Attack of the Mullet

Day 2 in the field started early...very early. I'm not too sure why QLD has not adopted daylight savings. It feels as though the sun rises at about 5am - which it DOES. Not to matter, we had to be out the door at about 6.30am anyway.

The activity I was rostered on for today was to set up bait and video cameras in different spots around the bay. The first task was to set the bait in these little cages. It involved crushing the fish with our fingers to spill the guts in order to make it a more appetising meal for any marine animals looking for a feed. We then had to find the perfect spot to drop the 'trap'.

Basically we were back on the hunt for seagrass! After locating suitable seagrass environment, we planted the bait by staking it to the sea floor (often quite a difficult task due to either coral that made it almost impossible to stick in, or too muddy which meant we almost lost the stake). A brick with a GoPro attached to it was placed within a meter of the bait. It was then back on the boat to go to another site. We took 1hr of footage at each site and we visited 4 sites in total. The images below show the equipment we used today as well as a map of Moreton Bay with pins in the location of each site (well, close enough).

IMG 2658         baitmap

The researchers wanted to compare the biodiversity at locations within the green zone (have a look at the maps in this document) with locations outside the green zone. As the green zone has been set aside as protected marine park, the researchers want to check to see what difference the green zones actually make. By analysing the footage to see what marine animals are captured on film, a case can be made for the further protection of marine environments. Some of the amazing environments we worked in today:

PA290426    IMG 2644

On the cruise back to base at the end of the day, a mullet literally jumped into the boat and flapped around causing all sorts of chaos. Good times!

We are currently sitting in the lounge viewing the footage. The biodiversity is amazing: crabs, sea snails, rays, countless fish, a turtle, etc. (the scientists are shooting out all the names for the various animals...I can't keep up).