Friday, November 6, 2009

#18: Finding hidden seadragons for science

For being such an iconic and extraordinary looking fish, our knowledge about seadragon life history is surprisingly limited. This is largely a result of their cryptic nature. You can imagine trying to undertake something as simple as trying to do a census to understand how many dragons there are in a given area.

Weedy seadragon in weeds (Photo: Jeremy Brodt)

Just spotting a cryptic species like a seadragon is a challange (just look at the photos above) let alone making sure that you get an accurate count of all the animals living in a given area.

Several years ago there was a program called Dragon Search (which we highlighted on one our graphic panels adjacent to our exhibit at the aquarium) that employed the help of local divers and beach goers to report seadragon sightings. While this wasn't a "scientific" assessment it did provide lots of valuable information about what habitats, depths, and locations sea dragons were being found in and what times of the year eggs were being seen and where/when juveniles were being spotted.

After this program ended there was still interest about reporting sea dragon sightings and the program still continues under Reef Watch's Feral or In Peril program. All the information gathered from Dragon Search has now been compiled and can be accessed through the Reef Watch website.
If you're interested in learning more I urge you to check out their website for more information.


Facebook Comments


Post a Comment