Sloping Island - 2015
In 2015 the HSMT again provided a unique opportunity for two young scientists to participate in a multidisciplinary scientific survey of one of Tasmania’s unique islands. In a first for the program, the Trust selected one volunteer from Australia and one from New Zealand to work alongside Tasmanian specialists.
Sloping Island Survey
Sloping Island is located in Frederick Henry Bay some 25 km south east of Hobart. The Island is part of the Lime Bay State Reserve and is surrounded by the Sloping Island Marine Conservation Area.
The island is a little over 100 hectares, approximately 1.8 km long and 0.8 km wide reaching a height of some 70 m. Much of the shoreline is rocky. The north east coastline is gently sloping and the western coast is steep and rocky. The geology of the island is generally mapped as Permian mudstone in the north and Jurassic dolerite in the south with Quaternary sediments overlying most of the island with bed rock exposures confined to the coast.
Past clearing, firing and grazing have significantly modified the islands native vegetation. A legacy of the island s past use for agricultural purposes is that there are some significant weeds on the island including serrated tussock. Weed control work has been conducted on the island. The island is now managed as a conservation reserve and in the absence of grazing pressure the island is now naturally revegetating.
The vegetation of the island consists of eucalyptus woodland (E. viminalis and E. tenuiramis), sheoak open forest, open and closed heaths dominated by Banksia marginata, sagg-dominated herblands, Poa poiformis tussock grasslands, disturbance-induced bracken fields and succulent herbfields dominated by Tetragonia implexicoma and Carpobrotus rossii.
The island supports breeding populations of little penguins short-tailed shearwaters, Pacific gulls, sooty oystercatchers and pied oystercatchers. There are also kelp gulls, silver gulls, black-faced cormorant, white faced heron, black currawong and swamp harriers. Ringtail possums and rabbits have also been recorded from the island.
The results of the survey will be published in a report and will not only improve the natural values knowledge of Sloping Island but will also provide management recommendations to aid in conservation measures.