2018 saw ENV2305 become a core course of the Griffith University Marine Sciences B.Sc. degree, running throughout trimester 2. With an increase in student numbers, it was necessary to find new ways to conduct the boat-based field components of the course.
In 2017, Griffith University partnered with Sea World Gold Coast to expand its research and increase public awareness on marine conservation issues. The 2018 cohort of ENV2305 students became some of the first to enjoy the benefits of this newly established partnership with front row seats as Dr. Trevor Long skippered Seaworld I to shadow a day in the field with ‘the Humpback Whale Sentinel Program’, a circum-Antarctic surveillance program led by Griffith University’s Southern Ocean Persistent Organic Pollutants Program (SOPOPP). Students were treated to a mother and calf humpback whale pair swimming around the vessel, and later in the day caught the tail ends of a “heat run” with 8 whales dispersing following half an hour of high levels of social activity.