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From Lizard Island – Part 3 (Polychaetes Conference 2013)

By: Dr Anne Hoggett, Dr Pat Hutchings, Dr Elena Kupriyanova, Anna Murray, Category: Science, Date: 30 Aug 2013

This morning another two dives were made, one at 24m on a flat sandy bottom with Halophila and lots of solitary corals.

From Lizard Island – Part 3 #3

Alexander Semenov © Alexander Semenov

Collecting sediment with a gardening trowel yielded some very interesting worms not previously seen in other habitats, including an onuphid polychaete with juveniles in the tube, which made Natasha particularly excited.

Maria and Pat collected two specimens of the large Megalomma (Sabellidae) so called because two of the branchial filaments have really large terminal compound eyes designed to see you with, but they did not help, and the worms failed to elude the trowel.

The next group of divers plus snorkelers went to Turtle Beach and commented on the amount of devastation caused by the Crown of Thorns (COTS). While they were diving, Lyle was able to inject 17 large COTS with a nasty poison from which they die within the next few hours.

After lunch the sorting began in earnest for some, while others are starting to pack their vials so they can be shipped on loan to their home institution for study. Each vial has been registered with an Australian Museum registration number to make it easy to keep track of all this material. Once the material has been identified, some arrangements will be made to allow each worker to maintain a representative collection back in their home institution.

Tomorrow our last full day on the island will be spent packing and cleaning, but this can all be forgotten tonight as we have the regular weekly barbeque down on the beach. Glad it wasn’t last night when we had a storm, very unusual for this time of the year.

We are still finding families new to Lizard and new species, but some may have to wait for another time, or else people will need to check what we already have in the AM collections back in Sydney.