Shell Team

M & J TeachWild Fellowship Adventure at MBRS (Moreton Bay Research Station)

We arrived in Brisbane Monday morning Geraldine, from TeachWild met us all at the Stradbroke ferry in Cleveland we loaded up the mini bus for the short trip to Dunwich. On arrival we met the rest of the TeachWild team of Denise and Zoey, received our safety briefing, ordered our pizzas and unpacked in our “Frat House”.

The Frat House

Tuesday morning we split into two teams, our team learnt how to use the spectrophotometer to measure the reflective signature of an object to determine its colour bandwidth. We processed 65 odd samples of beach debris previously collected by other TeachWild Teams. This was entered directly into a database for compilation of national statistics. That afternoon we learnt how the samples that are to be analysed under the spectrophotometer were sorted from an array of collected debris from a previous beach survey. That night the first round of the “Master Chef Teams Cook Off” began with a Stir Fry Spectacular which was appreciated by all after a mentally challenging day all meals consisting of a vegetarian and carnivorous option.

Object sorting from beach surveys

Wednesday morning saw the early risers off to Cylinders Beach for a swim and a surf, before both teams loaded into MBRS Glaucus RIB captained by Kathy from MBRS for a trip to Blakesly Beach where Team 2 were unloaded. Denise our team leader from the CSIRO directed instructed and bullied us through the process of performing a quantifiable beach survey. The process involved the use of three transects from the water line through the dominant debris line, two metres into the continuous terrestrial vegetation and collected all debris within one meter of each side of this line. Once the data from these transect lines has been recorded for all three lines we perform an “Emu March” between the first two lines which involved picking up all debris found in this area, all this debris will provide the source material for the later spectrophotometery. Just as Team 2 completed our beach survey, Team 1 and the Glaucus returned to collect us and return us all back to MBRS to begin the data sorting and recording. Once data correlation was completed we all retired to Fratellos (our Frat House) for the second round of the “Master Chef Teams Cook Off” which featured an “Italian Indulgence”.

Reading the GPS for the Beach Survey

Thursday began with the obligatory early morning swim and surf, Team 2 headed off to the boat ramp, embarked the Glaucus for a surface trawl along the channel off Amity Point. Team 1 loaded up in the minibus to Main Beach to perform a beach survey.

Once we had reached Rainbow Channel, Captain Kathy proceeded to instruct the team on how to deploy the surface trawling Manta Tow, chose a heading and commenced trawling. After the designated period of time we retrieved the Manta Tow and transferred the sample from the tow net to the sample bag for later processing back at MBRS. We returned to MBRS had a quick lunch before we headed back out for another beach survey, location The Causeway over on the east coast. This survey was a challenge due to this beach being a major vehicle access for all points north and south and also the strong gusting winds delivering debris to areas of our survey previously catalogued. Yet we soldiered on as the professional team we are completed out survey and headed back to MBRS. On arrival we stepped into controlled chaos, there had been a wash up of forty eight various species of rays that needed to be identified, catalogued, photographed and dissected.

Elbow deep in Ray Intestines

All the TeachWild members were elbow deep in ray internal organs assisting the MBRS staff in the removal of various organs for later testing. The gut was also removed with the intention to determine whether rays also ingest debris. After several hours we returned to Mamasitas (our Frat House) for the third round of the “Master Chef Teams Cook Off” consisted of “Marvellous Mexican” another resounding success appreciated by all. At this stage a winner has not been determined. We then all returned to MBRS to continue the work on the rays, I believe it was past 11pm before the last of the TeachWild team was back in bed.


Friday started with the customary daily ritual of 5.30 am rises to drive the long and lonely road to the surf beach saw us return to Cylinders for another round of the body surfing challenge. Today’s competitors were limited to only a few waves worthy of riding to shore. The business end of the day saw all the teams at Earth Watch H.Q. sorting, sampling and measuring all the collected samples. All data was entered into the DATA Base. It’s time to get the B.B.Q. fired up for the last installment of the Cook Off, the Aussie Barbie. Then it was back to MBRS for a presentation from Denise on how our data is being used and general observations and healthy discussions on where may leading.

"Speckys" Gary Abblet Snr has nothing on us

That’s it from us for now, make you keep up to date with Earth Watch, TeachWild, the CSIRO and MBRS.