Surrounded by 98% national park and built on the picturesque shores of Moreton Island, the Tangalooma Marine Education and Conservation Centre provides an up-close and personal look into the wonderful world of Moreton Bay. A passionate and dedicated team of Eco Rangers provide a wide range of Eco Walks, Tours and Presentations for all ages and backgrounds. These tours are designed to interactively educate people about conservation and their surrounding eco systems. Through education, attitudes can be changed and people can become aware of their environments so they can start making a difference.
The Marine Education and Conservation Centre (TMECC) is unique from any other facility as the environment is right on the doorstep, with endangered animals frequently passing the shores. Dolphins, Dugongs, Whales, Turtles, Rays, Marine Birds and so much more can be seen daily with interpretative taks provided by the TMECC Eco Rangers.
TMECC aims to educate young children with an established program called Eco Marines. Eco Marines is a non-for-profit environmental program that assists and sponsors community engagement in advocacy and action to protect domestic and international waterways, rivers, oceans and wildlife.
Tuesday, 16 July 2013
Starry Pufferfish (Arothron stellatus)
The Starry pufferfish belongs to the family Tetraodontidae, which includes all species of toadfish and pufferfish. These fish are unique in that they are able to inflate themselves with water to approximately twice their normal size, which serves as a defence. By making themselves look larger, they are able to deter some predators. Starry pufferfish are found throughout tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific. In Australia, they are found along the north coast from central Western Australia to central New South Wales, often associated with coastal reefs and inshore estuaries.
Growing up to 1.2m in length, Starry pufferfish are one of the largest species of pufferfish. Adults are white in colour and their body is covered with small black spots, which become smaller and more numerous as they mature. Juveniles on the other hand are orange with small black spots on their body as well as diagonal black bands on their abdomen.
The Starry pufferfish has a beak like jaw, which is very powerful and able to crack open shells and other hard objects. This suits their diet as they eat things such as sponges, corals, crustaceans, molluscs, tube worms and sea urchins. Like all species of pufferfish and toadfish, they contain powerful toxins (tetrodotoxin) in their skin and organs, and should never be eaten. These photos were both taken at the Graveyard dive site out the front of Tangalooma.
Posted by Chad
Friday, 12 July 2013
The two calves have grown up!
Wow how time goes by so quickly these days , our 2 little dolphin calves Luna and Cruze, are growing up just so quickly!!
Luna, Tinkerbell’s calf is now over a year old, and has showed us all that he is definitely a male dolphin. Luna is becoming a very independent and cheeky little dolphin as he is starting to try and take fish from Tinkerbell during the feed. Of course Tink is not so keen on the idea and as Luna is still suckling from his mother, we will not give him any fish until he is at least 2 years of age when he will be starting to hunt and catch his own food, and will not be dependent on Tinkerbell so much.
Now we’re still unsure as to whether or not Tangle’s Calf Cruze is a male or female. Unlike Luna, “he just let it all hang out’ at around 4 months of age, we just have to wait and see with Cruze. Cruze is only 8 months old now, so we may find out very soon. Cruze appears to have a very gentle personality just like his mum Tangles, and is very interactive and playful with Luna.
As both Cruze and Luna are developing their echolocation and hunting techniques, they love to find a “Common Pufferfish” hiding in the sand in the dolphin feed area. They will then start to torment the pufferfish until its blows itself up so it looks like a ping pong ball and then the dolphins will start throwing it to each other. Sometimes Nari, Sil and Storm like to join in on the game as well. Once the dolphins get bored of the game they will let the little puffer fish go, the puffer fish will think that its free and will try and swim off , but then its just game on again for the dolphins as they start to chase it around the feed area again.
Not to worry though, the puffer fish do not seem to be physically harmed by the experience and are always left to swim away after the dolphins have left the feed area.
Eco Ranger Sue
Posted by Chad
Thursday, 11 July 2013
The Green Sea Turtle
Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)
The green sea turtle is an herbivorous marine reptile, found throughout tropical and subtropical oceans around the world. This turtle gets its name not from the outside appearance but instead from the colour of its inner fat stores, which are stained green from their diet of mostly seagrass and algae. They can grow up to 1.5m in length and weigh up to 200kg.
Green sea turtles come up onto the beach to lay eggs, and can lay up to 150 eggs per clutch and may lay up to 8 or 9 clutches per season. After 5 to 7 weeks, the eggs will hatch and the hatchlings will swim into the open ocean for 3-5 years before settling into a feeding ground. They will only leave this area to breed and nest, and will nest in the same area (sometimes on the same beach) as they were born. Little is known about how sea turtle navigate, but it has been suggested that they may be able to orient themselves using the earth’s magnetic field.
Unfortunately, sea turtles are highly threatened by human activities such as hunting, boat strikes, entanglement in fishing gear and pollution. One big problem towards sea turtles is the plastic bag, which looks similar to a jellyfish in the water and sea turtles will often ingest plastic bags confusing them for jellyfish. This causes blockages in the turtles’ intestines, leading to starvation and death. In Moreton Bay alone, 40% of the sea turtles that wash up dead have plastic in their stomachs. Please help out our sea turtles, try to say no to plastic bags and use reusable shopping bags instead. Also pick up rubbish wherever you see it, because every bit you pick up could save a turtles life! These photos were both taken at the Tangalooma shipwrecks, where we frequently encounter green sea turtles.”