Sea Slug Census: April 2017

1st to 8th April, 2017

The Atlas of Life participated in its first ever Sea Slug Census in April 2017. The first Far South Coast NSW Sea Slug Census took place from April 1st to 8th 2017.

Groups of people surveyed different locations from Eden Wharf to Montague Island.

There were some guided walks and rockpool searches, dives and snorkels. In total, we discovered 22 different species of sea slugs during the census, with some multiple sightings at the same and different locations.

By far the most numerous were the lovely fairylike Stylocheilus striatus which festooned the walls of the Blue Pool at Bermagui. Some of these were well out of their previously recorded range – like Haminoea cymbalum and Mariaglaja tsurugensis, below.


The Sea Slug Census commenced in 2013, led by Professor Steve Smith, a marine ecologist based at Southern Cross University, Lismore NSW. Professor Smith recognised the valuable contribution that Citizen Science can play in such a study, and coordinates data collected by volunteer groups up and down the east coast of Australia. The Atlas of Life is one such contributor. Our records are of particular interest due to our southern location and the special ocean conditions in this region -ost notably, the variations in the extent and timing of the EAC (East Australian Current). Matt Nimbs who works with Steve Smith says there are few records in our area so we are helping to fill in the gaps ... as well as having fun exploring our coastline.

Read more about Professor Smith's research on his SCU homepage.

For a detailed description of the sea slugs of NSW, download this recent research paper by Stephen Smith and Matt Nimbs of Southern Cross University.

Survey supported by:

Kerri-Lee Harris