Armed with 2 boats & 9 divers (including 2 shiny new trainees), the Reef Life Survey crew descended into Port Phillip Bay for a 4-day transect blitz!
Always logistically challenging, our sites inside Port Phillip Bay need careful consideration. The weather, number of divers and, most importantly, the tide plays a big role in where we can dive and for how long. Thankfully we had the help of Victorian local guru and RLS diver, Don Love, as well as our other skipper, Paul Serbo, from Southend Dive Charters.
Over four days, the team, who consisted of Toni Cooper (RLS), Jordan Logan, Don Love, German Soler, Paul Tinkler, Alan Wilkins, plus new trainees Emilie Novaczek and Sam Wines, successfully completed 39 surveys at 19 sites around the bay – a stellar effort by all!
On average, 15 species of fish were seen at each site, with the highest number of fish species recorded at Pope’s Eye Kelp Beds and South Channel Fort.Cryptic species featured heavily on the Method 2 counts with 5 different weedfish (Heteroclinus spp.) species seen, as well as Warty Prowfish (Aetapcus maculatus) found at Pope’s eye, Lonsdale and Nepean.
By day four, the team had recorded a total of 61 different species of fish and 78 different species on the method 2 invertebrate and cryptic species counts. Not only was the weekend a hugely successful one in terms of data collection, but we also welcomed 2 new RLS divers to our troops.
Congratulations to Sam and Emilie for doing such a fabulous job and for picking up the survey techniques so quickly – we look forward to seeing some data from you both soon! Big thanks again to Southend Dive Charters (Paul Serbo) and Don Love for their expert knowledge and for being great skippers. We look forward to seeing you all in the Bay again soon!