VNPA Sea Slug Census Number Eight: Science for when you feel sluggish

Victoria’s next Sea Slug Census is from Friday 5 to Monday 8 March- and this year we are slugging it out against other Census locations throughout Australia and overseas. The “Melbourne” Sea Slug Census is just one of many locations contributing data to the Sea Slug Census project, founded by researchers at Southern Cross University’s National Marine Science Centre. Together, we’re documenting the biodiversity of this fascinating group of marine molluscs. Census events are run by enthusiastic groups and individuals at locations right across the country – and even across the waves.

Throughout March there will be Census events in Victoria, Lord Howe Island, Sunshine Coast, Nelson Bay, Sydney, Exmouth and Vanuatu! The challenge laid down to “sluggers” in each location is to see which area can find the most species and the most diverse taxonomic groups. Here in Victoria we have over 400 known species of nudibranchs, sap-sucking slugs, sea hares, side-gills, bubble shells and headshield slugs – and the Census is helping uncover even more.

So, if you’re out enjoying Victoria’s spectacular coastal waters during Census time, take a photo of anything that looks like a marine slug and send it to melbourneseaslugcensus@gmail.com.

Not just nudis – Victoria has a high diversity of sea slugs including minute sacoglossans (the sap-sucking sea slugs)

This will be the eighth Sea Slug Census in Victorian waters, and we’re developing a solid data set on our southern nudibranch species. We will be accepting images taken from all along the Victorian coastline – just let us know the location and date when you submit. Further details, as well as past reports featuring images of all the species we’ve recorded so far, can be found on our website.

If you are heading to the coast during this time, please remember as always to follow all advice from health and environmental authorities around social distancing, access to sites and water quality, as well as practicing safe in-water and above-water activities. Take care and stay safe while enjoying our wonderful wild spaces. For more information about current advice and restrictions check with your local council, Parks Victoria,  and the Victorian health department. Within Port Phillip Bay, you can check your local beach conditions and water quality at the Yarra and Bay Beach Report.

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