Encrusting Sponge washed onto beach
Encrusting Sponge washed onto beach Image: Dr Isobel Bennett
© Australian Museum

What a great way to end the week, just finished a shoreline survey at Horseshoe Bay in Bermagui.

The Bermagui Bioblitz was a great success with volunteers and wildlife experts coming together to learn more about the south coast biodiversity. Multiple surveys have been conducted over the 2 day bioblitz including: snorkelling surveys, beachcombing walks, night rock pool search, seagrass study, mammal trapping, bird banding, plant studies, nocturnal surveys, scats and track study, wetland and estuary surveys and many more.

I participated in the shore survey where we collected marine and terrestrial plants from the beach, animal remains and non living debris. All of this material provides an amazing snapshot in time. We collected snail eggs, the operculum of turban snails, a wide variety of shells and shell fragments, several species of sponges, cuttle bone from 4 different species of Cuttlefish, violet snails, goose barnacles, crab exoskeletons, a metacarpal of a fur seal, a huge variety of marine plants.

The natural material we found tells us a fabulous story, but so does some of the non living debris. We found pumice from a 1920’s volcanic eruption, ceramic shards from 1940's ships but very little contemporary rubbish. I found a yellow thong and was going to put it in the rubbish pile when I noticed all the small goose barnacles attached around the edges. This thong must have been floating around for a while and was colonised by the barnacles.

I just goes to show you don’t know what you are going to find until you start looking.

Libby Hepburn and her team did an amazing job coordinating the event and it was great to be a part of the inaugural bioblitz. I look forward to see the results.