Home' InDaily : July 29th 2010 Contents Vol21No6July2010|3
Researching great white shark tourism
Scientists and South Australian cage-diving
operators are collaborating in a world-first
project to ensure the State's eco-tourism
activities take good care of Australia's
protected white sharks.
The research, led by Flinders University and
SARDI shark ecologist, Dr Charlie Huveneers,
will provide important information to help the
State Government manage the growing
industry which relies on the survival of the
threatened species. Its outcomes will also help
inform similar cage diving operations around
the world in places such as New Zealand,
South Africa and Mexico.
Dr Huveneers' team and cage operators are
working together over the next year to tag ten
white sharks which inhabit the area around
Australia's main cage-diving operations off the
remote Neptune Islands, 75 kilometres from
Port Lincoln. Two 3.5 metre white sharks have
been tagged to date.
"Berleying activities at the Neptune Islands
have recently been increasing. However, the
impacts of such activities are still poorly
understood, and there is a need to
investigate how berleying might affect
white shark behaviour and movements,"
Dr Huveneers said.
"Previous studies in South Africa indicated that
white sharks became 'habituated' to berleying
rather than 'conditioned'. As a result, sharks
might become less attracted to berley," he said.
"The white shark cage-diving industry at the
Neptune Islands attracts a large amount of
tourism to South Australia and Port Lincoln.
It is important to ensure that this industry is
sustainable and that it does not negatively
impact on the white shark population
frequenting the Neptune Islands.
"Sharks also play an important role in the
ecosystem with the removal of top
predators having been shown to cause
cascading effects down the food web."
"Our research will hopefully provide
crucial data which will help the
Department for Environment and
Dr Charlie Huveneers prepares to attach an acoustic tag to a great white
Heritage and PIRSA Fisheries to assess if
the current level of berleying undertaken
by the white shark cage-diving industry
around the Neptune Islands is impacting
on shark behaviour."
Dr Huveneers says the team is using
fine-scale positioning technology
accurate to within one metre to track the
sharks. Sharks are tagged with an
acoustic tag as they swim past the boat
allowing researchers to record their
positions in relation to the cage-diving
boats for a period of up to 45 days.
Photo: Patrice Héraud
New coating an end to rusty steel the coating in real time, eliminating
processes of trial and error, and allowing
for optimal performance to be closely
monitored and established. We are
confident we can develop a silane
coating for steel within 18 months."
Associate Professor Matisons said it
might take another three years before
the product could be commercialised.
Brockovich highlighted, is highly toxic.
It is already banned in many countries.
And the price of zinc has increased up to
400 per cent in the past decade, reducing
its price advantage," Associate Professor
"Silanes are readily available as a
by-product of the manufacture of goods
ranging from silicon chips to solar panels."
The researchers have already applied for
patents for two silane coatings
successfully used on aerospace
aluminium alloys and magnesium.
"The magnesium coating has
anti-corrosive properties much greater
than chrome-based coatings,"
Associate Professor Matisons said.
Unlike chrome and zinc plating, however,
a silane-coupling agent needs to be
chemically tailored to suit each different
metal and alloy. "We have developed a
new way of monitoring the formation of
Flinders University researchers are
developing an anti-rust coating that
promises to be safer, cheaper and more
effective in reducing the corrosion of steel
than chrome and zinc galvanised plating.
Associate Professor in Nanotechnology
Janis Matisons from the School of
Chemical and Physical Sciences and
researchers from Monash University and
industry partner, Orrcon Operations Pty
Ltd -- one of Australia's largest suppliers
of steel pipe and tubing -- are working to
make and apply new silane coupling
agents that adhere to steel surfaces.
The project has just been awarded a
$430,000 Australian Research Council
Linkage Grant and, if successful, the
new coating will help boost Australian
"Until recently, chrome and zinc have
been the coatings of choice because of
their effectiveness and low cost. But
chrome, as environmental activist Erin
Searching for new corrosion resistant coatings
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