Many Australians have had a painful bluebottle sting when swimming at the beach, yet little is known what oceanographic conditions bring bluebottles to our shores.
The bluebottle (Physalia physalis) is a colonial cnidarian that floats on the ocean surface and is is transported by the ocean currents and the wind. The float (also known as the sail) comes in left and right-handed forms, with each form predicted to move in different directions relative to the wind. The different forms are easily observed on beach stranded individuals, but no data exist in Australia on the abundance of each form.
Observations from beachgoers on readily available digital platforms provide an outstanding opportunity to learn more about the distribution and timing of bluebottles on our shores. Data from citizen science programs can then be integrated into oceanographic models to better predict when bluebottles arrive on our shore and pose a risk to swimmers.
This honours project will:
You’ll benefit through working with a supportive team of UNSW academics.
Through this project, you’ll learn how to:
Supervisors: Prof. Alistair Poore (BEES), Dr Amandine Schaeffer (School of Mathematics and Statistics), Dr Jaz Lawes (Surf Life Saving Australia)