“Belgica” expedition – science in the ice in 1897

The Belgica Expedition 1897-1899
“a tale of extraordinary scientific achievements and of human endurance”
presented by Patrick De Deckker
Emeritus Professor, ANU

Prof. Patrick De Deckker

Can you imagine what a voyage ofdiscovery into uncharted waters of the Antarctic would have been like in 1897? and what important science was recorded then? Come to this Atlas of Life science heritage celebration and find out.

On August 9th at 2:30pm at the Tura Marang Library Professor Patrick De Deckker will share his findings on the scientific expeditionary voyage of the good ship “Belgica”. Patrick’s researches have taken him all the way back to Belgium where the expedition started. At the time, it was still unknown as to whether Antarctica was a continent and the location of the south magnetic pole was unchartered and this voyage discovered many new islands before becoming trapped in the ice for 13 months!

Belgica icebound in Antarctica

This was an amazing voyage of scientific discovery, but until recently the numerous scientific papers from the expedition have been filed away and ignored. Only now is it being realised that some of the oceanographic and meteorological investigations offer very important baseline data as we recognise that the Antarctic Peninsula is one of the places on the globe facing the largest changes and challenges due to global warming.

This presentation was very well received at it’s first showing at the Australian National Library last month. It includes many archives and photographs taken during the expedition. Last year Prof. De Deckker gave a fascinating workshop on the plankton of our coasts and we are very fortunate that he has offered to share his latest very different researches.

Everyone is welcome. Places are limited so please send you name here:



” From Little Things….” Bioblitz 2017 coming soon

This year the Atlas one day Bioblitz will be held at Merimbula Creek on September 16th, we are partnering with the “from little things” group who are establishing a community  sustainability centre behind Club Sapphire. We will be helping them create the first species list of their land and nearby reference habitats. More details coming soon…..and you might be lucky enough to see the following as we did on a reconnaissance mission !

Dr Andrew Claridge – Quolls and cameras

Join us for  a chance to learn more about the lives of the small mammals that live in our region.

Dr Andrew Claridge

Dr Andrew Claridge, will be sharing some of the exploits and insights of his research with us on June 8th at the Local Land Service offices in Bega at 2.00pm (time to be confirmed).

Young Tiger Quoll – photo David Gallan

Dr Andrew Claridge is a Senior Research Scientist with the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service based in Queanbeyan. As a wildlife biologist he has worked on many different animals over the past 30 years, both in south-eastern mainland Australia and also the Pacific Northwest United States. He has a particular affection for mammals such as potoroos and bandicoots, and the carnivorous spotted-tailed quoll. His interests also extend to the interactions among forest organisms and how those interrelationships afford resilience. In the past 10 years or so Andrew has been very active in the use of infrared cameras to detect and monitor cryptic wildlife. In his upcoming presentation he will discuss the benefits this technology has brought, together with some of the challenges. Using the example of looking for quolls with cameras, Andrew will also put forward the prospect of Citizen Scientists helping with some of this work.

Pillar Quoll photo Andrew Claridge

Sentinel Quoll photo Andrew Claridge

Please let us know if you can join us.

Zombie animals, brainwashing bugs and bacteria

Come and listen to Dr Crid Fraser ACT Scientist of the Year, at Oaklands on Saturday May 13th 6:30pm for 7pm.

This is the first 2017 “Hub in the Pub” event of the Sapphire Coast Regional Science Hub and everyone is welcome to delve into the science of mind and mood altering bacteria and bugs.

Free finger food and a great atmosphere in the Longstocking Brewery at Oaklands.

Sea Slug Census

April 1st and 2nd from Greencape to Tathra and April 8th Bermagui and April 9th around Narooma and north.

We are inviting everyone to explore our coast for the jewels of the sea which are most often seen at this time of year.

See or webpage above for details and keep up to date with what’s happening on the Sapphire Coast Sea Slug Census Facebook page

Noumea laboutei? Blue pool, photo John Southern,

Noumea laboutei? Blue pool, photo John Southern,

Canberra Nature Map and successful citizen science

We invite you hear about a real success story of community engagement of fun, learning and scientific achievements – NatureMapr and Canberra Nature Map and now the Atlas of Life is linked too.

Dr Michael Mulvaney, ACT government senior conservation officer has many stories to tell about how and why the biodiversity recording tool – Canberra Nature Map was developed and how it is being used by community, scientists and government agencies.

The Canberra Nature Map hub is now being used daily, not just by the community, but also by government officials, environmental consultants and industry when making development, planning and land management decisions. It has already led to the identification of new species and doubled the number of known rare or threatened species locations. The site has become the authoritative sources of wildlife information across the ACT. The website receives in excess of 500,000 visits a year, with visitation rate almost doubling each year.
In time, contributing citizens progress from being novices to naturalists and finally experts assisting in the confirmation of new records and helping educate others. Existing experts range from a 16 year old school kid to retired internationally recognised taxonomic experts.
The engagement of community members in a shared task of survey and data collection has social and health benefits, providing an enjoyable means of connection both to other people and to the environment around them.
You are invited to join us at the Local Land Services offices in Bega, rooftop carpark Sapphire Market at 10:00am – 12:00 Wednesday March 8th. Places are limited so please RSVP libby@atlasoflife.org.au

Dr Michael Mulvaney, with a green comb spider orchid in Aranda Bushlands. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

Dr Michael Mulvaney, with a green comb spider orchid in Aranda Bushlands. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

Lennard’s Island rock pool search

Happy new year from everyone on the Atlas of Life team.
The water’s good for snorkelling now and there are lots of sea hares in the lagoons. Do let us know of any interesting finds that we can put on the website and Facebook page and do keep adding your sightings to the Atlas’ new recording platform – it’s easy and looks great.

