Grey Nurse Shark Watch

To assess the population of the grey nurse shark in South East Queensland, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services is asking the help of the community to help count the number of grey nurse sharks. Where custodian of specific dive sites will help count the grey nurse sharks once or twice a year.

UniDive is custodian of Wolf Rock at Double Island Point and of Flat Rock at Point Look Out.

Find more information on:

Grey Nurse Shark Habitat Mapping Project (2002-2004)

Mapping the habitats of the critically endangered Grey Nurse Shark in South East Queensland funded by Threatened Species Network in 2003 see video:

Little is known about Grey Nurse Shark critical habitats or why they select particular sites to aggregate. This project has addressed part of this deficiency by mapping critical habitats, gathering species inventories and developing protocols for ecological monitoring of critical habitats in southern Queensland, thus assisting stakeholders to define and effectively manage these critical habitats. In 2002 members of UniDive applied successfully for World Wide Fund for Nature, Threatened Species Network funds to map the critical Grey Nurse Shark Habitats in south east Queensland.

UniDive members used the funding to survey, from the boats of local dive operators, Wolf Rock at Double Island Point, Gotham, Cherub's Cave, Henderson's Rock and China Wall at North Moreton and Flat Rock at Point Look Out during 2002 and 2003. These sites are situated along the south east Queensland coast and are known to be key Grey Nurse Shark aggregation sites.

During the project UniDive members were trained in mapping and survey techniques that include identification of fishes, invertebrates and substrate types. Training was conducted by experts from the University of Queensland (Centre of Marine Studies, Biophysical Remote Sensing) and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service who are also unidive members. The monitoring methods (see methods) are based upon results of the Unidive Coastcare project from 2002, the international established Reef Check program and research conducted by Biophysical Remote Sensing and the Centre of Marine Studies.

The outcomes (see results) of the project are helping the community; environmental managers and scientist to better understand and effectively manage grey nurse sharks and their critical habitats in southeast Queensland. In addition, maps of each of the critical habitats were developed and are available on the web for the dive community and other interested parties. It is intended that these maps will assist with more accurate recordings of grey nurse shark sightings and underwater navigation around these popular dive sites.

For further information contact the volunteer project coordinators: Chris Roelfsema (


The methods for conducting the surveys are derived from projects conducted by the Centre of Marine Studies and Biophysical Remote Sensing Group at UQ, Reef Check and the UniDive Coastcare project. The methods are described in the methods manual (Methods Manual).

Volunteers were trained at regular gatherings where experts present easy to understand techniques for surveying and identification of marine life at the project locations.

All dives were conducted from either MV Esperance Star (Trevor Jackson)for North Moreton Sites or Point Look Out SCUBA (Ken Holzheimer)for Flat Rock and Wolf Rock.

Quality assurance of data collection was established by testing the volunteers using tests (knowledge quizes) and by replicating transect data within the field.

Final Report Title: "Surveying habitats critical to the survival of grey nurse sharks in south-east Queensland."

Report (See UniDive Documents for download)
Authors: Susannah Ford, Melissa Langridge, Chris Roelfsema, Carley Bansemer, Simon Pierce, K-Le Gomez, Ida Fellegara, Kathryn McMahon, Marianne Keller, Karen Joyce, Nadia Aurish, Cameron Prebble. All members of UniDive (The University of Queensland Underwater Club).


UniDive volunteers for the use of their time and excellent effort to make the project a success.

World Wide Fund for Nature, Threatened Species Network, for the funding. The Threatened Species Network is a community-based program of the Commonwealth Government’s Natural Heritage Trust and WWF Australia.
Biophysical Remote Sensing Group at the University of Queensland for the use of their software and hardware, survey equipment, knowledge and expertise in monitoring marine habitats.
Centre of Marine Studies at the University of Queensland for their contribution of knowledge and expertise in coral, fish and invertebrate science.
Marine Botany (part of the Centre of Marine Studies) for the use of their soft and hardware, survey equipment, knowledge and expertise in ecological health monitoring, communication and Marine Plant identification.
National Parks and Wildlife, Queensland Government, for the use of survey equipment, permanent markers, knowledge and expertise in marine parks challenges and fish science and funding video transect analysis.
Reef Check, for their knowledge and expertise in voluntary surveying techniques and methods.
Ken Holzheimer, Point Lookout Scuba Dive Charters, ph. 0409 489 957, for the excellent accommodation and logistical support to and from the dive sites.
Noosa Blue Water Dive Centre for their support for the Wolf Rock trip, ph. 07 5447 1300.
Nautilus Scuba Centre for the donation of lift bags to positions the permanent markers, ph, 07 3870 0800.
Esperance Star and Trevor Jackson for the excellent accommodation and logistical support to and from the North Moreton dive sites, ph. 0428 158 985.
Island Transport Pty Ltd for the discounted transport of the cars to Stradbroke Island from Red Land Bay, ph. 07 3829 0008.