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Damage to marine animals eyes by strobes.


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#41 Drew

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 11:52 AM

Well Jeff I'll have to say that is as brave a statement as John's article. Anecdotal evidence can go both ways. I have seen plenty of fish not fear my strobes or lights, but also some that take off like freight train after I strobe them, while they were calmly ignoring me before hand. Flambouyant Cuttlefish stopped mating when I strobed them and also when I turned on the video lights, but ignored me and got back to fornication once I had everything off and shooting natural light.
So if too much light causes pain, and the fish can't bolt (eg frogfish), does that constitute as damage? Or does it have to be permanent, like a fish getting instantaneous cataracts? :)

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#42 loftus

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 01:13 PM

Well Jeff I'll have to say that is as brave a statement as John's article. Anecdotal evidence can go both ways. I have seen plenty of fish not fear my strobes or lights, but also some that take off like freight train after I strobe them, while they were calmly ignoring me before hand. Flambouyant Cuttlefish stopped mating when I strobed them and also when I turned on the video lights, but ignored me and got back to fornication once I had everything off and shooting natural light.
So if too much light causes pain, and the fish can't bolt (eg frogfish), does that constitute as damage? Or does it have to be permanent, like a fish getting instantaneous cataracts? :)

Seeing as we're discussing anecdotal evidence, anyone every notice fish banging into reefs after the odd flash or two? :)
I just think the answer is probably pretty much what one would think:
1.The odd few flashes are unlikely to result in any demonstrable injury to sea critters; they certainly have to survive and thrive with many more stressful situations.
2.Repeated high intensity flashes, particularly if the animal is unable to extricate themselves from the situation, could at minimum temporarily blind the animal, overly stress the animal, possibly to the point of shock and death in some species like pygmy seahorses.
3. Continuous forced high intensity strobing a captive animal unable to protect it's eyes will likely result in permanent damage to the eyes.
4. Some animals, like some humans, prefer to fornicate in the dark, others enjoy the spotlight.

Edited by loftus, 07 January 2011 - 01:18 PM.

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#43 John Bantin

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 01:41 PM

Like I said before, it'll be interesting to read the article if anything for the entertainment value. :)



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#44 Drew

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 08:03 PM

Seeing as we're discussing anecdotal evidence, anyone every notice fish banging into reefs after the odd flash or two? :)
I just think the answer is probably pretty much what one would think:
1.The odd few flashes are unlikely to result in any demonstrable injury to sea critters; they certainly have to survive and thrive with many more stressful situations.
2.Repeated high intensity flashes, particularly if the animal is unable to extricate themselves from the situation, could at minimum temporarily blind the animal, overly stress the animal, possibly to the point of shock and death in some species like pygmy seahorses.
3. Continuous forced high intensity strobing a captive animal unable to protect it's eyes will likely result in permanent damage to the eyes.
4. Some animals, like some humans, prefer to fornicate in the dark, others enjoy the spotlight.


As a matter of fact, that line just reminded me of the boxfish (Ostracion cubicus) and cowfish (Lactoria cornuta) I shot in various areas which do crash into coral and rock while escaping, as do other fish like pipefish etc when flashed suddenly. Even a few turtles which break coral making a hasty retreat!Now were they panicking and just bashing into things, or were they blinded by a single flash? :)
To answer #2 & 3, you have Dave Harasti , who says he was flashing seahorses frequently for 4 years without any noticeable damage. It was a wasted opportunity, since he could've checked out the eyes after it died to look for damage.
As for #4.... TMI dude! :)

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#45 John Bantin

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 02:17 AM

As a matter of fact, that line just reminded me of the boxfish (Ostracion cubicus) and cowfish (Lactoria cornuta) I shot in various areas which do crash into coral and rock while escaping, as do other fish like pipefish etc when flashed suddenly. Even a few turtles which break coral making a hasty retreat!Now were they panicking and just bashing into things, or were they blinded by a single flash? :)
To answer #2 & 3, you have Dave Harasti , who says he was flashing seahorses frequently for 4 years without any noticeable damage. It was a wasted opportunity, since he could've checked out the eyes after it died to look for damage.
As for #4.... TMI dude! :)


A very tall person with a lot of curly hair coming close with a video camera would make me crash into things too.

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#46 Drew

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 05:41 AM

A very tall person with a lot of curly hair coming close with a video camera would make me crash into things too.


I would've never guessed you were easily intimidated by people with hair, John. :) Those fish didn't flinch until the strobes flashed.

