30 de diciembre de 2022

Blue Angelfish out of range

Martin Crossley has done it again!
Here's another fish observed well south of its recognised range.
The Blue Angelfish, Pomacanthus semicirculatus, is 'officially' recorded south to the Houtman Abrolhos Islands in Western Australia (28°30'S). Martin's observation at Rottnest Island is roughly 400 km south of this (32°02'S).
Thank you Martin for bringing the observation to my attention.
Anotado en 30 de diciembre de 2022 a las 04:02 AM por markmcg markmcg | 7 comentarios | Deja un comentario

12 de diciembre de 2022

Hookcheek Dwarfgoby - a new Australian record

In the lead-up to Christmas, I'm very pleased to let you know about another new fish record for Australia.
Anne Hoggett, Director of the Lizard Island Research Station, photographed a small goby in February 2018 and uploaded the observation in June 2020.
There was a fair amount of discussion about the identification of the fish in Anne's observation. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/48519678
South Australian Museum fish guy @rfoster was the first to identify the fish as Eviota ancora. Australian Museum Senior Fellow and goby expert Doug Hoese confirmed the identification.
In addition to this record from Lizard Island, the species is also known from Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines. View the species factsheet at Fishbase, https://fishbase.net.br/summary/Eviota-ancora.html.
Anne's observation of the Hookcheek Dwarfgoby, along with hundreds of other records can also be viewed in the Lizard Island Field Guide. http://lifg.australianmuseum.net.au/Group.html?groupId=6xrC9lae
Anotado en 12 de diciembre de 2022 a las 06:20 AM por markmcg markmcg | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

07 de diciembre de 2022

200,000 observations - Woohoo!

The Australasian Fishes Project has cracked a huge milestone. Our project has passed 200,000 observations.
It happened so fast, I missed it, as evidenced by the image above which shows the number of observations to be 200,003.
I give you all a hearty virtual pat on the back. Thank you so much for your contribution which has built not only an impressive database but also a great online community.
The graph below shows the growth in number of observations over time. As you can see the project is going from strength to strength.
Keep up the great work team! :)
Anotado en 07 de diciembre de 2022 a las 05:28 AM por markmcg markmcg | 4 comentarios | Deja un comentario

