April 13, 2021

Dragon Search South Australia - good work by divers in 2019, 2020 and 2021

Hi divers,

Thank you for all your work in 2019, 2020, and so far in 2021, to populate this visual database with seadragon records. The photos are very helpful for identification of individual seadragons, and long term monitoring of seadragons across locations in South Australia.

We started the Dragon Search South Australia project page on iNaturalist in 2019, as expansion of the 2013- 2018 pilot project at Rapid Bay, in which we used facial, head and body markers to identify individual seadragons over time. That community based project with the SA diving community provided important information about seadragons, including longevity, breeding frequency, number of broods per season, site residency, and physical damage to seadragons (e.g. appendage loss) over time.

We now have 30 divers adding to this database, and expanding the geographical range of the sightings. Over time, we will be able to learn much more about seadragons in other parts of SA, at sites such as Rosetta Head / Bluff, Second Valley, and Edithburgh. Records are starting to come through from the western part of SA as well, and also from WA. The database will also enable us to keep monitoring the Rapid Bay jetty leafy population. We've recorded some of the same leafies at RBJ for 5 - 8 years so far. Hoping to show that these animals can live for more than 10 years in the wild, as they have done so in aquaria. Our project will also highlight some of the ongoing threatening processes for these unique animals. Now more than ever, we need to support seadragon populations and increase public awareness of their vulnerability.

Please keep adding your records to the project whenever you can, and thanks again for your valuable contributions to long term research and monitoring of these amazing fishes.

We <3 seadragons.

Posted on April 13, 2021 03:06 by marinejanine marinejanine | 0 comments | Leave a comment

August 26, 2019

Welcome to DragonSearch South Australia

Hi DS SA team,

Thanks for joining the project, and for taking seadragon photos and uploading them here. One of the aims of this project is to identify individual seadragons over space and time, using recognisable markers on the head and body. It is an extension of a pilot project undertaken by divers in SA in 2013-14, for which the results will be available soon, as a report, and as a educational poster in public / social media. The pilot project was voluntarily extended to 2016+ on an opportunistic basis, so that we could learn more about the fate of individual seadragons over time. It is also an extension of the original Dragon Search program in southern Australia, upon which some of use here in SA worked intermittently for 10 years. Visual databases and mapping programs such as iNaturalist are a more collaborative and engaging way for divers to log their sightings, compared with the paper form and web-based form, used in the original program during the 1990s and early 2000s respectively.

Another aim of this project page is to provide a secure and long term repository for seadragon images from South Australia, that can be accessed by researchers over time, including the citizen science dive community.

When uploading your images, you can safely provide the correct coordinates if you set Geo-privacy to "Private". Even if you do not do that, the true coordinates are supposed to be obscured / regionalised when viewed publicly, due to seadragons being classified in the IUCN Red List as as Near Threatened. The exact coordinates will be available only to members of this private project page, and can be exported by project curators, researchers and government authorities as a spreadsheet, upon request.

Below is a list of codes preferred for labelling images when they are being uploaded. this will help to ensure that the obscured coordinates are not publicly identifiable by location name:

EBB: Bluff, Encounter Bay
RBJ: Rapid Bay
RBO: seagrass beds offshore from RBJ
SDV: Second valley
WLB: Wool Bay jetty
EDB: Edithburgh
TBJ: Tumby Bay jetty

Top priorities for uploading to this project are RBJ, RBO, SDV and EBB, in that order. Of particular interest are photos from 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019, to compare with photos from 2012 - 2015.

It is hoped that this project will eventually form part of a community-based 'Adopt a Dragon's Lair' project across South Australia. As part of that proposed program, which has in-principle support from AMLR NRM, local divers can log their sightings of animals here, and also note any observations of potentially threatening processes in their adopted spot, over time.

Thanks for participating. I will aim to provide regular updates of progress, and look forward to working through the images. This project page might provide a useful platform for you to recognise the seadragons you have photographed over time.

Please keep a log of your hours on this project, and contact me when you reach 10 hours. I will send details for invoices in due course.


Posted on August 26, 2019 08:23 by marinejanine marinejanine | 0 comments | Leave a comment