Reef Life Survey
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 2015 we have done RLS in Sydney, Jervis Bay and Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia.
Dragons of Sydney – Citizen Science Program
The Dragons of Sydney Program is a collaboration between scientists from UTS, volunteer divers from URG NSW and supporting organisations including NPA NSW and potentially SIMS and AMCS.
Hungry Point, Cronulla Pylons
A project in Port Hacking for UNSW require a photographic record of growth/life on 5 pylons at the wharf located at the old Fisheries Research Centre at Cronulla (now Marine Rescue NSW).
Clean up Project
URG was awarded a Habitat Action Grant to perform ten cleanup dives in 2015 in association with the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) of NSW. The goal of these dives is to remove damaging debris, categorise it, and raise public awareness of the pollution in our local waters. Most of these dives are done as shore dives, and the grant money will be used to pay for air fills and boat use.
Cuttlefish Research Study
URG has been invited to help collecting cuttlefish eggs by Dr Anne-Laurence from Sydney University to help with her cuttlefish prenatal stress research. Australia is vulnerable to the effects of ocean acidification and global warming projected for the future decades. Consequently, the main interest of the research is to examine the effects of environmental change on the development of cuttlefish embryos and on the cognitive abilities of the juveniles.
Sea Urchins Research
URG will assist the University of Western Sydney Molecular Physiology Department to collect black sea urchins for their research using unfertilised eggs isolated from sea urchins as a model system to study fundamental biological processes.
We need to collect 60 urchins a month and it’s mostly shore dive. The sea urchin collection has been approved by the Department of Primary Industries.
Nelson Bay Sea Slug Census
Nelson Bay sea slug census is conducted four times a year and it is a joint partnership between Southern Cross University & Combined Hunter Underwater Group Inc (CHUG). In 2015, the census is held on 7 March, 6 June, 12 September and in December (date TBA) and URG members have always participated in the census a couple of times a year.
Sydney Sea Slug Census
URG together with Southern Cross University’s National Marine Science Centre are hosting the first Sydney Sea Slug Census this year on 7 November 2015.