28 de noviembre de 2022

Member profile - Jens Sommer-Knudsen

I was recently diving at a well-known Sydney dive spot, called Shiprock, on the Hacking River, south of Sydney. Shiprock is a unique marine environment, in a country full of unique marine environments. The reason for the dive was to take photos for another iNaturalist project, the Sydney Sea Slug Census November 2022. (https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/sydney-sea-slug-census-november-2022). If you cannot find a sea slug at Shiprock, you’re not trying.
While drifting around, slightly shivering, I had two thoughts. Firstly, I was thinking about the attraction of citizen science and how important observations of life on the planet can be to promoting our understanding of the world. Diving in cold water, looking for tiny nudibranch can be uncomfortable work, but it was still personally rewarding. Secondly, I thought about how fortunate I was to be able to pursue such citizen science projects so close to Sydney. As I was born overseas, I could appreciate how fortunate we are to have intriguing locations, so close to a major city. This view is often expressed by AF members, especially those who originate from overseas, and who learned to dive in less diverse environments. An example is the subject of this Bio Blurb project member, Dr. Jens Sommer-Knudsen (view Jens' profile). Jens has 1,200 observations in Australasian Fishes, covering 535 species, however, for iNaturalist he has recorded 3,465 observations and assisted in 4,545 identifications.
As you might guess, Jens has always been interested in science, technology and the natural world, growing up in Denmark (and initially Germany) and obtaining a SCUBA license at age 16. He began diving in Denmark and Sweden, with a long break until he moved to Australia in 1992. The rest, as they say, is history.
Jens tells us, “Initially I was considering a career in marine science but enrolled in a degree in chemical engineering as back then job prospects were better in chemistry. However, I still gravitated towards biology and specialized in biochemistry and downstream processing, purifying proteins from biological materials. After graduation I started working in industry in a company producing agarose (a hydrogel used in life science research and biotechnology) from seaweed, but after a couple of years I returned to academia, first doing research on molecular plant pathology before getting a scholarship at The University of Melbourne and doing a PhD in molecular biology and biochemistry at the School of Botany. At university I joined the diving club and got involved in the committee and went diving on a regular basis; I even bought a Nikonos IV and took photos until it flooded (one day I might dig up my old photos and post them on iNat…). My career has since taken me back and forth between industry and universities and I now do research and consulting in the life sciences, especially pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, biomaterials and food. Recently I have also become involved in a company focusing on making products from cultured Australian seaweeds.”
Diving has become a passion for Jens, already diving in around 30 different countries and overseas territories. Like me, he has developed an appreciation for what Australia has to offer in diversity, telling us, “I have dived or snorkeled in all states and territories apart from Canberra; the biological diversity in this country is amazing and I don’t think there are any other countries where you can see so many different aquatic species. I am trying to dive as many places in Australia as possible and have so far done a lot on the eastern coastline down from Tasmania (including King Island and Flinders Island) up through Victoria, NSW (including Lord Howe Island), Queensland (e.g. Heron Island, Lady Musgrave and the Coral sea on a liveaboard), Norfolk Island, snorkeling in billabongs in the NT (very selectively…), diving on Ningaloo Reef, the Navy pier in Exmouth, Rottnest Island down further south and a bit of snorkeling in South Australia.”
What is equally as impressive about Jens is his dedication to citizen science. While I contribute photos as time allows, Jens has truly made citizen science an active part of his life. He joined the Underwater Research Group of NSW some years ago and tries to participate in as many citizen science projects as possible. He tells us, “I joined URG because of my interest in marine research as well as to learn more about marine biology. URG is one of the few dive clubs that “dive with a purpose”, which I find very appealing. I have recently been appointed the research officer and am now trying to expand our academic and industry contacts to develop, or be a part of, new research projects with high impact. URG NSW was founded in 1956 and the club has some valuable historical observations, including, for example, 12-hour surveys conducted at Shiprock all the way back in 1966 (https://www.urgdiveclub.org.au). A number of members are certified for Reef Life Surveys (RLS) (https://reeflifesurvey.com) which is a quite challenging, but rewarding citizen science activity, generating data that gets included in scientific publications. Some very experienced URG members regularly train aspiring RLS divers to become proficient in conducting these surveys and participate in RLS surveys not only around Sydney but also places like Jervis Bay and Lord Howe Island. URG has a dive boat that can take up to 6 divers and a skipper, and it is used nearly every weekend (weather permitting) for various research projects as well as pleasure dives. In addition, the club and its members are involved in other projects such as Dragons of Sydney (Weedy Sea Dragons), Sea Slug census, Grey Nurse Projects and a number of our members also contribute to the Shiprock project, as well as clean-up dives. In the past we have been involved in Marine Debris surveys, Balmoral net marine growth monitoring, collecting cuttlefish eggs for university research projects, and more. For future projects we are, amongst other things, looking at getting involved in monitoring biodiversity at marinas, assisting research and surveys relating to seaweeds and potentially looking at some marine archaeology projects as well. Outside of URG I have participated in Citizen science projects in Victoria (e.g., invasive sea stars in Port Phillip Bay), recording marine biodiversity in East Timor (Timor Leste) and participating in coral reef restauration in Indonesia.”
Jens’s diving has been worked in with his professional schedule and other factors such as lockdowns. He tries to go diving at least a couple of times every month and takes one or two dive trips to other parts of NSW and Australia every year. Even when diving for fun, Jens says, “Whenever I find some interesting observations or good photos, I post them on iNat. I learned about iNat from other members of URG, and my first postings were from Shiprock. One of the aspects of participating in a citizen science project, such as Australasian Fishes, that I really like, is that one can contribute to expanding knowledge about distribution of marine species and help to document the effects of warming of the ocean. Many research projects have limited resources to do surveys, and this is definitely an area where citizen scientists can provide a very significant and important input – quite a few projects would not work without the commitment and effort of volunteer scientists! I have personally had the good luck to have some of my observations included in local field guides, and in some cases I have observed species that had not previously been seen in those locations and as such documented an extension of the known range. I think it is great that iNat encourages so many people and citizen scientists to become interested in, and document the natural world. While it can be a bit daunting to identify observations at first, one would be surprised how quickly one learns and sometimes it can become a bit of an obsession to be able to figure out what rare species one has found… I now have a significant library of books to help me identify the species I find, but even then, I occasionally manage to find species that are not described in the books – which is quite exciting… When this happens, there is very often an experienced iNaturalist contributor who can help identify these cryptic species. I’m still amazed by the extensive knowledge some of the members have and how willing they are to share their knowledge and time – it really feels like your part of a dedicated and friendly community!”
While I am grateful that Australian Fishes is a successful citizen science project and that it has attracted people like Jens to contribute to our growing database, learning about members such as Jens, is very inspirational. Such participants have seamlessly integrated citizen science into their own lives, finding the occasional synergy with their professional endeavours as well as their individual hobbies, interests and passions. There is no doubt that the efforts of individuals like Jens, and organizations like URG, along with other citizen research groups, will pay massive dividends as the databases grow and the periods of study and observations increase. Like Jens, I have heard from other project members who actively seek opportunities to expand their engagement in citizen science, finding both enjoyment and personal fulfillment from recording, in a meaningful way, the natural environment for current and future study. At Australasian Fishes, we hope to publicize more of such opportunities, where members can join other projects and contribute to science to the extent they desire. I’d write more, but I see a sea slug which needs to be recorded.
This journal post was written by Australasian Fishes member, Harry Rosenthal.
Anotado en 28 de noviembre de 2022 a las 12:39 AM por markmcg markmcg | 3 comentarios | Deja un comentario

