January’s iSeahorse Feature Observation: Denise’s Pygmy Seahorse by ajeffrey
The first iSeahorse Feature Observation of 2015 comes to us from user ajeffrey, who was diving in Komodo National Park. Located in southern Indonesia, the park is apparently a hotspot for pygmy seahorses (recall our July 2014 Feature Observation of multiple Bargibant’s Pygmy seahorses).
Denise’s pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus denise) is so small and well-camouflaged that it was only formally described in 2003. Like other pygmy seahorses, this species is associated with coral hosts that it mimics in appearance. Similar in size and stature to Bargibant's pygmy seahorse, recent research has shown that this species is much less faithful to a single host species and can take up residence on a number of different corals. It also appears to behave more promiscuously than its closest relative.
As would be expected for a recently described species, scientists have thus far obtained very little information about Denise’s pygmy seahorse (the species is listed as Data Deficient on the IUCN Red List). We hope that this and many more sightings like it on iSeahorse will contribute to a better understanding of these amazing tiny creatures.
Technical difficulties with the 'iSeahorse Explore' app for iPhone
Please note that the iSeahorse app for iPhone is experiencing some functionality issues with the newest version of iOS. We're working to fix this bug as soon as possible.
If you're using iOS 8.1 or higher, we recommend uploading your seahorse observations to iSeahorse via the iNaturalist app for iPhone.
For instructions on how to upload your observations to iSeahorse via the iNat app, visit our Apps page and scroll down to the Android section. (The procedure is the same for both iPhone and Android.)
Thanks for your understanding! We'll have an update soon.
New online training course on seahorse population monitoring
Great news for those who want to take seahorse citizen science to the next level: We've just launched a free online training course that teaches you how to do long-term monitoring of wild seahorse populations.
Seahorse trends monitors are an important part of citizen science, as the data you collect can be used to map population and habitat changes over time, identify threats, and kickstart conservation action.
Check it out!
Featured observation: Jayakar’s Seahorse by lewis1990
Our November featured observation on iSeahorse comes from the Arabian coast of the Red Sea at Jeddah harbor. It’s a surprising place to spot a seahorse – a bustling metropolis of over 5 million and the largest port in the Red Sea.
Lewis1990 spotted this small Jayakar’s seahorse Hippocampus jayakari in shallow water while beachcombing after a storm. It marks the fourth observation of the species in iSeahorse, but we still know very little about the species. It is listed as Data Deficient on the IUCN Red List, and no direct studies have been done on this species of seahorse.
The Red Sea is the world’s northernmost tropical sea and is home to a variety of corals and other unique marine life. Observations like this help us gain a better understanding of the Red Sea and give us insight into how best to conserve it.
Thanks to Lewis for his contribution to citizen science and seahorses!
Improvements to iSeahorse
Dear iSeahorse friends,
Thanks to your feedback, we've made some improvements to iSeahorse.org! Starting tomorrow (Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2014) you'll notice a few subtle changes to the website, including:
- Social media login — you can now log into the website using Facebook or Google+
- Permalinks for individual seahorse observations — you can now share seahorse observations more easily with colleagues and friends
- 'Research grade' and 'ID please!' markers to make navigating observations easier
- Increased data security
- Faster-loading maps and lists
...and more. This is all part of an ongoing development process to make iSeahorse as robust and user-friendly as possible. Stay tuned for even bigger changes and improvements in the coming months.
Please be advised that iSeahorse.org will be down for 1-2 hours around 7 p.m. Pacific Time this evening (Sep. 7). You'll still be able to submit your sightings via the iSeahorse project page on iNaturalist.
If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact us at email@example.com.
The iSeahorse Team
Featured observation: Long-snouted Seahorse by melitab
Our latest featured observation has been contributed by melitab who was diving in the Adriatic Sea in Italy. Situated in the northeastern-most corner of the country, the coastal areas of Italy’s Fruili-Venezia Guilia region have long been the crossroads of western civilization, with ports having been utilized since pre-Roman times. Apparently in addition to being a boon for trade by humans, the area is also home to seahorses.
Melita took this great photo of the long-snout seahorse, Hippocampus guttulatus, on a dive back in March. Although the species inhabits the Mediterannean – one of the biggest diving attractions and most studied bodies of water in the world, we still know very little about how wild populations of the long-snouted seahorse are faring. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists this seahorse as Data Deficient.
Along with our partners, Project Seahorse is making it a priority to ensure we have enough information to perform proper conservation assessments of all seahorse species. We are currently in the test phase of a trends monitoring program that should allow us to understand the threats facing these creatures better. If you or anyone you know dives in a particular region regularly and is interesting in contributing to this endeavor please do let us know.
