Divers to search entire Gold Coast to count all the sea slugs they can
Nicholas McElroy, Gold Coast Bulletin
SNORKELLERS, divers and even swimmers are being called on to pull on their sluggos and join the hunt to count the number of sea slugs in Gold Coast waterways.
The city’s first sea slug census will cover from the Tweed to the Seaway, with organiser Deb Aston saying it was not just a frivolous search for the tiny, colorful creatures.
Data collected from the two-day survey next weekend will be used by researchers, some of them
looking into the colours of sea slugs and trying to find toxins that could be used in the fight against cancer.
But she said the main aim of the census was to identify new species and see if there were any seaslugs in Glitter Strip waterways that shouldn’t be.
“The discovery of new species in areas where they shouldn’t be can help track global warming,” Ms Aston said.
“There are a lot of questions to be answered.”
Ms Aston said anyone with sluggos and a snorkel could take part in the initiative with Southern Cross University.
So far about 50 people have signed up to collect information, which includes underwater photos, size and where the creatures are found.
“You don’t even have to swim – people can look under the rocks at Burleigh for them,” said the avid Brisbane diver, who has photographed 155 species of sea slug in the Seaway since 2011.
“You can find them in any rocky areas really,” she said.
Southern Cross University’s Professor Steve Smith said the images taken next weekend were an important expansion in similar NSW research.
“The results have highlighted the ability of citizen scientists to provide important data, some of which has now been published in international scientific journals,” Prof Smith said.
For information on how to sign up, search Gold Coast Seaslug Census on Facebook.