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Posts posted by Leslie

  1. Does anyone have good before & after reef pics of bombing? Cyanide fishing? Anchor or dredging damage? Siltation & smothering caused by construction? Bottom areas littered with beer cans & human junk? Or know of websites with these kind of images? The area where my biodiversity survey team works in Fiji is scheduled to undergo a lot of development in the coming years, including resorts & UW tourism. It already has dynamite fishers operating there. I'm told the dynamite is usually stolen from the local mine or delivered by agents of the fish buyers. Since the coastal tribes that control the bay don't go underwater they don't really comprehend the extent of the current damage or what construction & unregulation usage can do. I'd like to have some good images to show them & local officials on our next trip. It might make a difference in how they regulate human activity in the coming years.


    We might create powerpoint presentations with the images or give copies on CDs to officials. If you send images please let me know under what conditions we can use them.


    Many thanks, Leslie

  2. I wonder how many photographers touching coral or kicking up sand it would take to equal the damage done by one carelessly placed anchor, a commercial live rock collector, or a dynamite fisher? What about hurricanes or elevated water temperatures? And let's not forget reef biologists who justify taking a crowbar to coral heads because the end results will help us better understand and manage reefs? Damage comes from a lot of different sources, big & small.


    Studies like this do have a good underlying point -- animals can suffer & die from accumulated small stresses. The net result can be a depleted reef. Reef managers need to understand the impact caused by every sort of human activity so they can regulate the level of usage and protect their areas. I think one of the other points here is that dive masters are the key to how divers behave underwater. It's obvious from the discussions here on wetpixel that most of the members don't need to be told not to touch or kick sand but you all are not average divers or photographers!


    And Giles - the problem with nutrients isn't that humans take too much away, the problem is that we add way too much..... think agriculture, fertilizer, and sewage! That's one of the main reason we have algae overgrowing reefs in the Caribbean & jellyfish blooms in the Gulf of Mexico. You can wash down your dive boats with a clean conscience :)

  3. Is the hierachy here such that the lesser-post marine creature would always be killed and eaten by the greater-post marine creature if they got into a fight underwater?


    It appears to be more size than fierceness-based. The giant squid Architeuthis is now thought to be a flabby soft creature who waits upright in the water for fish & smaller squid to blunder into its dangling tentacles (sorry, Tom). Obviously if it were based on who eats who in the end the worms would definitely be on top!


  4. Another vote for a great shot. When I look at the image I keep going back & forth between the off-set bright teeth and the brilliant eye. It's much more engaging than the usual straight forward moray shot.

    Cheers, Leslie

  5. I don't think the hermit is a juvenile. Steve Dunbar, a hermit crab specialist, told me that true juveniles lack eye stalks. The overall pigmentation pattern is like that of the red-lined hermit (Phimochirus holthuisi) but the specific colors are different: purplish-blue instead of red stripes and the eyes are reddish instead of blue. I wonder if it's a color variant? Maybe the Caribbean or Gulf folks would know. Your anemone crab might be undescribed. Hard bottom substrates from 130 feet aren't sampled very often by biologists... if they are, it's usually by accident!


  6. Hi -- After following the various wetpixel posts I've come to realize that I'm fairly unique among the correspondents although many of the lurkers might fit into the same category. I'm a lover of all things marine, especially inverts, and a frustrated would-be diver & UW photographer who long ago decided staying topside was the healthiest thing to do. :D (Did I just become a second-class citizen for admitting that?) The best way I have of connecting with the undersea world is by servers like wetpixel & UW photo sites. Wetpixel is a big source of enjoyment for me & a resource as well -- great pictures that are visually stunning, photographic tips that help my own photography, on-line identifications, and links to useful sites -- plus a heck of a lot of good people.


    Much of my field work is in the eastern Pacific, Caribbean & Fiji. As a marine biologist/taxonomist/museum person I work closely on site with divers who collect samples that I photograph, process, and id. Often our survey teams have way too much gear to carry guide books with us. Many of the people I've corresponded with through this board have been very generous in letting me download their images to my laptop to use in the field or for research. Right now I'm collecting Indo-Pacific images in preparation for 5 weeks in Fiji. So here's to Wetpixel - long may it prosper!


    Cheers, Leslie

    website: http://www.nhm.org/research/annelida/index.html


  7. I would never have made that match with the pictures at FishBase



    You know what? Neither would I. Jeff (fish guy) felt O. cyanurus was the closest match in Randall's Reef Fishes of the Red Sea and that blue individual on Fishbase does have a pink growth below the lip. On the other hand, taxonomists have been known to be wrong and new or rare species are constantly popping up, especially in areas like the Red Sea. Guess you'll just have to go back & catch the darn thing so we can be sure what it is!


