Jervis Bay smooth stingrays under researcher's spotlight

CITIZEN SCIENCE: Joni Pini-Fitzsimmons with 'Big Momma' during fieldwork conducted late last year at Woollamia. The researcher is encouraging community members to become involved with a project.
CITIZEN SCIENCE: Joni Pini-Fitzsimmons with 'Big Momma' during fieldwork conducted late last year at Woollamia. The researcher is encouraging community members to become involved with a project.

Anyone interested in stingray activity in Jervis Bay is encouraged to become involved with a local research project. 

Joni Pini-Fitzsimmons is a Masters of Research candidate at Macquarie University.

She’s studying the behaviour, social networks and movements of smooth stingrays throughout the Jervis Bay Marine park, in conjunction with Fisheries NSW.

Ms Pini-Fitzsimmons’ research involves visually tagging the stingrays that forage on fish scraps discarded by fishermen at the Woollamia boat ramp, as well as collating sighting data from the public from other parts of the bay to identify the key areas the stingrays are using.

“The local community can provide invaluable local knowledge regarding species, trends and areas of interest.

Joni Pini-Fitzsimmons

Ms Pini-Fitzsimmons is hoping local community members will be able to assist in her research. 

“The local community can provide invaluable local knowledge regarding species, trends and areas of interest,” she said. 

“Locals can also be actively involved in data collection by reporting sightings or information of interest to researchers who cannot be in the field every day due to the logistical and financial constraints of research.”

Ms Pini-Fitzsimmons said the Jervis Bay Divers Club is interested in becoming involved in the project.

The Jervis Bay Maritime Museum also hopes to develop a display for the research detailing how the community can get involved. 

“I would like the community to get involved in my research by reporting sightings of smooth stingrays throughout the greater bay area and providing them with the opportunity to share with me any personal knowledge or experiences they have had with smooth stingrays within the bay,” Ms Pini-Fitzsimmons said. 

Log stingray sightings here.

For more information contact Joni at joni.pini-fitzsimmons@hdr.mq.edu.au