16 de noviembre de 2022

Monster Shrimpgoby - a new Australian record

On 29 October 2022 Alex Hoschke was diving under the Navy Pier at Exmouth, WA, when she observed a shrimpgoby she didn't recognize.
Alex stated, "I love stalking shrimpgobies and trying to get close enough to get a good photo, and although we know of at least five other species of shrimpgobies under the Navy Pier, this one looked different and was really shy. The first time I saw it I couldn't get anywhere near close enough, but I came back a bit later on during the dive and it eventually got used to me and I got a photo. I later struggled to identify the species from Australian records. I was pretty excited when Roberto Pillon (@rpillon) identified it on inat and it was a first record for Australia. Cool name too - although it wasn't very big!"
World goby expert Dr Doug Hoese was consulted to make doubly sure of the identification. He replied, "That is what everyone is calling oni from the tropical Pacific. It is a little different in coloration from Japanese material, although there is a lot of variation with size and substrate, so the Australian material may or may not be a different species, but for now calling it Tomiyamichthys oni seems to be the best call."
Thank you Alex for uploading your observation and for your ongoing support of the Australasian Fishes Project.
Now is probably a good time to let readers know that Alex is co-author of the Perth Coast and Rottnest Island Fish Books (buy them here). She is currently working with Dr Glen Whisson (@glen_whisson) on a Ningaloo Coast / Exmouth Gulf Fish ID book.
Anotado en 16 de noviembre de 2022 a las 12:38 AM por markmcg markmcg | 3 comentarios | Deja un comentario

27 de octubre de 2022

Have you seen this fish?

I am Ana Gaisiner and I'm a Field Associate at the California Academy of Sciences under the direction of Dr. Alison Gould. Part of my project involves diving in search of Siphonfish, genus Siphamia. They are a group of tiny cardinalfish that exhibit bioluminescence though symbiosis with light producing bacteria.
Mark suggested I enlist some help from the fabulous Australasian Fishes Project divers to record any sightings of Siphonfish. Some species such as the Urchin Cardinalfish, S. tubifer can be found hiding in the spines of tropical sea urchins for protection from predators. The Wood's Siphonfish, S. cephalotes, inhabit temperate kelp beds of coastal Australia, while the Pinkbreasted Siphonfish, S. rosiegaster (image above) has a more tropical range and can be found around piers and under other structures.
So if you happen across these little wonders (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?taxon_id=92086) please snap a photo or two and post them on iNaturalist. Any details about the habitat, depth, time of day, the number of individuals etc. would be greatly appreciated too!
For more information you can contact me via iNaturalist @anagaisiner or via email, agaisiner@gmail.com.
If you would like to learn more about our work check out our recent publications at https://alisongould40.com/publications/
Anotado en 27 de octubre de 2022 a las 02:16 AM por markmcg markmcg | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

