The story of edible oysters

Kerrie from the Hastings Point Field Studies Centre and the team at Ocean Watch Australia have just completed a new project ‘From Plankton to Plate’, the story of edible oysters which is a learning resource for Year 6 and 7 students supported by Ocean Watch Australia and NSW Farmers Association through funding from the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country.

Ocean Watch Australia is a national environmental, not-for-profit company that works to advance sustainability in the Australian seafood industry through protecting and enhancing fish habitats, improving water quality and advancing the sustainability of fisheries through action based partnerships with the Australian seafood industry, Government, natural resource managers, private enterprise and the community.

This resource is designed for Years 6 and 7 with links to the Australian Curriculum. The focus is on land and water management and waste management issues in a coastal environment and how these affect the NSW oyster industry.

You can download the resources here:

Winter School Holiday Program at SCMDC

The Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre has exciting school holiday programs that will  educate and delight both young and old.

Our program offers a wide range of hands-on activities throughout the ACT, VIC and NSW school holidays.

SCMDC Winter School Holidays Program 2012

During the holidays the discovery centre is open Monday to Saturday     10am – 3pm

Rocky Shore Ramble, Shellys Beach Eden

Bookings for the activities are essential and places are limited so get in quick!

For bookings call (02) 6496 1699 or email



Octobabies at SCMDC!!!

Here at the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre in Eden, NSW, we have had a very exciting week with the multiple births of literally hundreds of baby octopus occurring over a number of days. First discovered last Monday the 4th of June,  the tank was bubbling with activity as minute (about 1mm long) baby octopus, or hatchlings, bobbed around and up and down in the water.

Gloomy octopus

Earlier in February of this year, a female Gloomy Octopus – Octopus tetricus – was delivered to the centre. She soon became a star attraction as she was very active and engaging, often coming up to the tank whenever visitors to the centre arrived. We had a naming competition for her, and after several entries called for the same name, she was christened “Octavia”.

In early May, Octavia begun exhibiting ‘brooding’ behaviour; taking rocks and shells to her section of the tank and covering herself up almost completely. She wasn’t taking food from us nor was she coming out from her lair the way she use to. We kept a close eye on her, and about two weeks later, discovered Octavia had in fact deposited strings of small eggs to the roof of her cave, or lair.

Strings of eggs hang from the octopus's lair

We waited and watched, and watched and waited until finally, last Monday, to our delight we noticed the first hatchlings in the tank. The hundreds of babies that first hatched have been active, although numbers have dwindled despite another lot of eggs hatching three days ago. We’re feeding the babies with artemia, (brine shrimp), supplied to us by the generous guys over at the Merimbula Wharf and Aquarium and are keeping vigourous notes, and a keen eye on all developments.

We have returned some of the hatchlings to the sea to give them a fighting chance of survival. Sadly, the reported mortality rate in the wild is high. Also occuring in the wild is the imminent death of the mother octopus,  possibly due to starvation (the mother rarely leaves her lair while she sits inside oxygenating her eggs)


However, to date, the SCMDC’s newest Octomum is still alive although she hides in her lair all of the time now. She is refusing food and continues to cover the front of her home with rocks and shells.

Looking like tiny blobs of white, we were keen to get a closer look at the newest members of the SCMDC team, so we scooped one up and placed it under the Micro-Eye and hurriedly took some photos while it darted in and around and all over the place!  We tried other techniques including using the macro lenses on our cameras, placing one specimen in a test tube, and under the microscope – so teeny tiny, there weren’t the best behaved for a photo shoot!

Baby octopus day 2

Hundreds of baby octopus bobbing around inside the tank

Baby octopus day 3

It’s been exciting days here as far as octobirths and octobabies are concerned and we’re all happy to be a part of this amazing spectacle.

Marine Pests…

To kick off the new school year, Marine WATERs (West­ern Aus­tralian Teacher Edu­ca­tion Resources) presents their latest suite of edu­ca­tion mate­ri­als on Marine Pests. Check out the Pest Con­trol Les­son Plan, Intro­duced Marine Species Fact Sheet and their most excit­ing inter­ac­tive resource yet – the ‘Pest Line-up’ game!

