[Coral-List] Re Strobes blind seahorses?

Melbourne Briscoe Mel at briscoe.com
Sat Apr 10 17:17:02 EDT 2010

Lucy: can you describe your "field observations I have made" that cause you
to suggest 3 is OK? And do you mean 3 during the animal's lifetime, or 3 per
day, or per dive, or what? I'd like to distinguish between gut feelings of
knowledgeable scientists, based on a precautionary principle, and facts
based on actual observations....something less than a peer-reviewed study,
but more than a SWAG. Thanks.

- Mel

-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
[mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Lucy Woodall
Sent: Friday, April 09, 2010 9:09 AM
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: [Coral-List] Re Strobes blind seahorses?

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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