26 de octubre de 2022

More on Mangrove Whiprays

Keen readers of the Australasian Fishes Project blog will recall a previous journal post about sound production in Mangrove Whiprays, Himantura granulata. https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/australasian-fishes/journal/14192-rays-gettin-some-rays
A second journal entry posted over four years later reported that a paper on sound production in wild stingrays had been published. https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/australasian-fishes/journal/68418-australasian-fishes-project-acknowledged-in-noisy-stingray-paper
I've written this short post to let readers know that Javier has uploaded his excellent photos of Mangrove Whiprays to his website. I encourage you to have a look. https://javierdelgadoesteban.com/mangrove-whiprays
Anotado en 26 de octubre de 2022 a las 04:46 AM por markmcg markmcg | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

19 de octubre de 2022

Marine Biodiversity in Southern Sydney Harbour Project

Welcome to our new project, sponsored by Blue World (http://www.blueworld.net.au/about/) with a prize in the namesake of Valerie Taylor, the iconic Sydney-based ocean conservationist (if you haven’t already done so, DO check out her documentary https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11226258/). The upcoming Marine Biodiversity of Southern Sydney Harbour project will be led by me, Dr Joseph DiBattista, humble Curator of Fishes at the Australian Museum (https://australian.museum/get-involved/staff-profiles/joseph-dibattista/).
The primary aim of this community-focused project is to increase marine biodiversity observations in southern Sydney Harbour at Parsley Bay, Camp Cove (Watsons Bay), and Shark Beach (Nielsen Park). Feel free to join this project as a member if you are an existing participant of iNaturalist. See link to the iNaturalist Collection Project here: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/marine-biodiversity-of-southern-sydney-harbour
Despite the importance of these three recreational zones in southern Sydney Harbour, there is a paucity of baseline data regarding their resident marine fauna. Indeed, based on historical records documented on Atlas of Living of Australia (https://www.ala.org.au/), there are approximately 500 fish records from all three sites combined across a 150-year period (1868- 2021), compared to approximately 40,000 records within the Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve just outside of Sydney Harbour since declaring it a No Take Aquatic Reserve in 2002. At least that was the case when I surveyed the databases last year, and that’s just accounting for the fishes. We really do need your help to balance the record books!
Despite a paucity of biological survey data at these three recreational zones, we suspect that they are important refuges for threatened species in southern Sydney Harbour, including fishes in the Syngnathidae family (seahorses, pipefishes, pipehorses, and seadragons), the protected Eastern Blue Groper (Achoerodus viridis) and Eastern Blue Devil (Paraplesiops bleekeri), and range-restricted species, such as the Red-fingered Anglerfish (Porophryne erythrodactylus). As one obvious example, an endangered seahorse species White’s Seahorse (Hippocampus whitei)that has been the focus of recent habitat recovery initiatives in Sydney Harbour (i.e., Seahorse Hotels) is a known resident of these sites, predominantly found on man-made swimming nets such as those deployed at Shark Beach and Parsley Bay. The nets at Parsley Bay are regularly monitored by the local council to enable best practices for their maintenance and better understand their role in supporting seahorse populations.
Natural history fish collections from the Australian Museum, largely restricted to the mid-1970’s, not only support these locations as refuges for threatened species, but additionally as an “end point” for newly settled tropical fishes that continue to extend their native range poleward as our oceans warm. And again, that just covers the fish! There is so much more to discover when photographing the spineless animals (think nudibranchs, echinoderms, and endangered species such as the Cauliflower Soft Coral Dendronephthya australis) and plant-based organisms (think of our disappearing Posidonia seagrass meadows).