We are fortunate that Michael McMaster has offered to lead a rock pool reccie at Lennards Island next Thursday January 12th at 2pm.
For those of you who are interested in talking about what things we would like to do this year as a Marine Group, please join us at 12 noon at the main Eden road Tip, turnoff (for car Pooling, the track is only suitable for 4 wheel drive cars) and we will set off at 12:10 for Lennards with a 2pm start for the rock pool exploration.

Ascidian, Botrylloides magnicoecum, sighting Liz Allen, photo Libby Hepburn

Ascidian, Botrylloides magnicoecum, sighting Liz Allen, photo Libby Hepburn

Red Bait crab, Plagusia chabrus

Red Bait crab, Plagusia chabrus

Lennards is our favourite rocky shore as it always turns up interesting and unusual things. Last year we found a soft coral so who know what we might find this year. This is a low tide, so we will be able to reach places that are usually inaccessible.

The track down is rough and the walk down to the beach steep, so please wear appropriate shoes and clothes /hats etc and bring sunscreen and insect repellant as usual. Please contact Libby with any queries. 02 6495 0917. There will be a map on the Atlas Facebook page.
All good wishes,

Atlas of Life AGM Saturday December 3rd

Scarlet on Scarlet

Scarlet on Scarlet

You are invited to the Atlas of Life in the Coastal Wilderness AGM on Saturday 3rd December at 10.30am at the Merimbula Wharf Restaurant.

We have had an exciting year with the launch of our new NatureMapr recording platform, our recent very successful Four Winds BioBlitz and another Atlas Photocompetition with extremely high quality and range of entries – thanks to all who entered and our three expert judges. This lovely image of Scarlet honeyeaters by Maggie Clowes.

We are ready to plan our activities for next year and would like everyone who is interested in the local natural world, on land and along the coast to join us.

As an entirely community  project we welcome anyone who has time to contribute in areas they are interested in whether that is suggesting and running field trips, snorkels and walks, helping with the website, database and social media or helping through the committee. There are many things we could do and we offer the things that people are interested in helping with, so your passion will be welcome.

2016 Atlas of Life AGM Agenda

10.30am – Welcome to country

Minutes of the 2015 Atlas of Life AGM

Chair’s report

Treasurers report

Election of Office bearers and Committee

Any other business


Christmas Celebration Supper – December 15th

It’s that time of year again and we would like to get together to celebrate what we love about nature and how we explore it.
We invite you and your friends to the Atlas Christmas Supper on Thursday December 15th at the Wharf Restaurant Merimbula, 6pm for 6:30.

Sally and Anthony are offering us a splendid festive menu and we have sparkling entertainment for you. We will have the exhibition of images and records from our recent BioBlitz at Four Winds, and the superb winning pictures of the 2016 Atlas photocomp.
This year the theme for our Celebrations is “the New Science” and we have the story told in pictures and words of the young Poyner family and we also welcome Stuart Harris to share his exploration of the small but exquisite Maratus, or Peacock spiders which have become the centre of his life’s journey in the last decade.

Everyone is very welcome. Tickets are $50 and $17 for children. Please reserve your places with Libby or Alan. We will be please if you can pay directly into the Atlas bank account. Please put your name in the reference box so we know who has paid what.

BSB 032 704  Acc no. 209626  Many thanks, Libby

White flowers – photo by Harrison Warne – can anyone identify them? Harrison is a herpetologist and hasn’t got his flora ID up to speed yet. Thanks Harrison, it’s a lovely image for Christmas

Birds, Butterflies and Moths – a workshop with Julie Morgan

New Holland honeyeater

New Holland honeyeater

Learn to identify local birds and some of the most common butterflies and moths on the Far South Coast with Julie Morgan. Find out about their role in pollination and in maintaining a balanced ecosystem and what you can do on your property to support and encourage them.

When: Friday 25 November, 9.15am-1.00pm

Where: Tanja Hall followed by a field walk at Bithry Inlet

Presenter: Julie Morgan is a land manager from the Eurobodalla with an extensive knowledge of and passion for the natural world, specifically birds, frogs, insects, spiders, mammals and plants. She has been a field naturalist for over 25 years, is a committee member of the Eurobodalla Natural History Society and conducts bird surveys for a range of environmental agencies and organisations. She regularly presents and leads nature walks for community groups.

Cost: Free. Morning tea provided. BYO picnic lunch for after the workshop.

For further information and bookings, contact Ali Rodway on 0417 246 896 or info@fsccmn.com