2018 Gold Coast Sea Slug Census

To sign up for the Gold Coast Sea Slug Census


Citizen scientists are invited to sign up and dive in for the annual Gold Coast Sea Slug Census on October 6 and 7 to photograph the brightly coloured creatures.

The underwater treasure hunt with a difference will take place over 48 hours in the coastal waters of the Gold Coast at sites ranging from South Stradbroke Island to Cook Island. Local and visiting divers will be vying for various prizes to show their prowess in finding and photographing sea slugs, which are often called ‘underwater butterflies’, due to their bright colours. Sea slugs are molluscs, and important indicators of environmental change because of their rapid life cycles and specific feeding requirements.

The Sea Slug Census contributes to valuable marine research through Southern Cross University, where scientists use this data to map the distribution of sea slugs and identify changes to these patterns over time. Through teaming up with local community organisations and volunteers, Southern Cross University has coordinated 30 sea slug census events at eight locations along Australia’s east coast since December 2013. In total more than 1000 citizen scientists, scuba divers and snorkelers have taken photos to document hundreds of species, new regional records, and substantial changes in range for some tropical species (see a recent paper documenting range extensions for 37 species).

The Gold Coast Sea Slug Census is a research partnership between volunteer divers and Southern Cross University’s National Marine Science Centre, made possible through the generous support of local businesses and the dedicated Gold Coast Sea Slug Census organising committee.

For more information about the Sea Slug Census program, please contact Prof. Steve Smith seaslugcensus@scu.edu.au

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Cratena lineata

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Hancockia burni

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Nembrotha purpureolineata