Your new snorkel or SCUBA observations captured between October 15, 2022 and April 15, 2023 uploaded to iNaturalist will be used to ground truth and complement monthly environmental DNA (eDNA) surveys at each of the three sites with our research partner Dr Shaun Wilkinson in New Zealand, founder of Wilderlab (https://www.wilderlab.co.nz/), and habitat restoration with Dr David Harasti (NSW DPI - https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/about-us/research-development/staff/staff-profiles/david-harasti), respectively. Future journal posts will discuss the powers of eDNA to regularly monitor microbes and invasive species at the base of the food web to socio-economically important megafauna. Indeed, I will be sharing preliminary results on eDNA detections at these sites as they are processed. Similarly, more about assessing the suitability of these sites for habitat restoration using seahorse hotels will be published in future journal posts.
The bottom line is that we need your help!!! Us scientists cannot survey these sites at the rate that keen and informed citizens like yourselves do, nor do we notice or document everything that is out there. We’d love to work WITH you. This includes new observations and old ones. For instance, I am sure that there will be a treasure trove of biodiversity data already contained on your underwater cameras, external hard drives, and laptop computers, particularly if you are regulars at any of these sites. We are imploring you to raid the vaults and make these images publicly available on iNaturalist.
Why do we need you help with this project?
We are inviting all snorkelers and divers with underwater cameras to help increase our knowledge of the flora and fauna at these three sites. We at the Australian Museum simply do not have enough staff or resources to regularly monitor these sites with in-water surveys, and so we hope to borrow your expert eye and enthusiasm for underwater photography instead.
How can you participate?
For citizen science sightings to become accepted as records, encounters with an individual organism at a particular time and location are uploaded as images to iNaturalist, which are identified and/or validated by the community. Each observation can include multiple images of the same organism, but to increase the value of your observations, please indicate the spatial accuracy and include additional comments if applicable. Notably, observations of rare species may be used to assist environmental review and conservation planning efforts.
Given that ours is a “Collection Project”, any photo of any organism that falls within the bounding boxes I created for each site or similarly assigned to the Places “Parsley Bay, Vaucluse, NSW”, “Camp Cove, Watsons Bay, NSW” (be careful, there are a few similarly named Places for this one), or “Shark Beach, Vaucluse, NSW” (more about the delay on surveys at this site below) will be captured in our Project and be eligible for the contests (see below).
As always, please be respectful and kind to the sensitive marine environment. We want the flora and fauna that you document to last forever.
Keep an eye out for organised Bioblitz events at Parsley Bay in Vaucluse later in the year so that we can meet you in person! This site has recently come under scrutiny as part of a planned mega-construction project, and so recording all plants and animals present here is particularly critical to saving our precious recreational zone.
What are the contest ground rules?
Small prizes will be awarded to top users at each of the three sites in the categories below on or after April 15, 2023. This includes gift vouchers from local dive providers (PRODIVE Alexandria, Dive Centre Bondi, Sydney Dive Charters) or restaurants (Clove Lane in Randwick).
Archival Photos: eligibility based on photos taken prior to June 1, 2022. This category is particularly well suited to avid snorkelers, SCUBA divers, and underwater photographers who regularly visit one or all three of the sites in southern Sydney Harbour.
*New Photo Submissions: eligibility based on photos taken between October 15, 2022 and April 15, 2023. This category is well suited to anyone with a keen eye and underwater camera!
*Note that the contest for “New Photo Submissions” at Shark Beach will be deferred to only start when it reopens to the public in May 2023 due to lack of access.
Do you have what it takes to win photo observation of the month?
Each month, starting in November 2022, we will select the most "faved" observation to explore and highlight. That participant will receive a voucher to purchase swag at the Australian Museum gift shop. You could be a winner if you submit your discoveries!
Top five reasons to join iNaturalist
1) It’s free.
2) Provides a platform for photo storage and can serve as a virtual dive log.
3) You can choose to copyright protect your photo submissions (or not).
4) State of the art artificial intelligence and experts in the online community can help with identification.
5) You can contribute in a significant way to the scientific aims in this project.
This journal post was written by Australasian Fishes member Joey DiBattista.
Anotado en 19 de octubre de 2022 a las 03:31 AM por markmcg markmcg | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

