Ecological Update – June 2023

Ecological Update – June 2023 Report (6)

Ecological Update: Wonder Reef’s Flourishing Underwater Symphony

In the heart of the Gold Coast’s azure waters, Wonder Reef continues to thrive as a vibrant marine sanctuary, showcasing the resilience of artificial reefs and the splendor of biodiversity. Recent ecological surveys conducted in June 2023 have unveiled an expanding tapestry of marine life, painting an even more vivid picture of this underwater marvel.

Flourishing Flora and Fauna

The reef’s structures, adorned with intricate colonies of turfing algal species, hydroids, and sponges, have evolved into a bustling metropolis beneath the waves. Notable among these are the crinoids, barnacles, and ascidians, forming a complex and diverse ecosystem. The reefs’ dynamic nature is evident in the increasing presence of sponges, bryozoans, and crinoids, signaling a thriving community.

Fish Species Diversity

One of the most exciting updates lies in the realm of fish species. Wonder Reef has become a haven for an expanding array of fishes, with 26 distinct species observed during the June 2023 survey. Among these, the Tarwhine (Rhabdosargus spp.) dominates, sharing its home with the Painted Sweetlip (Diagramma spp.), Mado (Atypichthys spp.), Blue Striped Snapper (Lutjanus spp.), Blotched Hawkfish (Cirrhitichthys spp.), and Gunther’s Butterflyfish (Chaetodon spp.).

Notably, intriguing newcomers have graced Wonder Reef’s waters. The elusive Black Spot Toby (Canthigaster spp.) and Clown Toby (Canthigaster spp.) have made their debut, adding an exciting chapter to the reef’s biodiversity narrative. Additionally, the regal Lionfish (Pterois spp.) and the Blue Striped Snapper (Lutjanus spp.) have been spotted, marking their presence in this flourishing marine community.

Community Involvement

Beyond its ecological significance, Wonder Reef continues to serve as a beacon of community engagement. Divers and marine enthusiasts from Gold Coast Dive Adventures have contributed invaluable insights, documenting 55 fish species and 6 invertebrate species, enriching our understanding of Wonder Reef’s marine life.

In essence, Wonder Reef stands as a testament to the harmonious coexistence of nature and human intervention. Its ever-expanding biodiversity and the enthusiastic involvement of the community reaffirm the importance of sustainable initiatives. As Wonder Reef’s symphony of life continues to crescendo, it beckons us to appreciate and protect the fragile beauty that resides beneath the ocean’s surface.

We are always on the look our for more Citizen scientists, if you would like to contribute to our evergrowing list of species, please add your findings onto iNaturalist

Published: November 3, 2023