Introduction and STUDY OUTLINE:

Gulf St Vincent is the eastern of the two gulfs that punctuate the South Australian coast line. Its entrance is opposite Nepean Bay and Penneshaw, both of which are on Kangaroo Island, and it extends as far north as Port Wakefield. Matthew Flinders named the gulf on 30 March 1802 after John Jervis, the first Earl of St Vincent. On his elevation to the peerage, Jervis chose ‘the Earl of St Vincent’ for his title as he had commanded the British fleet that won a decisive battle against the Spanish off Cape St Vincent, south-west Portugal, in 1797.

During the last glaciation you could walk to Adelaide from Edithburgh as the sea level was over 100 metres lower than now. It rose some 1-1.6m metres above present levels about 5,000 years ago, then lowered to the present level. So sea level change is part of natural climate change and whilst mankind also has an impact, we need to understand and prepare for both.
As far as I am aware no previous study has been made of the marine Protists, Prokaryotes and Archaea of the Edithburgh region of the St Vincent Gulf of South Australia. This study was commenced in December 2014 and aims to produce a digital image record of the marine Protists, Prokaryotes and Archaea of this region along with various environmental data, observations and ecological conclusions.

Coobowie Aquatic Reserve and Salt Swamp Creek.

I must emphasize that whilst the first part of this study is to establish a base-line, this is not just a base-line study. It is about monitoring change and developing ecological models and comparing two distinct estuarine systems in South Australia, Coobowie Aquatic Reserve and Point Davenport Estuary. This study is part of a body of work which in late 2016 became part of a PhD at the School of Animal and Vet Science The University of Adelaide.


Samples are taken using a number of methods including:
1. Surface water samples
2. Plankton net samples
3. Collection of algal samples
4. Collection of sediment samples
5. Sediment core samples
6. Skin and Scuba Diving collection
7. Plates, slides and coverslips submersed to collect adhering organisms
8. Deeper (50-150m) sampling using various methods.
Samples are recorded where possible using the following data:
1. Date
2. Time
3. GPS location
4. Tide
5. Water Temp
6. Salinity
7. Dissolved Oxygen
8. Sample site photo
9. Wind
10. Weather
11. Sample Method.
Samples are collected and imaged as follows:
1. Stored in clean glass bottles or plastic buckets
2. Returned to the laboratory as soon as possible
3.Kept at as close to the ambient collection temperature as possible. Various techniques are used to collect protists, and these will be described in later additions.
4. Samples were imaged within an hour of collection and then at regular intervals over a few days.

Microscopy: The following microscopes and techniques are used:
1. Olympus BX 53 Differential Interference Contrast and Darkfield research microscope with Olympus SC100 10.2M colour microscopy camera.
2. Image Capture, recording and processing is carried out using Olympus Dimension Software and Photoshop CS.
3. Meopta Darkfield-Microscope with Canon D7 Digital camera.
4. Stereo-Microscope with digital camera.
5. Various staining and narcotising techniques.
Taxonomy and Identification:
The taxonomy of protists is, and has been for over a century in a state of flux. In this study for lack of any clear alternative I use the Illustrated Guide to the Protozoa, 2nd Ed 2000, Vol I & II. Prof D.J. Patterson has through many communications helped me to sort out the tricky ones. I have also consulted the following and many other works: Urtiere oder Protozoa A.Kahl 1931. Protistology K. Hausmann et al 2003, The Ciliated Protozoa, D, H. Lynn 3rd Ed 2010, Protozoology, R, R, Kudo 5th Ed 1977, The Biology and Ecology of Tintinnid Ciliates, John R. Dolan et al 2013, along with numerous other books, journals and monographs.
Acknowledgements: The author wishes to acknowledge the following:
First and foremost my wife Jinny, who sacrificed a new kitchen for a research microscope and continues to put up with smelly water in the house.

Professor David Patterson for his continuing support, insights and encouragement, Michael Hughes of Olympus Microscopes, The Adelaide Centre for Microscopy, Lynette Waterhouse and Dr Agatha Alibrinidis  The staff of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, in particular Dr Virginia P. Edgecomb.

Finally I thank the Gulf of St Vincent without which I would have nothing to study. A place where we love to swim, snorkle, scuba, fish, walk beside. Without which the livelihood and enjoyment of many towns and fishermen in the Gulf St Vincent would cease. Hopefully the Gulf will provide inspiration to the next generation of marine scientists who swim, build sand castles and collect shells along her shores.

By understanding the protists we understand the primary produces of the oceans and thus the food chain which sustains all life in our oceans and coastal ecosystems.


Microscope Images and notes on the Salt Swamp Creek Protists, Prokaryotes and other plankton are found in the post ” Protists of Salt Creek Swamp”.

Study Area satellite image with place names 3

PLATE1: Satellite Image showing location of study area and main place names.


Sultana Beach Collection Area 1

PLATE 2: Sultana Beach Collection Area 1.


PLATE 2: Sultana Beach looking north at low tide March 2015.

Saltana beach low tide weed beds

PLATE 3: Sultana Beach looking South over exposed weed beds.

Perspective view over Salt Creek Swamp looking East to Adelaide

PLATE 3: Google Earth image over Salt Creek Swamp looking east towards Adelaide.
Cobowie Salt Swamp Creek satellie image

PLATE 4: 2013 Google Earth satellite Image of Salt Swamp Creek Reserve Collection area.

Salt Creek Aquatic Reserve Map

PLATE 5: Map of Coobowie Aquatic Reserve.
The Coobowie Aquatic Reserve was declared for the ‘Protection of important fish nursery habitats.’ The reserve consists of two areas which are both located to the south and south west respectively of the town:

Area 1: Is the area of Salt Creek Bay north of a line from Giles Points to a causeway on the west side of the Bay and

Area 2: A small estuary known as Salt Swamp Creek located to the west side of both Salt Creek Bay and the causeway. In Area 1, the following activities are permitted – fishing from boat or shore using rod and line or hand line, collecting bait from the beach, boating, diving and swimming. In Area 2, the following activities are prohibited – fishing or the collection or removal of any marine organisms without a permit. My Permit number is MR00044-1.

 Salt Swamp Creek looking west

PLATE 6: View of Salt Swamp Creek looking West from the old causeway.

Salt Swamp Creek old causeway looking north.

PLATE 7: Old Causeway looking north to the township of Coobowie

Looking NE from old to new causeway in the distance

PLATE 8: Old causeway looking NE seaward and the new causeway.

Old causeway water flow pipes

PLATE 9: Old causeway water flow pipes at low tide.

Plankton Net Tow 3 with JD incomming tide

PLATE 10: Plankton net sampling incoming tide at old causeway.

Sites 1 2 and 3

PLATE 11: Sites 1, 2 and 3.

Coobowie inlet aerial_ Subimage showing floating filamentous algae distribution 7508

PLATE 12: 2015 aerial imagery over AREA 2 showing areas of bright green floating filamentous algal mats.

Imagery courtesy of District Council Yorketown.

ALGAL MAT 1 P1040692

PLATE 13: Algal mats at site 1 in plate 11.


The results of this ongoing PhD research will be published in a number of conferences and journals over the next few years. Images and comments will also be published on this web site. The Author looks forward to feedback from protistologists, marine biologists and amateur enthusiasts alike.

Images and notes on the Salt Swamp Creek Protists, Prokaryotes and other plankton are found in the post ” Protists of Salt Creek Swamp”.