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Sea Slug Saga with 2016 Sleek Geeks Science Winner

By: Cara Bevington, Category: Science, Date: 21 Feb 2017

Hear from Hayden Ingle, 2016 Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize (primary school category) winner.

2016 Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize Winner

2016 Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize Winner
Photographer: Daniel O'Doherty © Australian Museum

“I would really encourage all kids to enter the Eureka Prizes. Standing on the stage, getting my prize and surrounded by all these scientists, I could see all these people interested in the future and felt anything could happen!” says 12-year old Hayden Ingle, winner of a 2016 Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize.

Hayden, a passionate snorkeler, underwater photographer, and year 6 student at Banksmeadow Public School used his curiosity about sea creatures to inspire his entry.

“No-one I know had ever heard of a glaucus,” says Hayden. “There is so little known about them. And yet we see them every day at the (Coogee) Swimming Club attached to the blue bottles. I searched on the internet and then finally found something about them in a magazine. So I decided to make a video so more people would know.”

And what a video it was! Hayden’s nan, mum and class teacher encouraged him to enter The Bluebottle and the Glaucus in the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes and Hayden scooped first place in the 2016 University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Primary School category.

So what is a glaucus? Watch Hayden’s video to find out!

Glaucus atlanticus are sea slugs; a type of nudibrand with a gas-inflated sac in their stomach that enables them to float upside down on the ocean’s surface and feed on the bluebottles’ tentacles and then use the poison for their own defence.

To make his video, Hayden edited together underwater stills and footage he had shot over years in the ocean. Since he was 15-months old he has snorkelled off Coogee and also up the coast off Lord Howe Island.

I used to hang off my mum’s back or use a boogie board when I was little,” Hayden says. “Now I go out almost every day before school and after school in the summer and in the holidays.” He hopes to become the next David Attenborough one day!

If you’re in primary or secondary school and have a great science story, discovery or invention you think should be shared, enter the 2017 Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize sponsored by the University of Sydney.

All you need to do is make a 1-3 minute film and you and your school could be in with a chance to win a share of the $10,000 prize pool and a trip to Sydney for the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes Award Dinner.

Find out more at the Eureka Prizes website and remember, entries close 7pm AEST Friday 5 May 2017.

A version of this story first appeared in the Australian Museum’s Explore Magazine - Summer 2016/17, author Melinda Ham.