Latest News

Kelp update

We are pleased to provide an update on our Golden Kelp restoration project in Port Phillip Bay’s Ricketts Point and Jawbone Marine Sanctuaries, generously supported by the Victorian Government. Following successful urchin culling in these sanctuaries, we have now deployed over 300,000 juvenile kelp. The kelp was cultivated at Queenscliff Marine Science Centre and then seeded onto twine and gravel. The outplanting process involved deploying over 2 km of twine and more than 450 kg of gravel – all of which were carefully placed by divers from The Nature Conservancy. We will spend the next few months closely monitoring the growth of the deployed kelp, so stay tuned for further updates on this exciting restoration effort!

This project is a collaboration between Deakin University, University of Melbourne, The Nature Conservancy and Parks Victoria.

Funded by the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action.

Photo: Stefan Andrews courtesy of Great Southern Reef Foundation

Image credit: Fiona Hillary

Ocean LAB – CURRENTS exhibition

Ocean LAB consists of artists Vicki Hallett, Fiona Hillary and Prue Francis and we aim to merge art, science and technology to connect and engage the wider community with the seaweed biodiversity of GSR. Interdisciplinary

During Feb – Mar 2024, Ocean LAB were part of Platform ARTS exhibition, CURRENTS where they utilised fieldwork equipment to create, Wrack Entanglements.

Wrack Entanglements transforms the species of wrack into an abstracted series of sounds and imagery. We explored the little unknown and underrepresented wrack zone through digital imagery and coastal sounds connected to the wrack.

Ocean LAB thank Platform ARTS for funding our collaboration.

Recent celebrations!

Over the last couple of weeks, we have had cause for celebration in the lab with Cátia Freitas submitting her PhD thesis for examination and Kaylah Gawne graduating from her Honours degree.

Cátia will be assisting with the ocean literacy project funded through DEECA from 2024 and Kaylah is continuing her kelp passion by commencing her PhD as a recipient of the Women in STEAM scholarship. Kaylah will develop a gene flow strategy for the Golden Kelp populations along the Victorian coastline. Stay tuned for updates on both projects!

New Honours project

Teneille Nitschke, Honours student based at Warrnambool campus is currently undertaking a project to assess the adaptive thermal tolerance of early stages of Phyllospora comosa (Crayweed) from Victorian populations. The collections and trial are currently underway so stay tuned for exciting results that will help inform the resilience (or lack of) to warming sea surface temperatures due to rapid climate changes.

Kelping the Bay: Future-proofing Golden Kelp

We recently received funding from the Port Phillip Bay Fund through the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action to establish a long-term seedbank (gametophytes) that will preserve local genetic diversity and provide biological material for restoration. Mapping biological connections and genetic structure between remnant E. radiata populations to identify populations in need of intervention will be conducted.

Image: Gametophyte cultures

Ocean Literacy Program to be upscaled!

We were stoked to recently be awarded a Port Phillip Bay Fund from the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action to upscale our ocean literacy resource kit to 100 primary schools located within 5km of Port Phillip Bay. Watch this space for updates on this exciting project that will commence in 2024!

Golden Kelp Restoration in Port Phillip Bay

Deakin University has joined The Nature Conservancy (TNC), University of Melbourne and Parks Victoria to trial and develop techniques to address the loss of Golden Kelp in Port Phillip Bay.

With funding from the Victorian Government’s Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action, the Port Phillip Bay Golden Kelp restoration project will include the first trials in Victoria to cultivate Golden Kelp at the microscopic level for planting onto reefs. Read here for more information.

Image: Sporophytes growing on gravel. (credit: Jasmine Bursic)

Prue joins the Superstar of STEM program

Science Technology Australia recently announced a 60 inspiring women and non-binary people to be part of the 2023-23 #SuperstarsOfSTEM program and Prue was honoured to be part of the named 60 people. Click on the media release below to learn more about this incredible program:

Deakin marine science expert makes a splash as superstar of STEM | Deakin

Kaylah’s Honours: Kelp update

Kaylah’s Honours project is well and truly underway, and we are currently processing and collecting week 2 data. The Ecklonia sporophytes are growing nicely, and we just couldn’t wait to share a pic of them growing at Deakin’s Queenscliff Marine Science Centre.

New project with Immersion Group

We have been working with local seaweed farming organisation, Immersion Group to assist with establishing commercially viable cultivation practices in the red seaweed Asparagopsis armata. We conducted a trial at the Queenscliff Marine Science Centre to test the effect of varying nutrient and light intensity conditions on both germination and early tetrasporophyte growth over a 13-day trial.

Possibly the best teacher professional learning day ever?

This week we kicked off Round 2 of our Reading over and under the waves of the Great Southern Reef program. This is part of Catia Freitas’s PhD project where we are using children’s books to enhance ocean literacy in primary schools. Our week started off snorkelling in Port Phillip Bay with dolphins, seals and seaweed!

What do we mean by ‘sustainable seaweed?’

Are you interested in the production of seaweed or seaweed related products in Australia? Would you like to share your perspective of the emerging Australian seaweed industry and how it relates to sustainability?
We are looking for participants 16 years and older who are willing to complete a 10 – 20 minute survey to share their thoughts on Australian seaweed and sustainability. Participation is voluntary, and all survey responses will be de-identified and anonymised in any published material.
To participate, or for further information regarding the research and researchers, please click the button below.

This study has received Deakin University ethics approval (reference number: 2022-088)

This project is being conducted by Zoё Brittain who is a PhD student with the Deakin Seaweed team exploring Indigenous knowledge and Blue Growth with a focus on the emerging Australasian seaweed industry. 

Follow Zoё: Zoe Brittain (@brittain_zoe) / Twitter

Welcome new Honours student Kaylah, to the team!

Deakin marine graduate, Kaylah Gawne will start her Honours year at the Queenscliff Marine Science Centre from July 2022. We are thrilled to have Kaylah join our kelp team where we are optimising restoration techniques for the Golden Kelp, Ecklonia radiata. We can’t wait to have baby kelp growing at Queenscliff (is there anything more cuter?) – watch this space for updates!

Follow Kaylah: Kaylah Gawne (@KaylahGawne) / Twitter

Book Launch

We are excited to share our first picture book published by CSIRO Publishing. The Great Southern Reef follows the beachcombing adventure of Professor Seaweed, Frankie and Sam where you can learn about the weird and wonderful life found along Australia’s temperate reef system – the Great Southern Reef.

We have received fantastic feedback so far and have had lots of people sending us book selfies – we know it has reached as far as Norway, Portugal and Her Deepness, Dr Sylvia Earle has her very own copy too!

You can purchase your copy here.

book launch

Teacher workshops have begun!

PhD student, Cátia Freitas has commenced her last part of her PhD project and we are excited for this one! Cátia is running marine science teacher professional development workshops at the Queenscliff Marine Science Centre. We will be evaluating the impact these workshops have on incorporating ocean literacy in the classroom. Rock rambling, seaweed art and a fun boat trip are just some of the epic adventures we are conducting with our participating teachers.