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#47 Dave H

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 01:03 AM

To answer #2 & 3, you have Dave Harasti , who says he was flashing seahorses frequently for 4 years without any noticeable damage. It was a wasted opportunity, since he could've checked out the eyes after it died to look for damage.
As for #4.... TMI dude! :D


Hmmmmm, and how many times have you found a dead seahorse whilst diving???? :P

In the many hundreds of dives that I have done on seahorses as part of my PhD research I've been lucky enough to find 3 dead animals.... two of them had their heads missing and the other was so decompossed that any analysis on the eye structure would have been impossible!!! And to be honest, given my seahorses managed to survive for at least 4 years I'm pretty sure there eye sight was okay as they obviously hadn't starved to death!

As John is aware, I've just finished a study on the impacts of flash photography on seahorses with the results to be published in a journal shortly.

cheers,
Dave

#48 John Bantin

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 01:11 AM

Hmmmmm, and how many times have you found a dead seahorse whilst diving???? :P

In the many hundreds of dives that I have done on seahorses as part of my PhD research I've been lucky enough to find 3 dead animals.... two of them had their heads missing and the other was so decompossed that any analysis on the eye structure would have been impossible!!! And to be honest, given my seahorses managed to survive for at least 4 years I'm pretty sure there eye sight was okay as they obviously hadn't starved to death!

As John is aware, I've just finished a study on the impacts of flash photography on seahorses with the results to be published in a journal shortly.

cheers,
Dave



Don't rise to it David. Drew is just swimming bout frightening all the fishes. He doesn't need a camera or flash to do that!

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#49 Drew

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 08:44 AM

Hmmmmm, and how many times have you found a dead seahorse whilst diving???? :island:

In the many hundreds of dives that I have done on seahorses as part of my PhD research I've been lucky enough to find 3 dead animals.... two of them had their heads missing and the other was so decompossed that any analysis on the eye structure would have been impossible!!! And to be honest, given my seahorses managed to survive for at least 4 years I'm pretty sure there eye sight was okay as they obviously hadn't starved to death!

As John is aware, I've just finished a study on the impacts of flash photography on seahorses with the results to be published in a journal shortly.

cheers,
Dave


Sorry Dave. I always assumed you had them captive.;) Look forward to your study, although I gather from what you've said, the gist is already clear.

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#50 Paul Kay

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 09:06 AM

I've just finished a study on the impacts of flash photography on seahorses with the results to be published in a journal shortly.

cheers,
Dave

Dave

When this has been published can you forward a link as there is contention over this issue in the UK?
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#51 John Bantin

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 09:07 AM

I would've never guessed you were easily intimidated by people with hair, John. :island: Those fish didn't flinch until the strobes flashed.



I had as much hair as you when I was your age. Be warned! Old age is not for wimps.

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#52 Drew

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 12:04 PM

John, it's not how much hair you had but how you used it that counts! :island:

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#53 davichin

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Posted 30 January 2011 - 07:58 AM

I am with Allison and Paul in this one about taking very few thought about shots.
Having been taking pictures for a while, there is no study/doctor/whatever that may convince me to think that strobes do not harm/bother animals. They do and we can justify it the way we want or make ourselves believe that is fine (ideas like "it is a greater good to show people the jewels down there..." or "UWP help develop poor communities in sustainable way..." or "why bother too much about a small fish when tonight we will eat many of those for dinner..." come to mind and they are probably right).
We need to define the level of damage we feel "acceptable" and live by it. Unfortunately that level varies a lot from one individual to another and trying to educate other photographers in liveaboards etc usually generate strong arguments... :P and just does not seem to work...

Another underwater living animals I have seen reacting to excess strobing are softcorals probably bothered by the heat output of my subtronics. They started to close their polyps and bend away...
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#54 John Bantin

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Posted 30 January 2011 - 08:04 AM

I am with Allison and Paul in this one about taking very few thought about shots.
Having been taking pictures for a while, there is no study/doctor/whatever that may convince me to think that strobes do not harm/bother animals. They do and we can justify it the way we want or make ourselves believe that is fine (ideas like "it is a greater good to show people the jewels down there..." or "UWP help develop poor communities in sustainable way..." or "why bother too much about a small fish when tonight we will eat many of those for dinner..." come to mind and they are probably right).
We need to define the level of damage we feel "acceptable" and live by it. Unfortunately that level varies a lot from one individual to another and trying to educate other photographers in liveaboards etc usually generate strong arguments... :P and just does not seem to work...

Another underwater living animals I have seen reacting to excess strobing are softcorals probably bothered by the heat output of my subtronics. They started to close their polyps and bend away...


