Naragebup and the Intertidal Communities of Point Peron

20TH June 2022

The guest speaker for the June meeting was Jake Cherry, and his presentation was entitled Naragebup and the Intertidal Communities of Point Peron. Jake is a marine biologist who recently volunteered at Naragebup, the Rockingham Regional Environmental Centre.

Jake started his presentation with a description of the aquatic systems, of which six are currently in operation at Naragebup.

1. The Marine Pond

The first system discussed was the Marine Pond. This is the most diverse system of the six and contains Cobbler, Southern Banjo (or Fiddler) Ray, Western Shovelnose Ray, Northwest Blowfish, Herring, Cleaner Shrimps, anemones and a Fortescue (Centropogon sp.). The setup contains two live rock refugium, protein skimmers, a bio ball catchment and a Phosphorus remover.

2. The Micro Tank

The Micro Tank is a smaller, self-contained marine tank. It contains an Ocellate Frogfish, two Pagurus sp. (Hermit Crabs) and a Starfish.

3. The Axolotl Tank

The Axolotl Tank is a small freshwater system that splits into two; one has two Axolotls while the other is home to a smaller individual.

4. The Native Tank

The Native Tank is a simple freshwater tank setup. It houses eight Western Pygmy Perch and a large community (approximately 25) of freshwater snails.

5. The Invasives Tank

The Invasives tank is another freshwater system that houses one common Goldfish.

6. The Turtle Rehabilitation System

Lastly, the Turtle Rehabilitation System consists of three separate saltwater basins. One of these basins is currently active and housing two Loggerhead Sea Turtles that were found washed up on south-western beaches. They were brought to Naragebup last October after being checked out by the zoo. Both are missing their left flipper and will be kept at Naragebup until fit enough to be taken up north and released back into the wild.

Future projects planned for Naragebup include:

  1. Setting up a freshwater Yabby system.
  2. Setting up a fully functioning hydroponics display. Converting one of the free rooms into a nocturnal exhibit.

For the second part of his presentation, Jake discussed an intertidal study at Point Peron that he participated in while studying at Edith Cowan University. The study groups of 4 – 5 took measurements over a total of 18m of transects. The study looked at Algae and Invertebrates. The results for Algae showed that Brown Algae were dominant when the intertidal zone was submerged often; Green and Turf Algae held dominance along the transect, and Red Algae were not dominant. Invertebrate results showed that Littoria unifasciata (Banded Periwinkle) had high abundances where rocks were not submerged all the time. The results were compared with a similar study in Indonesia, which indicated that Red Algae was dominant.

After the presentation, the audience thanked Jake, asked some questions, and offered some observations regarding the difference in the intertidal zones in the lower southwest compared to Point Peron.

Colin Prickett