Marine WATERs is an initiative of the Department of Fisheries, WA and Woodside Energy. An inter­ac­tive and fully inte­grated resource that con­nects edu­ca­tors and stu­dents with resources and tools devel­oped specif­i­cally to study West­ern Australia’s unique marine ecosys­tems and address chal­lenges fac­ing the sus­tain­abil­ity of our aquatic resources.

Seaweek Educators’ Expo 2012…

The Department of Fisheries is proud to host the 2012 Seaweek Educators’ Expo – Western Australia’s premier education experience for Seaweek 2012. The theme this year is ‘Marine Debris – Clean it Up!’

Seaweek will be held on 4-10 March 2012 at the Naturaliste Marine Discovery Centre.

The Seaweek Educators’ Expo is a fantastic learning and professional development opportunity — you can network with like-minded educators, meet knowledgeable marine and coastal educators, and find out the latest in marine education in Western Australia.

Download the Program and Registration form or email Tanya Porter to register your interest for the 2012 Seaweek Educators’ Expo.

September Holiday Program at SCMDC


11am to 3pm
Wednesday to Friday
28 Sept to 14 October
Come and Discover Our Amazing Coast
Join a marine biologist exploring the amazing diversity of life found on our rock platforms
Any age.  1.5 hrs
Wednesday 28 September 2:30pm
Thursday 29 September 2:30pm
Friday 30 September 2:30pm

Wednesday & Fridays 11:30am

Humpback Whale researchers have successful start at SCMDC

humpback whale

Kylie Owen observes feeding humpback behaviour

Kylie Owen, the PhD student studying humpback whales in the area has had a very successful start to her research project.  Since starting work on Monday with her colleagues Dave Donnelly and Scott Sheahan, Kylie has managed to secure 8 biopsy samples from feeding humpbacks. She said the whales were being ‘very co-operative’ with one spy-hopping so close this morning that she could see down its throat.

The team are working off the research vessel aptly named “Krillseeker” and were also able to collect a sample of krill – so thick you can’t see through it.  They also have land-based volunteers situated at Ben Boyd Tower, north of Eden,  to look for the humpbacks and then alert Kylie on board the boat.

Land based observation deck

Kylie is using the Eden Marine Laboratory in the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre to process her samples and store her gear.  Later this week she will start using the special ‘Dtag’ to secure to whales for up to 2 hours and collect even more data.


To follow Kylie’s research on Facebook click on this link

Woodbridge MDC welcomes generous donation from Dick Smith

Well known Australian philanthropist Dick Smith has made a generous donation to The Woodbridge Marine Discovery Centre.

Dick Smith heard about the Centre whilst at the Hobart Wooden Boat Festival in February. Our skipper Tim Nossiter was at the Festival with the Centre’s RV Penghana. Peter Van Der Woude, the owner of the Clean Lift Marine Complex in Hobart (where Tim slips the Penghana) ‘put in a good word’ about the Centre to Mr Smith.

Read more on the Woodbridge Marine Discovery Centre’s web site.

Ian Kiernan AO, Patron of Sapphire Coast MDC, visits the centre

A special visitor to the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre this week – patron Ian Kiernan AO.

Ian is world renowned for his amazing work with Clean Up Australia Day and Clean Up the World Whilst in Eden, Ian met with SCMDC staff to discuss establishing a display that focuses on the major issue of plastics in the ocean.

Read more on the Sapphire Coast MDC blog.

Summer Activities at Central Coast MDC

The Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre has some fun activities for kids of all ages during the January school holidays.

Join Rockpool Discovery, Snorkelling Adventure at the Haven, Avoca Lagoon Canoe Tour, Lagoon Detective, Funky Bugs, Underwater Mysteries, Fishing Clinic or Reefwatch Training.

Get more information on the Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre web site.

MDCA is proudly supported by: