Part way through Term 1, 3 of our students, Kate Deane, Elki Wiseman and Trinity Shires applied for a scholarship with UTAS (University of Tasmania) and IMAS (Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies) to complete the University course, Introduction to Temperate Marine Biology. The three girls were successful and participated over the Easter school holidays. 

Kate, Elki and Trinity travelled to Maria Island and spent five intense days researching and compiling scientific data on the marine populations within the Maria Island Marine Park.  

The course was designed to engage, challenge, excite and inspire Year 11 and 12 students through a hands-on marine science research program. The students were encouraged to explore issues threatening biodiversity as well as the productivity of the marine system. Climate change, invasive species, pollution, debris, and their associated social and economic impacts were discussed as part of the University course. On the last day, students presented their research to family and staff of IMAS. Here are some highlights from the course:  

My time at Maria Island was highlighted by the sheer diversity of both the wildlife of the island, as well as the broad range of scientific analysis and processes undertaken. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to go snorkelling, visiting beautiful locations around the island, and making friends with people who are passionate about marine biology. Being surrounded by such fantastic people throughout the trip made the scenery, research, and analysis all the more worthwhile – as well as being able to present our findings to parents and previous students of the course. – Kate 

I thoroughly enjoyed my time on Maria Island. Snorkelling and collecting underwater data of fish species and their numbers was definitely a highlight. The biggest surprise for my group was that we found a species of Zooplankton that had never previously been seen in the Maria Island Marine Park. This Zooplankton is common in the warmer northern waters and would have reached the Marine Park by travelling on the East Australian Current. It will be interesting to track over the next few years how this Zooplankton will impact the Marine Park. Even though the weather wasn’t in our favour, we still learned a lot about how unique Tasmania’s marine areas are. I would strongly recommend this course for anyone interested in a career in marine science with the whole week showing the highlights of what a marine biologist does. – Trinity 

Thank you to Dr Scott Bennett and his team at UTAS/ IMAS for all of the hard work that went into organising this fantastic opportunity. 

If you are a student in Year 11 or 12 in 2023 and this sounds like something that you would enjoy completing, or you are interested in a career in Marine Biology, please contact Mr Luke Wescombe, Careers Co-ordinator or Mrs Rachael McFarlane-Shires, Extension Learning Co-ordinator.