Science under the sea

Published 10 August 2012

Ever wondered what that object is that has washed up on the beach or what sand is made out of? If you’d like to know the answers to these questions and more, Southern Cross University’s National Marine Science Centre can help.

As part of National Science Week, the National Marine Science Centre will be hosting ‘Science under the Sea’, featuring three days of hands-on activities, guest seminars and presentations from August 13 to 15.

Event organiser Mr Stephan Soule said it built on last year’s successful inaugural event and was designed to promote a greater understanding of the marine environment, and to highlight the diverse range of research being undertaken at the National Marine Science Centre. All members of the public are invited to participate.

Among the activities will be:

‘The acid test – ocean acidification’: This activity will explore the effects of climate change and ocean acidification on ocean communities through a display stand and through presentations by researchers based at the NMSC. Participants will gain an understanding of the processes at work and have the opportunity to observe effects on organisms due to ocean acidification by digital microscopic observation.

‘Not so fantastic plastic!’: This display will highlight the problem of marine debris, its consequences and ways in which humans can reduce its effects via a static display.

‘Sea under the scope’: This activity allows participants to gain an insight into the fascinating world of life at a microscopic level. Using microscopes, participants will examine the adaptations possessed by a number of planktonic organisms and gain an understanding of how plankton move and eat. Participants will examine differences in samples taken from estuarine, nearshore and offshore environments and examine the equipment used to sample planktonic organisms.

‘The beginning of life’: This activity will give insight into the process of fertilisation and embryonic development within a common sea urchin. This demonstration will spawn sea urchins and allow participants to gain an understanding of a number of developmental stages following fertilisation.

‘Evening with the fish’: Participants to this event will have the opportunity to visit the Solitary Islands Aquarium in the evening to witness what goes on in the ocean when the sun goes down. This will be followed by Ian Hutton, OAM talking about his work on marine debris and seabirds on Lord Howe Islands.

Science under the Sea will be held at the National Marine Science Centre, Charlesworth Drive, Coffs Harbour. The launch will be held at 10am on Monday, August 13 with activities running on Monday and Wednesday from 10.30am to 4pm and Tuesday from 12.30pm to 8pm.

'Science under the Sea' is brought to you by National Science Week, an Australian Government initiative.

Information is available from the website or phone 6648 3918.

Media contact: Brigid Veale Southern Cross University, head of Communications and Publications, 02 66593006 or 0439 680 748.