Sunscreen and Bay marine life



We are all now familiar with the fact that sunscreen is important in helping to protect our skin from sun damage. But what is the sunscreen we are dousing ourselves with doing to the environment?

For some years now, scientists have known that particular active chemicals in some sunscreens have a toxic effect on corals and their development. 

To date, the effects of sunscreen chemicals on organisms in temperate waters such as Port Phillip Bay are still unknown. The bay may not have the number of coral species that the tropics have, but it sure has a lot of other very special marine life: 80% of species are endemic to Port Phillip Bay, meaning that you will not find them anywhere else in the world but here.

RMIT University and the EcoCentre have therefore teamed up to research effects of sunscreen on marine life in the bay.

We are taking water samples in Rye, Elwood and St Kilda over summer, and we are looking for enthusiastic marine lovers who would like to help us. Training provided and fun guaranteed!

Before you sign up to volunteer; Read the information brief here.

Want to stay up to date to find out when and where the sampling days are being held?

Sign up to the project newsletter here. All information will be sent out through this mailing list, so make sure it doesn't land in your spam folder.

Read the first project newsletter, and the second project newsletter.


Rye BeachSt Kilda BeachElwood Beach
(Meet at Rye pier carpark)(Meet at Republica lawn)(Meet at Pt Ormond Cafe)
Saturday18 AugustMonday 6 AugustMonday 6 August
Sunday 19 AugustTuesday 7 AugustTuesday 7 August
Monday 20 AugustMonday 13 AugustMonday 13 August
Tuesday 21 AugustTuesday 14 AugustTuesday 14 August

Sampling time for all locations: 6 am, 10 am, 2 pm, 6 pm.



You are not required to go into the water to take samples. We need volunteers to help pack the samples, take photos and measure environmental variables. You don't have to get wet to science!

Volunteers who do want to take water samples need a minimum 5 mm wetsuit and dive boots.

Registrations are essential due to potential last-minute bad weather cancellations. Contact Fam at and let her know which location and time slots you can help.




This project is funded by the federal Citizen Science Grant