3000 species make Sydney Harbour beautiful beneath the surface too

Sydney Harbour’s natural beauty is thanks to its healthy ecosystem, say Sydney researchers—and it’s one of the most diverse harbour ecosystems in the world.

“Sydney Harbour has over 3000 species of fish, plants, molluscs and other marine life,” says Paul Gribben, deputy director of the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS) Sydney Harbour Research Program.

“A lot of the harbour species are filter feeders and they’re important in keeping the water clear and removing excess nutrients and pollutants. Without this biodiversity, the harbour would be much more stressed and have much poorer water quality.”

The past, present and future of Sydney Harbour and its marine ecological mysteries will be explored by Paul and his colleagues A/Prof Emma Johnston and Prof David Booth, at an Ultimo Science Festival public lecture on Thursday August 16.

“Sydney has a very large human population around the harbour itself, but despite that, it continues to support this very diverse community with a large range of species.”

The SIMS Research Program is focused on how to make the harbour more resilient to climate change, urbanisation and other challenges, Paul says.

Paul, Emma and David will give an Ultimo Science Festival public lecture at 6pm, Thursday 16 August, at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) Great Hall, 15 Broadway, Ultimo.

About the speakers

Dr Paul Gribben

Paul Gribben is a Research Fellow with the UTS Plant Functional Biology and Climate Change Cluster, and Deputy Director of the SIMS Sydney Harbour Research Program. He’s a marine community ecologist who investigates the effects of man-made stressors on biodiversity.

Professor David Booth

UTS marine ecologist David Booth seeks to understand how fishes live and respond to human pressures, including pollution, climate change, fishing and artificial structures. His special focus is on the annual influx of coral reef fishes into Sydney Harbour and NSW waters generally.

Associate Professor Emma Johnston

Emma Johnston is an Australian Research Fellow at the University of New South Wales and the inaugural Director of the SIMS Sydney Harbour Research Program. She investigates human impacts under the sea and her research is conducted in Antarctica, the Great Barrier Reef and Sydney Harbour.

For interviews, contact Dr Paul Gribben on 0410 768 577, Paul.Gribben@uts.edu.au or Frankie Lee on 0419 448 847, frankie@scienceinpublic.com.au.

About the Ultimo Science Festival

Ultimo Science Festival 2012 is 11 days of science on Harris St, Sydney: talks, activities, workshops, comedy, exhibitions and films for all ages.  More information at www.ultimosciencefestival.com