Thanks to Melita for her contribution to seahorse research and conservation!!
Featured observation: Sea Pony by shamsa_alhameli
The next featured observation comes from the United Arab Emirates in the Persian Gulf. iSeahorse contributor shamsa_alhameli managed to spot a sea pony (Hippocampus fuscus) in a seagrass bed. And she managed to snap a great photo in the process!
But it wasn’t just any seagrass bed that this seahorse was found in. In fact, this seahorse has little to worry about as these waters are part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve – the Marawah Biosphere Reserve. Designated in 2007, the reserve is home to a wide variety of important marine habitats, including coral reefs, mangroves, unique macroalgae outcrops. The area is a crucial nursery and spawning grounds for many fish species in addition to seahorses, and is also home to endangered hawksbill and green turtles. Not to mention it’s the second largest aggregation of dugongs in the world.
The sea pony is currently listed as ‘Data Deficient’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. We hope that this and more observations like it will give us enough information to perform a proper conservation assessment of the species in the near future. Thanks for contributing to science and marine conservation shamsa_alhameli!
Featured observation: Barbigant's pygmy seahorse by maractwin
Our latest featured observation comes to us from Indonesia’s Flores Sea. iSeahorse user maractwin (aka Mark Rosenstein) spotted a group of five Bargibant’s pygmy seahorses, Hippocampus bargibanti. This is no small feat, considering just how well-camouflaged these creatures are against their gorgonian coral homes. Then again you would expect a keen eye from such an avid naturalist – in addition to his 19 observations of six different seahorse species, Mark has logged over 9000 observations of almost 3000 species on iNaturalist!
Spotted by Mark off of Banta Island near Komodo National Park (an epicenter of marine fish and seahorse diversity), these pygmy seahorses are some of the smallest in the world, reaching a maximum length of only about three centimetres! Males brood their young on their trunk rather than just below it like most seahorse species.
This species is listed as Data Deficient on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species because very few studies have focused on them to date. iSeahorse observations like this one will help us properly assess the species in the near future as we find out more about it.
Great work Mark – keep those observations coming!!
Featured observation: lined seahorse by uwdistribution
Our new feature observation comes to us from further north than most seahorse species live. Hippocampus erectus, also known as the lined seahorse , has been observed by uwdistribution in St. Margaret’s Bay near Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
This location is likely north of the species’ normal range, as it is not usually observed in the area. It has not been spotted this far north since 2000, and prior to that since 1989. A rare sighting indeed! It is thought that some individual seahorses of this species occasionally travel north via the Gulf Stream current from their homes further south to end up in Nova Scotia.
The northern seahorse is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, and has seen population declines as a result of the aquarium trade, the degradation of its coastal seagrass habitat, and being caught as incidental bycatch in shrimp trawl fisheries.
Thanks to uwdistribution for contributing this rare observation.
Featured observation: Slender seahorse by kbodle
This week’s feature observation takes us to the sunny southern Caribbean. kbodle managed to snag this great pic of the slender seahorse, Hippocampus reidi in the coastal waters of Bonaire, an island nation off the Venezuelan coast.
The slender seahorse is a fairly large species, growing to a height of about 17cm. It ranges from North Carolina in the USA all the way to Brazil in South America. Pictured in association with a sponge here, these seahorses have also been known to hang out around gorgonian corals, seagrasses, mangroves and seaweed. They typically form monogamous pair bonds with their mate.
The IUCN Red List describes the slender seahorse as being Data Deficient, so there is much left to be learned about the species.
Thanks to kbodle for helping us to further our knowledge of this interesting fish!
Featured observation: Weedy pygmy seahorse by kati-romblon
Our new featured observation comes to us from kati-romblon, who snapped this great pic of the weedy pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus pontohi) in Romblon, Phillipines. kati-romblon is looking like a rather proliferate user, having posted 12 observations of 5 species already!
The weedy pygmy seahorse is a species that inhabits algae and soft corals among the Indo-Pacific islands. Being one of the smallest species, it grows only to a maximum of 1.4 centimetres and so is very tough to spot in the water.
As a result of its small stature and cryptic nature, the species was only discovered in 2008. Scientists do not currently have enough information to know how well the species is doing, and so it is listed as ‘Data Deficient’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Observations like these will help us to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the weedy pygmy seahorse, thereby enabling us to protect it and its ocean home.
Thanks for the observation kati-romblon!
Featured observation: Giraffe seahorse
Every few weeks we're going to be highlighting a new and noteworthy seahorse observation.
