SRAP collaborates in “The enigmatic world of Sharks, Whales and Jellyfish”

SRAP has collaborated in the interactive event “The enigmatic world of Sharks, Whales and Jellyfish“, that was held at Currumbin RSL, Gold Coast (Queensland) on Sunday 20th August 2023. In fact, our SRAP member and coordinator of the SRAP Queensland node and social media, Dr Mariel Familiar López (Griffith University) was the main organiser of this event for Australia’s National Science Week as a 2023 grant recipient. Our member Dr Ana Rubio also participated as one of the key speakers.

Dr Mariel Familiar López (left) and Dr Ana Rubio (right).

Sharks, jellyfish, and whales are iconic marine creatures that spark people’s interest in ocean sciences. This interactive and engaging event brought the experience of marine researchers to lure and submerge young and adult minds into the charisma of marine animals and the science behind them. It provided new ways to learn about the marine environment through creative, conversational presentations and interactive exhibits, bridging the gap between scientists and the local community.

Dr Mariel Familiar López during one of her presentations.

The event also inspired community participation in STEM by highlighting opportunities in local citizen-science projects. It was free for all ages and was held on the Gold Coast as well as live-streamed for online viewing.

Dr Ana Rubio (SRAP) showing an oyster with a digital microscope during the event.


Program of the event “The enigmatic world of Sharks, Whales and Jellyfish”.

Extra information about this event

Griffith University’s Shark research team held an exciting marine science event that was perfect for all ages. The team are passionate about the wonders of marine life and as experience science communicators are excited to share marine research with you.

Our oceans are teeming with a diverse range of organisms, from tiny microscopic creatures to the magnificent blue whale. Come join us as we take you on a journey into the underwater world of the ocean’s most iconic organisms. From awe-inspiring sharks to the mesmerizing jellyfish, and the majestic whales, the participants learnt about their unique characteristics, behaviour and habitats. Community members saw live jellies under the microscope, got hands-on with sharks, touch their skin and teeth and learn how they use our water ways. Participants were also immersed in whale songs sung in the big blue as they rest, play and move along the Gold Coast.

Live presentations connected the participants, the majority from the local community, with researchers sharing important information about marine life and what is happening in our  local marine environment.  Participants enjoyed fascinating underwater videos, learnt about multiple citizen science opportunities, and were engaged to learn more about the wonders of the marine environment.

The event included over ten speakers from different organizations, including Griffith University, Spanish Researchers in Australia Pacific, Explora Risk Medical, University of Sunshine Coast, and several local NGOs. In addition to the engaging line-up of speakers, they showcased First Nations knowledge during the event. The event included the participation of Uncle John Graham, a traditional custodian of the Gold Coast region and a Kombumerri man belonging to the wider Yugambeh Language Group, as one of the key speakers. His presence provided a unique perspective and deepen our understanding of the local culture and its connection to science.

On top of the hands-on activities and amazing informative talks, those seeking to solve the mysteries of the deep were able to immerse themselves in educational talks from expert guest speakers including marine ecologist and shark expert Johan Gustafson and wildlife biologist Mariel Familiar López, whose documentary Bull Shark Bandits recently premiered in National Geographic’s 2023 SharkFest. Mariel says that the event hopefully inspired the community to participate in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). “The Gold Coast has some amazing marine life, and we are inviting everyone who attends our event to interact with and learn more about the ocean by becoming citizen scientists,” said Johan. “At the event, we will be highlighting a number of exciting citizen-science projects that people can get involved in, such as coral, humpback whale and dolphin surveys that help us collect data to better understand the mysterious lives of marine animals.”