12 de octubre de 2022

Member profile - Dr Adam Smith

Growing up in the midst of the early space program, it was clear that all my friends wanted to be astronauts. Perhaps it was because Astronauts had nicknames like Buzz and Gus, and most of us kids had nicknames too. Although I’d never heard of an astronaut called “Bubba”. Personally, I never wanted to be an astronaut, perhaps like many in the Australasian Fishes project, preferring to be Jacques Cousteau instead. This desire to join the crew of the Calypso, did not, however, translate to any logical steps such as learning French or moving to Monaco. However, I never missed an episode of his television specials.
What made those shows so inspiring was more than fish pictures, which were amazing enough. The Cousteau production company created a mixture of travel, ocean diving as well as showcasing the emerging technology used in underwater research and television production. There was always a new invention or gadget to see. What attracted me to wish I was Jacques’s long lost, slight lazy and near-sighted, English-speaking nephew, was the variety of the experiences his shows offered. The rich mixture of exotic locations, innovative toys, research questions and, of course, fish filmed while diving in pristine locations. Who needed astronauts?
Reading about this Bio Blurb’s subject, Dr Adam Smith, reminds me of the excitement and sense of exploration I felt when watching The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau so many years ago and how varied of an experience it truly was. Adam describes himself as “A thalassophile who feels an inescapable need to be and live by the sea”. To ensure he has his daily dose of vitamin sea he became a marine scientist, naturalist and sportsperson with a fascination for the ocean, fish and their connection to people.
Adam grew up in Sydney as a keen swimmer, surfer, recreational rock fisher, spearfisher, freediver and trained as a SCUBA diver in 1982. He studied marine biology at the University of New South Wales and completed a BSc (Hons) and PhD. His early career was with NSW Fisheries Research Institute, The Ecology Lab and NSW Fisheries. In 1999 he moved to Townsville, Queensland as a Director with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, where he served for over 14 years in the development of strategic plans, policies and applied management procedures to ensure the reef remains a sustainable resource for Australia. In 2015 he founded Reef Ecologic which is a social enterprise and consultancy providing strategic advice, marine research and capacity building. It is a vast storehouse of coral reef knowledge and experience, with Adam as the CEO. He was an Associate Professor at James Cook University and remains in an adjunct role with the institution. He has 101 publications on topics including coral reefs, sharks, seagrass and human interactions. In his spare time, of which I doubt he has much, Adam is a keen ocean ski paddler and competes in long-distance events.
When asked about his first engagement with the ocean, he tells us, “I started snorkeling as a six-year-old in the rockpool at Bronte Beach. I was given my first speargun for XMAS at age 12. At university I joined the UNSW Dive Club, underwater hockey club and Sans Souci Dolphins Spearfishing club and enjoyed trips throughout NSW and annual camping trips to the Great Barrier Reef. I was inspired by Jacque Cousteau’s underwater adventures in his books and films. Locally I was inspired by Ron and Valerie Taylor and Ben Cropp who were spearfishers, filmmakers and authors.”
Moving to a tropical Australian city added fuel to his already water-based passions. He says, “I dive for recreation and work as often as I can, and the Great Barrier Reef and nearshore islands and headlands are amazing and diverse locations. To date I have logged almost 4000 SCUBA dives and there have been many more snorkel dives, so I have probably spent 10,000 days of my life on or underwater. I recently returned from a conference in the Maldives, and I was snorkeling every day. I prefer snorkeling to SCUBA because of the freedom and the longer time I can spend in the water. I still enjoy catching and eating a tasty Coral Trout or Spanish Mackerel and will also share the occasional photo of a dead fish on iNaturalist that I have captured by line or spearfishing.”
Adam is also an experienced underwater photographer, and like some of us has owned a wide range of underwater cameras. He says, “I have owned and treasured several underwater cameras from the Nikonos II with film to Coolpix (that was limited to 10m depth) to my current Canon G7X in a Fantasea FG7XII housing. I prefer simple, low volume cameras without lights as I take the majority of my photos while snorkeling.”
