News

VIDEO: 'Fever' of rays photo-bomb marine research

RESEARCHERS working in one of Australia's marine reserves off the mid north coast of NSW have inadvertently captured an immense 'fever' of Australian cownose rays on film.

This extraordinary sight is seldom witnessed and rarely caught on film.

Southern Cross University marine biologist Associate Professor Brendan Kelaher was using a standard piece of surveying equipment known as a baited remote underwater video, or BRUV, to record species' diversity and abundance at Pimpernel Rock in the Solitary Islands Commonwealth Marine Reserve.

At first sight the video shows snapper, mado and yellowtail scad swimming around the BRUV before a sweep of rays moves into the background. Dozens of rays quickly turn into more than 100 as they fly through the water like a giant flock of underwater birds.

Associate Professor Kelaher, who is based at the University's National Marine Science Centre in Coffs Harbour, said little was known about this species and while he knew about huge fevers of rays it was the first time he'd ever seen anything like it.

"When we conduct these surveys we are fortunate to see the incredible diversity of marine life in our protected marine habitats," he said.

At Pimpernel Rock we are privileged to see critically endangered fish and dive with these marine animals. But to see a large fever of cow-nose rays is amazing, especially towards the southern limit of their distribution.

"It really shows the richness and abundance of life in Australian waters."

The Pimpernel Rock Sanctuary Zone is seven kilometres off the coast of Sandon Bluffs, NSW, inside the Solitary Islands Commonwealth Marine Reserve. BRUV surveys have been undertaken at Pimpernel Rock for several years to better understand the type and number of species that inhabit the reserve and to provide a basis for effective management of reserves.

Parks Australia's Jason Mundy oversees the management of Australia's marine reserve network.

"The video monitoring of our reserves showcase an astonishing amount of marine life," Mr Mundy said.

"This is the first time I've ever seen footage like this off the coast of NSW. You see the first few rays in the background flying into view and then they just keep on coming."

Pimpernel Rock is widely regarded as one of the finest scuba diving locations along the entire New South Wales coast and is home to the critically endangered grey nurse shark.

Topics:  marine life, rays, solitary islands marine park, underwater photography


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Programmers' joke is on us

Dr Airdre Grant

Computers - it's a love/hate relationship.

How to manage sustainability

Deborah Benhayon - Open For Business.

What business has to do to maintain sustainable development.

From purr to a roar, Meow Meow is not kitten

ANYTHING IS PAWSIBLE: Acclaimed cabaret star Meow Meow returns to Lismore.

Anything can happen during her local shows this week

Local Partners

PM boasts of our ruthless borders

Borders made easier by a land girt by sea.

Why we're the top spot for mobile tourists

Caravanners and campers spend an average $152 a night in our region.

Our region is the top spot for caravanners and campers in the state.

Programmers' joke is on us

Dr Airdre Grant

Computers - it's a love/hate relationship.

How to manage sustainability

Deborah Benhayon - Open For Business.

What business has to do to maintain sustainable development.

From purr to a roar, Meow Meow is not kitten

ANYTHING IS PAWSIBLE: Acclaimed cabaret star Meow Meow returns to Lismore.

Anything can happen during her local shows this week

Not just any party, it's the Arty Party!

FOR ALL: The event will feature performers, local artists, storytellers, musicians and dancers.

A family-friendly, child-focused arts festival

More Northern River schools needed to be counted in

John Foreman and Jay Laga'aia at a songwriting workshop earlier this year.

Music - Count Us In will be held in November

All she wants is to be chosen

TAKE ME HOME: Daisy from pet shop to pound to your place.

Daisy has gone from puppy farm pet shop dog to the pound.

Sludge metal heaven served up across Australia

Black Rheno bring their stripped back sludge metal through regional Australia.

Black Rheno to hit a town near you

Prog metal upstarts to tour Australia

Caligula’s Horse, one of the country’s most exciting and innovative progressive bands, will hit the road for a national tour in November.

Australian prog masters announce national tour

Debra Messing wants to do a 'naughty' Will and Grace reunion

'Will & Grace' star Debra Messing wants a "naughty" reunion

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie 'working on custody agreement'

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are thrashing out a custody agreement

10 of the worst wedding day disasters

Getting hitched without a hitch. That's the aim, right?

Trump's comments make light of statutory rape

Trevor Noah has gone to town on Donald Trump's sexism

Beach-side real estate starts at $85k on Fraser Coast

HERVEY BAY REAL ESTATE: You can buy this townhouse in Scarness for under $300k.

Live your beach-living dream locally.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record

SOLD: Historic hotel finds new owner

Post Office Hotel Grafton

Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

Pub in new hands and heading in a brand new direction

Peppers Airlie Beach put on the market

ON THE MARKET: Peppers Airlie Beach is being for recievership sale by CBRE Hotels and PRD Nationwide Airlie Beach.

Peppers Airlie Beach is being offered for sale.