Ambon, Indonesia, April 2013 ~ I don’t know what made me touch the little piece of tufted algae – At that moment, I should have been concerned with surfacing and getting myself back to the tender waiting off the beach in the raging rainstorm that had started up while we were diving. But touch it I did and with a jerk, it bolted up off the bottom and started writhing through the water. It was a Melibe nudibranch and one … Read more
Bermuda sits at the western edge of the Sargasso Sea. We have spent hours sifting through the Sargassum seaweed looking for the cryptic animals, like the tiny Sargassumfish, that spend their lives in this floating home.
Update April 2016 ~ The paper describing the little Bryozoan Goby was published this month in the Journal of Ocean Science. It is named Sueviota bryozophila. The paper by scientists, Gerald R. Allen, Mark V. Erdmann, and N.K. Dita Cahyani, is titled “Sueviota bryozophila, a new species of coral-reef goby from Indonesia (Teleostei: Gobiidae)”, and is available online from the Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation. With this goby, the genus Sueviota has five species. The Latinized species name, bryozophila, means bryozoan-loving. Since we wrote about this … Read more
When we travel, I’m often accused of taking the whole house with me. In the case of hermit crabs, they do carry their homes. This one was traveling in a less conventional home. You can watch my video of a hermit crab changing shells and this one on my YouTube channel here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LJqEW756-Y
March 2013, Halmahera, Indonesia ~ Oh no! Right before my eyes, my beloved benthic ctenophores, so delicate and colorful, have metamorphosed from gentle plankton netters to smothering killers of fishes and crabs! Drifting over a black rubble slope off Makian, our guide Yann Alfian points out a ctenophore-covered starfish. During our October trip around Batanta aboard the Dewi Nusantara, Yann asked me why I was spending so much time looking at these things on the starfish. I explained that these … Read more
April 2013, Ambon Indonesia ~ Ned loves night dives. I do not. So when Marcel Hagendijk, manager of Maluku Divers, started talking about the cool creatures that drift through the harbor at night, I started sliding down into my chair. “You know we could put you out there on a line and let you drift,” said Marcel casually. Ned perked up; that was all he needed to hear. The next night, he and our guide, Semuel Bukasiang, drifted in the middle … Read more
Calling all fishwatchers! Join us on May 15, 2013 at 8pm EDT, for “Cleanliness is next to Fishiness: All About Cleaning Stations”, highlighting many of Ned’s unique cleaning station photographs. We’ll be live, online for this fish behavior class, via REEF’s free online Fishinar series. REEF (Reef Environmental Education Foundation) offers some great outreach programs for scuba divers, snorkelers and fish enthusiasts including the Fishinars, a.k.a. webinars, that are so much fun. The presentation will be followed by a Q & A … Read more
Artificial light is essential for underwater photographs and video. Water absorbs light, starting with reds then oranges, yellows and on through the color spectrum. Even at a shallow depth of 10 feet, you can see that the reds have disappeared, rendering everything a monochromatic greenish blue; it took the light from an underwater strobe to light this sea lion mother and pup.
Update~January 24, 2015: Lynne’s Pipefish has been formally described as Festucalex rufus. The paper appears in the journal, aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology, 21 (1): 47-51: “Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. (2015): Festucalex rufus, a new species of pipefish (Syngnathidae) from Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea” April 2013, Indonesia ~ There is great excitement this morning – Claire Davies has surfaced reporting that she has seen “Lynne’s Pipefish”, so now there is no question where we’ll be making the … Read more
Warm air, warm water – that’s what I daydream about when we’re not diving. At the suggestion of our cruise director, we skipped a dive to take a ride through the steep walls of Waigeo, Indonesia to visit a small bay populated by jellyfish. Our tenders skimmed over a shallow sand bank and through a narrow passage to reveal hundreds of pulsing jellyfish – I think they are Mastigias papua, a short-lived species that inhabits tropical waters throughout the Indo-Pacific.