Whyalla students’ ‘CuttleCam’ broadcasts the world’s largest giant cuttlefish congregation
The majestic world of giant cuttlefish has been opened up to shows around the world as a student-led project to showcase their underwater habitat goes live.
- Camera feed of giant cuttlefish in South Australian waters streams online
- The project was led by students from Whyalla High School as part of their curriculum.
- Giant cuttlefish congregate near Whyalla in numbers never seen elsewhere in the world
With the support of AusOcean, a nonprofit organization, Grade 9 students at Whyalla High School floated a platform near Stony Point in Spencer Gulf, equipped with underwater cameras and measuring instruments.
Located in a breeding hotspot for giant Australian cuttlefish, which can grow up to 50 centimeters in length and weigh up to 10 kilograms, the camera feed shows the animals climbing algae, soaring and interacting with each other .
âHe’s sitting in about three feet of water, and you can see them floating around, or mating and stuff like that,â Lauren Schwerdt, the school’s science coordinator, told ABC Radio Adelaide.
âThey haven’t been that curious yet, because I don’t think they’ve really noticed (the rig), which is good.
The largest congregation in the world
Giant cuttlefish, which regularly change shape and texture to camouflage themselves with underwater objects, congregate each year along a 10-kilometer stretch of Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park.
Although they are found across the coastal waters of southern Australia and all the way to Queensland and the Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia, the annual congregation in South Africa is considered the largest and most reliable in the world. .
Their numbers typically peak in mid-winter, reaching an estimated high of 247,146 in 2020, double the population of 2019.
This followed what the state government considered an “alarmingly low” tally of just 13,492 in 2013, which led to a permanent ban on all cephalopod fishing in False Bay.
This year, however, the congregation started early, with giant cuttlefish arriving already in mid-April.
Blue Network Program
AusOcean designs open source technology to create a network of sea surface platforms that upload live ocean data to a central ‘cloud’, deploying the components at Whyalla High School as part of its citizen science program, Network Blue.
The students built the platform, including assembling its electronics and testing its hardware and software, and are responsible for monitoring and analyzing its data.
Ms. Schwerdt incorporated the project into the school’s curriculum for grade 9 students, with the 1.5-meter platform also including instruments to measure ocean conditions, such as water temperature and salinity.
But it’s the live camera feed, titled “CuttleCam,” that has so far captured viewers outside of school as they get a glimpse of the turquoise, slow-motion world of underwater marine life. Marine.
The Stony Point CuttleCam can be viewed from AusOcean YouTube Channel.