Monday, February 11, 2013

Aussie Aussie Aussie oi oi oi!

Hi Sea Fans!

Well, more from Australia! J

I had a great time in Perth (Western Australia) visiting the Naturaliste Marine Discovery Centre (NMDC).  The NMDC is very similar to the Marine and Freshwater Discovery Centre in Queenscliff, but with a little less focus on freshwater.  It is mostly a research facility with part of the building being used for public education. 

I had a great time looking at their aquariums and one of my favourite things to do was to watch the cleaner wrasse busy themselves in the gills of the Yellow-spotted rockcod.  The NMDC Customer Service Assistant, Sarah, showed me the otolith aging lab so that I could look at Dhufish otoliths (Dhufish are only found in Western Australia!!).  

The best picture I could find on the internet of the Dhufish.  Photo: Neville Coleman

They had such a clever discovery centre area with ipads where I ended up spending my free time (not much seeing as I was busy busy busy checking things out in the aquarium but hey, it was fun!) doing puzzles and I was also lucky enough to get to see the octopus larvae that hatched on the Friday, under the microeye.

Carina, my host at NMDC, also organised for me to participate in the school holiday activity ‘A Year with the Ocean’.  In this activity we learnt about two key marine habitats – SEAGRASS and CORAL REEFS (found in Western Australia) - and the organisms that inhabit them.  I got to help participants design their habitat picture page for their own calendars that they took home to stick on the fridge.  I just LOVED the glitter glue effect!

On the Friday, the NMDC was host to an environmental education professional learning (PL) day.  The PL course runs for three days and is called Catchments, Corridors and Coasts.  On the first day, participants discover the wider Perth catchment area.  They spend the second day in the corridor between the hills and the coast.  The third day is then spent on the coast.  I got to be the lifeguard whilst the participants were snorkelling and reef walking in the morning!  : )  We learnt about dune vegetation with the local Coastcare coordinator, checked out the sea wrack and then helped participants with their classifying activity in the lab with Carina.

My next adventure in the land Down Under is in Henley Beach, but to get to get to my hosts Tim and John, I need to cross the Nullarbor (a long stretch of desert road between Western Australia and South Australia).

Stay tuned Sea Fans and see what’s going to happen next!
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