biodiversity

Picturing biodiversity, part two

By Tyler Stiem

Humbug damselfish

Humbug damselfish

More photos of Danajon Bank’s wild array of reef fishes from expedition photographers Michael Ready and Claudio Contreras. Today the duo is headed out to explore the seagrass beds and mangrove forests that circle some of the tiny islands on the inner part of the reef.

Watch this space for more great biodiversity as well as stories by the entire team on community-run marine protected areas, the sustainable aquarium trade, and blast fishing, where fishers using dynamite to blow up sections of the reef for larger catches.

Pufferfish

Pufferfish

Pajama cardinalfish

Pajama cardinalfish

Three-spot damselfish

Three-spot damselfish

Unidentified crab species

Unidentified crab species

Picturing biodiversity, part one

By Tyler Stiem

Crocodile flathead.

Crocodile flathead.

Threatened though it may be, Danajon Bank is home to many hundreds of fish species and many more corals, invertebrates, and other marine life. One of the purposes of the expedition is to capture the reef’s impressive but dwindling biodiversity before it’s too late. Food security is a pressing issue here, which means that, as a matter of survival, local fishers will target just about any sized fish. The animals are captured for food or for the international aquarium trade.

This week, photographers Michael Ready and Claudio Contreras Koob are putting in 16-hour days on the reef. They dive before dawn and come back to shore after nightfall in order to document everything from the otherworldly menace of the crocodile flathead to the regal beauty of the mandarin fish.

Here are a few of their early shots:

Winged pipefish.

Winged pipefish.

Mandarinfish

Mandarinfish

Nudibranche

Nudibranche

Copper-banded butterflyfish

Copper-banded butterflyfish