Member profile -Sascha Schulz

All citizen science projects like Australasian Fishes thrive only through the passion and dedication of numerous talented people.
Over the life of the project we hope to highlight the rich diversity of expertise, various backgrounds and deep passions of some of the 500 plus citizen scientists who are contributing to the knowledge of our region’s fishes by their dedication, time and tenacity.
Sascha Schulz was an early contributor and supporter of Australasian Fishes who personifies this non-professional dedication to advancing knowledge of our fishes. His name would be familiar to anyone accessing the Australian Museum’s website as his photographs are featured on many species fact sheets.
Most viewers might not recognise the dedication to citizen science which underlies Sascha's work on the project. At the time of this writing Sascha was ranked third in total observations, with almost 1,400 observations, which covers an impressive 438 different species!
Sascha tops the leader board in identifications, a generous and key component of the project. He has assisted in the identification of almost 7,800 individual observations. His skill in identification goes back to the days when he worked at the Australian Museum, leaving him with an eye for detail and an ability to pick out features, often from less than perfect photos. Many observers have found his efforts rewarding and he’s often one of the fist identifiers to recognise that a fish was photographed outside its range. He has over 1,000 books and papers on fish in his home, and keeps current with scientific papers on fish distributions and their taxonomy.
Sascha is one the project’s polymaths, with degrees in marine biology and electrical engineering. His skills are supported through very traditional underwater methods. All his photos are taken on mask and snorkel, holding his breath, as he explores marine and estuarine areas, looking for unusual species or a taxonomic challenge. He has been freediving since 1996, and feels a great connection with the marine environment. Employing this more intimate diving approach has made him also a student of fish psychology, because after diving down over 20 meters, it is important to make even the most skittish of fish as comfortable as possible, to get the desired and often unique photograph. Sascha freely shares his tips and advice. Feel free to ask him!
For photography, Sascha has been fan of Olympus cameras starting his early digital work with several Olympus 5050Zs but has recently upgraded an Olympus Tough 5 (with housing). He only uses the camera’s internal flash rather than strobes, as they get in the way during freediving. At night, he uses a canister light, but knowing these photos were made by a free diver, dragging equipment around at night, in rough seas, you can appreciate his artistry as well as scientific approach.
Thank you Sascha for your huge contribution to Australasian Fishes!
This journal post was written by Australasian Fishes member, Harry Rosenthal.
Posted by markmcg markmcg, September 13, 2017 02:54

Comments

Thumb

Thanks @harryrosenthal never been called a polymath before! haha

Posted by sascha_schulz over 3 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

Hi Sascha,

It's just the way the rest of us look at your extensive skills and contribution. I do hope you are pleased with the blurb, as I think others will enjoy learning more about the project leaders.

Of course, there was much more possible content to include, but we'll save that for the sequel, “Revenge of the Polymath 2: Sacha”

Posted by harryrosenthal over 3 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

Hi, I have been the lucky recipient of Sascha's seeming unlimited knowledge of all things wet & salty. When I started contributing to the Australia Fishes site he was one of the first, if not the first, people to guide me through the process & let me know, in a helpful way, if I made an incorrect identification but more importantly Why.
I was lucky enough to meet Sascha when he took the trouble to come and see where I had been do some of my observations in Melbourne, which shows the level of his interest. Didn't get to go looking due to weather conditions, maybe another time. He has made my association with the Australia Fishes' more rewarding. Thanks Sascha.

Posted by ken_flan over 3 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

@ken_flan You are spot-on in your comments about Sascha's dedication. Australasian Fishes wouldn't be what it is without @sascha_schulz.

Posted by markmcg over 3 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

Congratulations on your rise up the iNaturalist 'ladder', Sascha

Posted by steve_reynolds over 3 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

What a great profile on an inspirational scientist. I really appreciate his dedication and commitment to the site and his knowledge is something we can all aspire to. Thank you very much @sascha_schulz - keep up the excellent work. I really appreciate all the assistance he has provided with identification of my piscine (and other) submissions.
The breath-hold stuff (free-diving) is just showing off though :-) Put a tank of air on your back and it makes the photography so much easier.

Posted by johnsear over 3 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

To terribly mangle the great Martin Luther King Jr: "As I read the eloquent and generous comments and then thought about myself, I wondered who they were talking about..."

Let me provide this rather humbling little profile by Harry with more context, as he did send me a list of questions to agonize over. Harry's journalistic talents boast brevity, so he didn't weave prose covering one of the answers focusing on why I am "into" taxonomy. So here it is:

"After spending a decade at the Port Kembla Steelworks, I went back to Uni to study Marine Bio, and began volunteering at the Australian Museum. During that period, and during subsequent paid stints, I was very fortunate to be among the likes of Mark, Sally, Amanda (all three project curators or admin), Jeff Leis, Doug Hoese, John Paxton and got to meet visiting taxonomists like Di Bray, Martin Gomon, Hiroyuki Motomura and Thomas Munroe. Brilliant taxonomists, and great human beings. People such as these inspire others and I'll always be grateful for the time they spent teaching me."

It was silly oversight to leave Tom Trinski off that list. Sorry Tom...

This project has drawn together a diverse and interesting group of people, a group which gives me a great deal of pleasure to be a part of.

So thank you all for your very kind comments, and rest assured that the affection and respect is returned in equal measure. :-)

At the end of the day it doesn't matter where anyone ranks on the scoreboard of observations or species, simply that you were willing to put your shoulder to wheel of the cart, and help us all understand more about our gilled co-habitants. And for that, thank you!

Posted by sascha_schulz over 3 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

@sascha_schulz I think you could very easily have added a degree in literature to your belt. Just so the recipients of your kind words don't miss them I'll message @amandahay, @sallyr, @jpax61, @dijb and @tomtrnski. :)

Posted by markmcg over 3 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

@sascha_schulz Admirable & impressive acomplishments Sascha! ;D
And an eloquent account @harryrosenthal

Posted by henrick over 3 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

Very worthy of all the comments Sascha. But what do you mean, "it doesn't matter where anyone ranks on the scoreboard"? I thought there was free chocolate ice cream for the #1 position? At least, that's what I heard from Mark... I think...

Posted by richardling over 3 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

"Free chocolate ice cream!" Now there is an incentive I hadn't thought of. :) Give me some warning next time you are in town @richardling and I'll see what I can arrange. :)

Posted by markmcg over 3 years ago (Flag)
Thumb

Wait a minute, no one said anything about free ice cream, that could seriously change the dynamics of the project. Plus we might be displacing more water as well.

Posted by harryrosenthal over 3 years ago (Flag)

Add a Comment

Sign In or Sign Up to add comments