Well, the article will be back from the printers in about two weeks, so for better or worse I bet we get a lot of interest. As I said before, we should get out of the water and take out polluting boats with us. :)

I buy my own photographic kit. Diving equipment manufacturers and diving services suppliers get even-handed treatment from me whether they choose to advertise in the publications I write for or not. All the equipment I get on loan is returned as soon as it is finished with. Did you know you can now get Diver Mag as an iPad/Android app?

 

#55 Drew

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 01:09 PM

Having been taking pictures for a while, there is no study/doctor/whatever that may convince me to think that strobes do not harm/bother animals. They do and we can justify it the way we want or make ourselves believe that is fine (ideas like "it is a greater good to show people the jewels down there..." or "UWP help develop poor communities in sustainable way..." or "why bother too much about a small fish when tonight we will eat many of those for dinner..." come to mind and they are probably right).
We need to define the level of damage we feel "acceptable" and live by it. Unfortunately that level varies a lot from one individual to another and trying to educate other photographers in liveaboards etc usually generate strong arguments... :P and just does not seem to work...

Another underwater living animals I have seen reacting to excess strobing are softcorals probably bothered by the heat output of my subtronics. They started to close their polyps and bend away...


Bother is one thing David, but the thread is about damage to the eyes and if it's permanent. I'm afraid unless someone takes a specimen, flashes one eye and leaves the other alone to see the damage caused, the only next best thing is Dave Harasti's paper, which I assume is through observation.

About strobes affecting coral, how close is your subtronic to the coral? Besides photosensitivity, heat sensitivity would be an interesting study, but I'm sure climate change scientists are already monitoring the changes.

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#56 AllisonFinch

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 05:44 PM

The problem with "scientific" studies is that often they start as a way to prove a persons ideas, not necessarily to find the truth. For every negative study on a subject, you will find an equally scientific positive study. While I will look forward to the article, I will read it with a certain grain of salt until I read it through. Even so, it could easily by negated by someone else's equally exhaustive "study" down the road.

To the poster who made the specious comment about how many dead seahorses do you see... REALLY? REALLY?? I double dog dare you to locate a dead hippocampus....they are hard enough to find when they are moving around.

#57 Drew

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 06:52 PM

The problem with "scientific" studies is that often they start as a way to prove a persons ideas, not necessarily to find the truth. For every negative study on a subject, you will find an equally scientific positive study. While I will look forward to the article, I will read it with a certain grain of salt until I read it through. Even so, it could easily by negated by someone else's equally exhaustive "study" down the road.

To the poster who made the specious comment about how many dead seahorses do you see... REALLY? REALLY?? I double dog dare you to locate a dead hippocampus....they are hard enough to find when they are moving around.

That's what peer reviews are for, Allison. While this study may have more conjecture because it's based on observation, it is the skepticism of scientific research that creates the problem that climate change policies are facing. With the internet, skeptics can choose bits and pieces of bad information and become an "authority" with a blog. And with enough people supporting this contrarian view, the whole movement to bring political policies to handle the issues is slowed down. It's always good to be thorough and demand proper scientific research, but to be a skeptic for the sake of being a skeptic can also be detrimental.

I've only seen 2 dead seahorses in my life both in the dirty waters of Laha, Ambon. There was also dead frogfish and lionfish and eels. The water there cannot be too clean! :P

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#58 Dave H

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 07:25 PM

The problem with "scientific" studies is that often they start as a way to prove a persons ideas, not necessarily to find the truth. For every negative study on a subject, you will find an equally scientific positive study. While I will look forward to the article, I will read it with a certain grain of salt until I read it through. Even so, it could easily by negated by someone else's equally exhaustive "study" down the road.

To the poster who made the specious comment about how many dead seahorses do you see... REALLY? REALLY?? I double dog dare you to locate a dead hippocampus....they are hard enough to find when they are moving around.


Dead Seahorse Number 1 underwater:

Posted Image

#59 Drew

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 07:31 PM

LOL Dave. That's a pretty precise head chop... was it the octopus?

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#60 Dave H

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 11:37 PM

LOL Dave. That's a pretty precise head chop... was it the octopus?


Yep, part of my research looked at the predation of seahorses and the octopus was found to be a major predator.

Dead seahorse number 2 underwater:
Posted Image

I double dog dare you to locate a dead hippocampus....they are hard enough to find when they are moving around.

So finding a dead Hippocampus underwater isn't impossible after all, just incredibly rare!!. :P