[Coral-List] Re Strobes blind seahorses?

Lucy Woodall lucywoodall at compuserve.com
Fri Apr 9 09:08:43 EDT 2010

Dear All,


A couple of colleagues drew my attention to this topic. As a scientist who has had the privilege of diving with hundreds of seahorses, I thought I should share my insight, and in turn ask for your assistance.


To my knowledge, no research has been done on the subject of seahorses and strobes or flash photography. Therefore we can obviously only base our dive practice on anecdotal evidence and observed behaviour. Many people have already suggested  in their posts that seahorses do appear to move away from bright light and divers, if they get very close. Of course we do not know the consequence of this evasive behaviour or any other effect our presence has caused. Based on field observations I have made, I would suggest no more than three photos per seahorse. (Not three photos per diver per seahorse!).  I accept is an opinion, but I hope an educated one.


This topic is interesting to me as I am currently developing a course on seahorse awareness for divers. 


The following points I consider important when diving with seahorses

1)      Observe seahorses in the wild, but do not touch them.

2)      Practice excellent buoyancy control.

3)      Avoid finning too close to the bottom.

4)      Read, learn and educate others about seahorses and their habitat.

5)      Promote the development of marine reserve areas to protect habitats, seahorses and other marine life.

6)      Use marine resources sustainably.

7)      Report seahorse sightings.


For more information on seahorses you can visit www.projectseahorse.org.

As many others have noted, most seahorses are current classified by the IUCN as 'data deficient'. Divers can be an excellent source of information and assist in filling in the knowledge gaps we have, in order to help the conservation of these amazing fish.

If you have further questions on the diver course, or have information you wish to share, then you can contact me at lucywoodall at compuserve.com.

Many thanks

Lucy Woodall PhD

Project Seahorse


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