H. camelopardalis makes its home along the southeast coast of Africa from Tanzania to western South Africa. It lives in seagrass, algal beds, and on shallow reefs. The species is traded heavily in Tanzania as a curio, but is listed as Data Deficient on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, as very little is known about it.
This and other future observations of the Giraffe Seahorse on iSeahorse will be used by scientists and conservationsists to get a better idea about its biology and geographic distribution, and will hopefully help to inform decisions about the management of its ocean habitat.
Thanks for the observation hdarrin!
Featured observation: Knobby seahorse
H. breviceps is endemic to Australia and makes its home on sponge reef, sargassum, and rocky reef in deeper water. Its maximum recorded adult height is 10 cm and the males have tails proportionally longer than the females.
The species is currently listed as Data Deficient on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, meaning we do not yet have enough information about H. breviceps to determine its conservation status.
Thanks, tamiw, for your observation!
The results so far...
It's been just about eight weeks since the official launch of iSeahorse. Collectively, as citizen scientists, we've logged 173 seahorse observations in just about every corner of the world, from Africa to Australia, South America to Asia, and beyond.
Most promisingly, there have been observations of 23 different seahorse species, including some rarely seen ones such as the West African seahorse (Hippocampus algiricus), Reunion seahorse (H. borboniensis), Severnsi’s pygmy seahorse (H. severnsi), short-head seahorse (H. breviceps), and the sea pony (H. fuscus).
Your data and stunning photos will prove very useful as the iSeahorse and Project Seahorse teams continue their work on seahorse conservation.
Thanks to everyone who has joined iSeahorse so far, and please be sure to encourage your friends and colleagues to join as well! Special congratulations go out to iSeahorse user davidr, who leads all contributors with 16 observations and 5 different species sighted. Great work!
Observation map issue
We're currently experiencing minor technical issues with our observation map. For most of today, you may find that the map does load properly. We're working on a fix and should have everything running smoothly very soon.
In the meantime, you can still upload your sightings. They will be saved to the database and viewable on the map when it is back online. Thanks for your patience.
UPDATE: The map issue is fixed!
Off to a roaring start
Just a quick note of thanks to everyone who has joined iSeahorse and contributed observations so far. The iSeahorse team is thrilled with the amazing response so far and we'll be doing our best to help with all the species IDs for your sightings.
Don't forget that you can do the same: You can help identify species by clicking the ID button at the bottom of any individual observation. We have two different ID guides that will help with identification.
How to edit your profile
We're still ironing out some of the features on iSeahorse.org. Currently, you can edit your username, password, and biography using the edit function in your 'My iSeahorse' console in the right-hand column of the website.
However, if you would like to add/change your profile picture, your time zone, or your email alerts, please visit iNaturalist.org.
Log in using your iSeahorse username and password and you will be able to edit your profile via the dashboard tool. The changes take effect immediately on iSeahorse.org.
Having trouble? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome to the new iSeahorse.org: Getting started
We're pleased to launch the brand-new iSeahorse website today. What is iSeahorse? Simply put, it's a tool for seahorse science and conservation.Whether you’re a diver, or a fisher, or a scientist, or a seahorse enthusiast, we need your help!
iSeahorse harnesses the power of ‘citizen scientists’ — anyone, anywhere in the world who sees a seahorse in the wild — to improve our understanding of seahorses and protect them from overfishing and other threats.
You can upload your photos and observations. You can help identify seahorse species. You can advocate for their protection in your ocean neighbourhood.
To get started, create an iSeahorse account today.
Scientists from Project Seahorse and seahorse experts around the world will use your vital information to better understand seahorse behaviour, species ranges, and the threats seahorses face. We will use this knowledge to improve seahorse conservation across the globe.
For iSeahorse users involved during the beta-testing phase of the website, you'll notice that the our seahorse observation tools and database are now powered by iNaturalist, one of the most sophisticated and powerful citizen science tools on the web. Within the next few days, you will receive an email explaining the changes and what this means for your existing observations data. Drop us a line if you have any questions or concerns in the meantime: email@example.com
Thanks for visiting! We hope to see you around the site.
Changes at iSeahorse
Just a heads up to current iSeahorse members on iNaturalist: Next week we'll be launching www.iseahorse.org, our standalone citizen science site with iNaturalist.org integration. This means that you'll be able to submit your observations via either iSeahorse or iNaturalist and they will be added to the iNaturalist database and maps. We will launch a dedicated iSeahorse app for iPhone in the coming weeks as well.
More info to follow very soon.