have been conducted throughout Sydney Harbour in locations such as Balmoral nets, Inner Manly and Dobroyd Point. Each survey involves running four transects of 25 m each, then swimming along each transect and recording all of the debris sighted. Data is later verified and entered in the Underwater Volunteers NSW database for inclusion in wider analysis across the state. For more information visit the UVNSW website.

Here’s a video of a recent debris dive that included a visit to the Centennial wreck:


Global warming, terrestrial runoff and fishing activities all have impact on our marine life. For example, as the planet warms, the East Australian Current (EAC) is getting stronger, resulting in warmer water containing tropical fish larvae heading further south. Fishing activities typically target predatory fish that are high in the food web, changing the structure of marine communities. For these reasons, it is important to understand which species are increasing, which are decreasing, and which are moving or extending their range.

The Fish ID program targets a total of sixty significant species including some sharks, rays, wrasse, cod and herbivorous fish. Divers swim for a total of thirty minutes, recording numbers of each of the target species that they see during the dive. This information is verified then entered in the Underwater Volunteers NSW database for inclusion in various analyses across the eastern seaboard. For more information visit the UVNSW website.

Here’s a video of a recent Fish ID dive:


Throughout the years the Club has been involved in regular surveys of grey nurse shark numbers at two Sydney dive locations; Magic Point – Maroubra and Long Reef. Our research is part of a larger initiative being run and coordinated by NSW Fisheries, who are working to devise a plan to help this species recover from its current near extinction levels.

View our video from our dive at Fish Rock below:


The URG has completed a research project to observe and record the re-generation of marine life upon the newly replaced Balmoral bath netting. Review this projects’ activities here.


This study has investigated submerged historic aboriginal terrestrial sites in the South West Arm of Port Hacking. Several potential sites were identified and may be the subject of future research. Read More about South West Arm project.


Biodiversity and Caulerpa Study

During 2002, the Club was awarded a grant to conduct a biodiversity study in Sydney Habour’s northern aquatic reserve. The URG had completed a similar study in the Port Hacking Estuary. This study is different from our past research, in that we have additional research objectives to locate and assist in the eradication of the invasive algae “Caulerpa Taxifolia”. Read More about the NHAR project.

Underwater Research Group of NSW. Come dive with us
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