Words by Deb Aston - Gold Coast Sea Slug Census Organising Committee
Hypselodoris roo was the exciting find for the 3rd Gold Coast Sea Slug Census.
“Hypselodoris roo is a newly described species we used to call H. kanga in eastern Australia. This species is now called H. roo and, interestingly, the closest species to it is H. zephyra based on genetics. This conclusion means that H. roo is more variable and more geographically widespread than Epstein et al. realised.
In case you are wondering, the etymology of H. roo is: Hypselodoris roo comes from the A.A. Milne character Roo, the kangaroo whose mother is Kanga.” Dr Richard Willan.
We were pleased that the doom and gloom weather forecast was wrong and the flooding rains stayed away with diving possible all weekend. Cook Island was a favourite spot but boats also went outside the Gold Coast Seaway to Migaloo Reef and the Scottish Prince. Visibility at the Tweed and Gold Coast Seaway was down a bit but still good enough to hunt for Sea Slugs.
80 divers registered this year returning a huge amount of photos and data with 94 species of Sea Slugs recorded, eight of which were previously unrecorded species for the Gold Coast area.
Winners of the two Beuchat wetsuits from Adreno this year were Kim Dinh from Sydney and Ted Aston who were Runners-up for the Most Number of Species Found.
Photo Competition Judges Dr Richard Willan, Gary Cranitch – Qld Museum Photographer and Darren Jew - 5 times Canon/AIPP Australian Prof Science, Environment and Nature Photographer of the Year had a difficult task with the winners for Best Photo being 3rd Place Tom Davis, 2nd Place Tony O’Rourke and 1st Place being Kelly-Anne Masterman. (see pics attached).
Professor Steve Smith, Southern Cross University Marine Science Centre “thanked everyone for their contribution to gathering more information on the diversity and distribution of our favourite marine creatures!”
|Best Photo 3rd Place - Tom Davis||Best Photo 2nd Place - Tony O'Rourke||Best Photo 1st Place - Kelly-Anne Masterman|
Feedback from participants was that they all had a great time hunting and learning about Sea Slugs and can’t wait for next year! Watch out for further details on the Fourth Gold Coast Sea Slug Census in 2019!