In 2000, I was given one of the best awards in marine conservation, a Pew Fellowship. It came with generous funding, which we applied towards work on non-food fisheries and towards obtaining the first global export controls on marine fishes (for seahorses) under CITES. It also came with the most wonderful gift of a meeting each year. But not your ordinary meeting…
After everyone was in, we plunged under - and opened a door to a whole new world, that of a coral reef ! You could actually inspect a fish closely and the words “underwater paradise” would not explain it! If you know the game/app called “Tap tap fish”, it looked just like that.
The October's highlighted observation is of the great seahorse (Hippocampus kelloggi), submitted by iSeahorse user Damaris Torres-Pulliza (@4reefs). Describing this picture as great is a bit of an understatement, actually - Project Seahorse biologist Lily Stanton said it reminded her of the famous Botticelli painting -The Birth of Venus !
This story begins in 1995 with Amanda Vincent and Marivic Pajaro uncovering a global seahorse trade of more than 15 million animals per year. Until then Viet Nam was reportedly a supplier of dried seahorses but little was known about the nature or magnitude of the trade, not to mention the status of the seven species of seahorses found along the shores of Viet Nam.
I was excited to be the opening keynote speaker at the Student Conference on Conservation Science in Bengaluru/Bangalore. Hundreds of aspiring conservationists from South Asia and a few from farther afield gather each year to share professional hopes and nurture ambitious dreams.
Today we had a chat with hope. We were at a dry and somewhat desolate landing beach up the coast from Tuticorin when along came a conservation hero.
September’s featured iSeahorse observation is a jaw-dropping pic of two fused-jawed fish! Many species of seahorse are monogamous and thus often found in pairs, as is the case here.
I’m not sure whether to be enthralled or appalled by the trawl fisheries of southern India. Probably both.
iSeahorse's featured seahorse for Augustis… drumroll please... a mystery!
July’s showcased iSeahorse snapshot features a particularly photogenic Pontoh’s pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus pontohi).
Does banning the catch and trade of a species really help conservation efforts? This is the question that my research with Project Seahorse, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, The University of British Columbia (UBC), explores. I am studying the impact of catch and trade bans on the conservation of incidentally caught marine species, and the livelihoods dependent on them. To understand this, I use the case study of seahorses in India, where the fisheries are poorly regulated.
This is a guest blog by Andaya V, grade 5 student who is passionate about all creatures but especially penguins.
Ghost nets trap and kill more than 3.5 million animals a year. Each and every bit of ghost gear was left, lost, or abandoned, by fishers.
June’s featured seahorse is a giant seahorse (Hippocampus ingens), spied off the coast of Baja, California by iSeahorse user afelix, despite some masterful camouflage.
I’ve just had the most amazing week in Florida, filling my head with wonder and my heart with joy. I wasn’t sure what to expect on my first International SyngBio meeting where hundreds of researchers and professionals from all over the world were set to meet in Tampa, Florida. After all, I am new to the Syngnathid world.
May’s featured iSeahorse observation is of a great seahorse (Hippocampus kelloggi), submitted by an equally great iSeahorse contributor, Andrew Trevor-Jones!
Perhaps, as conservationists, we all need a sense of optimism. How much better to light a candle for the hope of saving wildlife, rather than curse the darkness of humanity.
“Extinction Lasts Forever” reads the colourful poster of a seahorse, wrasse, turtle, and octopus beside my desk at Project Seahorse. It reminds me of the poster hanging in my room as an undergraduate biology student, the one that said, “Protect them: because once they’re gone it’s too late.”
April’s featured iSeahorse observation is a Jayakar’s seahorse (Hippocampus jayakari). This lovely portrait was taken off the coast of Dahab, Egypt, by iSeahorse user poseidon. The username poseidon is certainly apt for a fish-whispering diver, as the Poseidon of Greek mythology is said to ride a chariot pulled by aquatic equines called hippocampi, which allegedly have horse heads and fish tails (sort of like seahorses… or horse mermaids!).
Retired commercial diver (and regular iSeahorse contributor) ken_flan discovered this honey-hued head turner - a short-head seahorse (Hippocampus breviceps) - off the coast of Victoria, Australia.
February’s featured observation is actually three sightings of one bigbelly seahorse (Hippocampus abdominalis), all posted recently by iSeahorse user Andrew Trevor-Jones but recorded over the course of several years off the coast of New South Wales, Australia. This rotund beauty has been dubbed “Rosie”. She was identified as the same individual based on her distinctive spot pattern.