Adam’s contribution to Australasian Fishes has been impressive. He has a long history of participating in citizen science projects, however, he has been with Australasian Fishes for only a year and is already ranked as number 18, with 1,579 observations for the project. He’s contributed over 2,622 observations for iNaturalist, encompassing 1,004 different species. I personally have benefited from his IDs, especially for tropical varieties from the Great Barrier Reef. He says, “It is hard to believe but I have only been a member of iNaturalist for just over one year. My introduction to the app was because I photographed a fish I could not identify. I shared the photo on social media, emailed several fish scientists and also posted to iNaturalist. The fish was identified as a Largescale Grunter, Terapon theraps and I wanted to know more about local species of reef fish. I have made over 2450 observations including photographs of over 500 species of fish and 20 species of sharks and rays. Typically, I will take 50 to 150 photos when I do a reef trip and then select about half of these to upload to iNaturalist. My top three observations of fish by number are Spotted Coral Grouper, Great White Shark (after an amazing three-day charter at Neptune Islands) and Chinese Demoiselle (one of the most common species around local islands and reefs). I also assist with IDs of fish in Australia and internationally with 500 so far. I have also learned a lot about coral and other marine life while making observations.”
Adam is a rather unique participant of our project as both a citizen scientist as well as a marine scientist. There are great strengths and opportunities in being both. He is active in several citizen science groups such as Reef Life Survey, Reefcheck Australia and also adds observations to the Eye on the Reef databases. Like a true citizen/professional scientist, and evidenced by his numerous contributions to our project, he shares his knowledge of the marine environment to empower many other ocean enthusiasts including his family, local school, staff and local skindiving club which recently held a spearfishing event and observed over 300 sharks from 10 species. He stated, "We are analyzing the data of the shark sightings as well as fish caught and preyed upon by sharks." He is in the process of writing another scientific paper on this topic and also producing a video to share these observations.
To promote the cause of marine citizen science Adam has also set up a number of iNaturalist projects to focus citizen science on local attractions such as the Coral Greenhouse, Yongala shipwreck, Orpheus Island Research Station, Magnetic Island and also set up ReefBlitz 2022 event for the GBRWHA to celebrate World Oceans Day\Week. In addition to establishing iNaturalist projects, Adam is deeply engaged in community work which also fosters wider understanding and appreciation for the undersea world. He is a Board member of the Australian Underwater Federation, Recfish Australia and the Museum of Underwater Art. The last one, is a unique project, which is already gaining global attention, mixing art and the underwater environment.
Asking Adam for his appraisal of iNaturalist, our project and the importance of citizen science, he tells us, "My advice is that iNaturalist is the biggest citizen science app in the world with over 110 million observations of over 390,000 species and you can learn so much from this huge dataset, dedicated people and also contribute your unique experience. So, load the app and start with an observation. It is very cool when you receive suggested identifications, and the expert online community provides advice on species. However, iNaturalist comes with a warning as it can be addictive. Finally, I do try and create and share unique opportunities that may be of interest to fellow iNaturalists. In October 2023 I am leading and facilitating a citizen science expedition to the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. It will be a 14 -day journey with the small cruise ship company Coral Expeditions and it may be of interest to some readers who are passionate about iNaturaist and citizen science and wish to meet like-minded enthusiasts and broaden their knowledge.”
It turns out, after all those years, I was completely wrong about the ambitions of my youth. I have met Jacque Cousteau and been aboard the Calypso, but have now decided, rather than being Jacque’s nephew, I would rather be Adam Smith’s uncle. His world and interests include sport, photography, professional science, environmentalism, resource management, citizen science and even underwater art.
This journal post was written by Australasian Fishes member, Harry Rosenthal.
Anotado en 12 de octubre de 2022 a las 07:09 AM por markmcg markmcg | 4 comentarios | Deja un comentario

29 de septiembre de 2022

Australasian Fishes Project YouTube channel

One of the project rules of the Australasian Fishes Project states that valid observations must include at least one still image. As you know, iNaturalist does not allow videos to be uploaded (GIF files are permitted). To get around this issue, way back in February 2017 I created an Australasian Fishes Project YouTube channel.
If you have a video of a fish that supplements your observation in iNaturalist, feel free to contact me and I'll give you permission to upload your video to the Australasian Fishes Project YouTube channel and add a link back to the relevant observation in iNaturalist.
So far, videos have been uploaded by @scubalynne, @ianbanks, @paula_sgarlatta, @mikejonesdive to name a few.
Anotado en 29 de septiembre de 2022 a las 01:18 AM por markmcg markmcg | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario