This December, six Parks Victoria staff undertook Reef Life Survey training in the northern end of Port Phillip Bay.
We had variable weather, from choppy, low visibility days to a perfect day at Popes Eye with over 15 meters visibility. The team spent three days training, and two days undertaking and recording data for reef life surveys.
At the end of the training there were four new RLS divers: Peter Hay; Nicki Filby; Jonathon Stevenson & Gary Summers. Experienced RLS divers Shaun Davis and Jacqui Pocklington also attended, assisting the new RLS divers learn methods and identify species.
Sites surveyed include: Jawbone; Ricketts Point; Point Gelibrand; Halfmoon Bay; Dandos Road Quarry; Popes Eye and Portsea Pier. Many interesting habitats, plants and animals were observed, however species of special interest include: Weedfish (Heteroclinus spp.); Goblinfish (Glyptauchen panduratus); Velvetfish (Aploactisoma milesii) and Weedy Seadragons (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus).
Big thanks go out to Rick Stuart-Smith, who was an excellent mentor: full of so much knowledge, encouragement and positivity. It was a big week, but everyone maintained their enthusiasm until the end, and it was very rewarding being able to see our species identification knowledge grow! We are all looking forward to implementing Reel Life Surveys to help monitor the health of Victoria’s Marine Protected Areas.