News & Events



15 October 2020


Discover the latest ideas in Sydney around climate change and sustainability. Ziggy Marzinelli from the Univeristy of Sydney is one of the 9 speakers presenting on the night. Ziggy’s research focuses on understanding the processes that generate, maintain and impact marine ecosystems. He uses this information to develop sensible, practical solutions to environmental problems, for example, via restoration of degraded habitats.

Find out more here.



As one of the largest marine research and education centres in Australia, the Marine Studies Institute conducts marine science across a huge range of areas. This world oceans day the university of Sydney highlighted some of the important research done at MSI. Read the article here.

Google maps discussion: Alex Jones

My fieldwork is based in Jervis Bay on the south coast of NSW. Jervis Bay is a resting ground for mother-calf humpback whale groups during their southern migration from breeding grounds on the Great Barrier Reef to feeding grounds in Antarctica. For the last two years (2018/2019) I have spent six week blocks down in Jervis Bay during September/October recording the numbers and movements of whales in the Bay. These surveys are conducted from the Point Perpendicular Lighthouse and I have 8-10 volunteers assisting during this time. There is no doubt that the Bay is used primarily by mothers and calves with lone adults and juveniles tending to head straight south. Mother-calf groups spend anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days in the Bay. We have determined this using boat surveys to collect photos for individual identification. The underside of a whale’s tail or their fluke, as well as distinct body markings, can be used to identify individuals. Last year we conducted drone surveys testing the detection capabilities of different RGB and thermal sensors (arguably the coolest part of this research!). The final field season will be conducted post-COVID in 2021.


Last week we volunteered with AUSMAP to help them do a sampling of microplastics on Airport Beach next to Cooks River mouth. The amount of plastics washed up on the beach was astounding!

Among the macro plastics we found large amounts of plastic bags, containers, straws and bottles, while the microplastics included plastic pellets (nurdles) and all sorts of broken up plastics. We suspect most of these plastics originate from land and have been washed out to sea through the Cooks River.

Read more about the project here.

Lead author Dr. Elliot Scanes . Image source: The University of Sydney

New study raises concern over rapidly warming estuaries 21/04/2020

The study, led by Dr Elliot Scanes from the University of Sydney, found estuaries in the south-east of Australia are warming at twice the rate of oceans and the atmosphere. The data collected from 166 estuaries for 12 years found an average yearly temperature rise of 0.2 degrees. The data also revealed an increase in acidification of estuary systems, the average pH increased by 0.09 units yearly.

Read more on the USYD website.

USYD COVID-19 Database ……………………………………… 21/04/2020

Researchers at the University of Sydney (USYD) have developed a coronovirus hotspot database for NSW to help government authorities easily identify areas at higher risk of community transmission. It may also assist in helping to relax measures in low risk areas. The project was led by Prof. Adam Kamradt-Scott, Prof. Eleanor Bruce and Prof. Adam Dunn.

Read more on the USYD website.

Image source: The University of Sydney

Image source: The University of Sydney

Crown of Thorns Starfish (COTS)– The Hidden Enemy 21/04/2020

New research from the Byrne lab at the University of Sydney has shown that COTS, which begin life as herbivores before switching to a diet of coral, can delay their diet shift for at least 6.5 years. This effectively means that even in the absence of coral, juvenile COTS can build up on reefs and shift to coral diets once there is an abundance of coral. These findings are particularly concerning in light of bleaching evens in recent years, as it appears juvenile COTS are more resilient than first thought and could further decimate recovering reef.

The study, led by Dione Deaker, was published earlier this month in Biology Letters.

Cloud Brightening Technology- The New Hope For The Great Barrier Reef ………………………………………………………………………… 21/04/2020

This technology, which is the first of its kind, uses sea water sprayed in nano sized droplets to increase the reflectivity of clouds over the reef sending more solar energy back into space and cooling the waters of the reef below. Testing kicked off last month, led by Dr. Daniel Harrison on The Great Barrier Reef just as news spread of the extensive mass bleaching suffered on the reef this year. It is thought this technology could reduce bleaching stress in corals by up to 70%. However if the ocean continues to warm as we follow along a business as usual approach to climate change, this technology will become less and less effective.


Mass Bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef ………………. 14/02/2020

The Great Barrier reef has recently undergone the most widespread bleaching event on record. The sea surface temperatures on the reef in February were the highest ever recorded for the region. With 3 mass bleaching events in the last 5 years, concerns are growing for the future of this iconic ecosystem. Read more…

Coronavirus and the Environment- The Silver Lining 14/04/2020

Whilst the world grapples with the new normal that is the COVID-19 pandemic, the earth breathes a sigh of relief. It seems that the fight against climate change is not as impossible as it sometimes appears. Changing the way we go about our daily activities can make a difference, together the world has limited movement in response to the pandemic. The unexpected outcome was increased air and water quality as the environment recovers. Read more…

Minamata Film brings mercury into the spotlight once more 14/04/2020

With the upcoming release of the new Minamata film, mercury is once again in the spotlight. The film sheds light on the disaster that occurred in a small fishing village in Japan, where the marine environment was polluted with mercury, causing severe mercury poisoning in those ingesting fish. MSI is currently working on a project investigating mercury levels in fish and sediments worldwide. Read more about our project here…