  8. Hi -- I checked with our fish people who said it's a bluetail trunkfish, Ostracion cyanurus. the end of the tail should have a white posterior edge but that's not visible in the photos and the pink "growths" are apparently normal for this fish.


  9. Actually, Baccardi 151 white rum is the preservative of choice. Really! When working in the Caribbean on a biodiverisity survey we couldn't get ethyl alcohol so on the first day of each field season the guys would go over to Tortola & buy 20 cases of 151. It's 70 percent, clear so it doesn't discolor the specimens, and suitable for DNA samples. I'm sure Egyptian customs would understand.....


  10. Oops, took a closer look... the arms have grooves running down their length which means they are feeding tentacles, not sensory. So if this is a polychaete, it's more like a spionid or chaetopterid. Unfortunately pictures of these kinds of worms almost never show up in guide books.

    Leslie :oops:

  11. Hi Laz --


    This looks like it might be one of my guys, polychaete worms (fans, feather dusters, spagettis, bobbits, etc). There are a number of families in the group which have 2 or more main appendages coming off the head. These appendages often have chemo-receptors which they use to sense food. In your picture the two "arms" look more like the antennae of a bobbit than the food gathering tentacles of a spagetti worm. Some bobbit species are really shy. I heard Roger Sterne got his pictures by using a dead fish on a string to lure one out!


  12. Ideally I do want to see both, Alex, at least in the category of natural history. A picture can be accurate yet if it's boring or badly composed no one will bother to look at it. Laz's & your own currently posted mantis shots are perfect examples of great images both visually & in terms of the information they convey. Every one who's responded - Karl, Helge, Giles, you - all excel at this. Bill Rudman's black background nudibranch images (http://www.seaslugforum.net/) are taxonomic photography at its best - the details are all there and the pictures are stunning as well. That's what I aspire to in my own photography. The ideal guide book would be the published equivalent of Rudman's site, with both types of shots - in situ pictures so divers can identify what they see underwater & which show life history, and taxonomic images which clearly show the isolated animal & emphasis the diagnostic features.


    Certainly natural history isn't the only aim of photography - how boring that would be and how much we would miss if it were!!

    Cheers, Leslie.

  13. Hi everyone --

    Looking for macro shots of inverts I came across a post from 22 April 2004 "EOS 300D in the Med. Sea: Nudi" and this was one of the responses:


    "grasshopper wrote:


    From a neophytes point of view: When I look at nudibranch photos, I look for detail and color first, character second. The background detail is almost always a minor anoyance. The less distracting background the better. This nudi isn't perched on anything particularly interesting and s/he isn't posing, so I would prefer a tight crop and zoom in on the amazing detail . . . but that's just me."


    As an invert specialist this had a very strong affect on me. Backgrounds aren't just distracting, uninteresting, or minor annoyances. They're important sources of information, especially so in the case of nudibranchs. Many of these and other inverts are specialists. They only eat one organism which they spend most of their time seeking out & even lay their eggs on it so the hatching larvae have immediate access to food. A nudi specialist wants to see the hydroid the nudi was sitting on in the picture for clues to the nudi's life history & to what to look for when searching for the species in the future. It's even more important when the nudi (or worm or whatever) is undescribed and specimens must be collected to make the description & name it. So in contrast to Grasshopper's point of view, I'd like to make the case that an UW image can include some background and if properly framed, still be an excellent image in more ways than one!

    Thanks, Leslie

    (and extra thanks to Eric for encouraging me to post this)

  14. For the sake of a good picture you guys are eager to jump in with sharks, barracudas, giant squid and deadly jellyfish, bait mantis shrimp to strike, hang around scorpionfish and stonefish, risk getting the air knocked out of you by whale flukes, and yet the 3" jaw spread of a measely (but beautiful) worm will keep you out of the water? Yeah, right! :)


  15. Weird? heinous looking? Uh, I think the more appropriate words are "beautiful", "spectacular", and "gorgeous" but I might be a tad bit prejudiced..... If you go to my section's URL http://www.nhm.org/research/annelida/index.html and then to the last page "learn more", you'll see a picture of a preserved 8-footer owned by the Smithsonian. It's not an entire worm if I remember right and there are references to specimens over 15 feet long.


    Does anyone else have photos of these worms? I'm curious to see how many different species have been photographed. Linda's species is clearly different from the equally gorgeous one on Dave Harasti's web site.


    Thanks, Leslie

  16. Hi Mike --


    These are some seabird links I've found useful in the past, plus the names of two books on NZ seabirds. Good luck with your ids--







    Fieldguide to New Zealand Seabirds by Brian Parkinson


    Onley, Derek and Bartle, Sandy Identification of Seabirds of the Southern Ocean Te Papa Press; Wellington, NZ

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