Assorted limpets and top shells at Point Gellibrand (Pic by Stathi Paxinos)
With the Summer By the Sea program underway it’s time for our annual health check of Port Phillip Bay – for the ninth year!
The Baykeeper Shoreline Shell Safaris, which take place at beaches around the bay each January are a free and fun way for kids and the young at heart to learn about the sea life that is usually hidden from view. For an hour, we search the shoreline to collect shells and then record what we’ve found on a data sheet. Repeated surveys will potentially show any change to the mollusc populations in the area.
For example, although pheasant shells (Phasianella australis) were well represented in earlier years, none have been found this year. So the health of these snails will be a focus for us in coming years. Also known as ‘painted lady’, this mid-to-large species of sea snail’s turban-shaped shell, which is decorated with lines, blotches, tints and shapes, is regarded as one of the prettiest of Australian shells.
Similarly, although our Point Gellibrand safari found healthy stocks of variegated limpets and zebra top shells (black and white striped snails) that feed on algae from the rocky shores there was a notable reduction in the number of abalone compared to previous years.
Visit https://www.eventbrite.com.au/o/summer-by-the-sea-2018-central-victoria-12255427652 to find more information and register for a Summer By the Sea activity at a beach near you.