[Coral-List] Strobes blind seahorses?

Melbourne Briscoe Mel at briscoe.com
Sat Apr 3 09:07:46 EDT 2010

Thanks to all of you who took the time to respond to this query. It is
important that the knowledgeable scientists offer their input in these
public-related issues; this is the kind of thing the public really cares
about, and letting them live on an urban myth is not helpful to them or to
the science. 


I believe the mean/median/modal response to my query was: there is no
specific science to support the blinding statement, but there is plenty of
anecdotal and behavioral evidence to suggest that continued strobe
photography and other interruptions cannot possibly be helpful, is surely
not neutral, and is likely harmful to the seahorse, if only to interrupt
their foraging and provide some additional stress to their environment. 


So the message to the photographers is almost identical - be judicious and
careful in your use of strobes, and in your photography in general - but the
reason is more one of avoid stressing the animal, not a made-up reason about
blinding the little guy. I'm OK with this.


I'm sorry a few posters on this topic felt it was off-topic for this board.
Perhaps the on-topic version of the question would have been: is it
important and appropriate for working scientists to engage in public
communications? Should scientific errors and misinformation in the media and
public domain be addressed and corrected by scientists?


Mel Briscoe

(retired from Woods Hole, NOAA, and ONR, now at Ocean Leadership)

More information about the Coral-List mailing list