UltraMarine have just published their 40th issue, where I am please to have an article about the reefs of the Coral Triangle. The countries of Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and East Timor collectively make up the Coral Triangle, which is known as the centre of the world’s coral reef biodiversity. It is a fascinating area to dive and I hope this article impassions people to experience it for themselves and the will to protect it.
I was fortunate enough to return to Wakatobi Dive Resort last year for the first time since carrying out much of my PhD fieldwork there a couple of years before. This time, however, I went on a trip aboard their liveaboard, Pelagian. We sailed from the resort all the way to the island of Buton, just off the Sulawesi mainland. My adventures were published in Scuba Diver AustralAsia in issue one of 2013. They have recently updated their digital subscriptions too, so check out their website or the Apple Newstand for more information and back issues.
Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia is one of my favourite places in the world to dive. Actually, if I could only dive in one place for the rest of my life I think it would be Raja Ampat. I have been lucky enough to spend many months exploring this amazing area aboard Dewi Nusantara. In issue 38 of UltraMarine Magazine I explain why this area is so special and what is being done to protect it.
You can read the full article by FOLLOWING THIS LINK, but here is a little taster:
For a marine biologist, like myself, visiting the Raja Ampat islands of Indonesia is like a terrestrial biologist visiting the Galapagos Islands. This region is the evolutionary crucible of coral reef species for much of the Indo-Pacific. Even within the mega-diverse Coral Triangle, of Papua New Guinea, Philippines and Indonesia, Raja Ampat has been found to have the highest reef fish diversity of all……..read more here.
Fiji Marine Life Expedition to Matava Resort, Kadavu – 5-15th October 2013
Fiji is a great location for both underwater photographers and budding naturalists. It is famed for stunning reefs adorned with dense soft corals and crystal clear waters. Join Richard to learn more about this unspoilt tropical paradise and get more from your diving on Fiji’s Great Astrolabe Reef.
This trip is designed for photographers and non-photographers alike. The skills and information learned will help photographers to get the shots they want, but likewise, will allow non-photographers to better appreciate the different species and behaviours they observe on the reef.
Richard will conduct daily lectures on various aspect of marine biology, from explaining the fascinating behaviours of various fishes and other creatures to tips on finding critters of your very own. Fiji is also rich with terrestrial wildlife and Kadavu is an ideal place to explore and learn. Download further details of the itinerary below and contact us today to get more from your diving!
Matava Dive Resort situated on the Fijian island of Kadavu is remote, isolated and only accessible by boat. Matava is a small boutique eco resort where solar power heats water and powers lights, whilst maintaining an air of luxury. The resort even grows its own organic produce on site. Surrounded by dense forest, much of Fiji’s indigenous terrestrial wildlife can be found within the resort’s grounds. Abundant marine life can be seen right off shore and many great dives accessed by boat from the resort.
Bookings – for bookings and/or with any questions, please contact Richard:
Email – RichardSmith@DeepBlueAdventures.com
Telephone – 0208 196 2449 (UK) or 888-266-2209 (USA – Toll Free)
Please download the attached file for more information or follow this link to the Ocean Realm Images expeditions page.
Attachment: Dr Richard Smith Fiji Marine Life Expedition.pdf
Recently, I was very pleased to have a feature gallery with Australian Geographic.
This iconic publication published a gallery of my images of pygmy seahorses, including mating, fighting and giving birth, along with an short article I wrote.
You can FOLLOW THIS LINK to the gallery or read the article below:
PYGMY SEAHORSES ARE AMONG the world’s smallest fishes. Around 2cm in length, these tiny animals are relatively new to science: six of the seven species were named in the last two decades.
Two species, Bargibant’s and Denise’s, are extreme habitat specialists. They live only on gorgonian coral – soft, bush-like colonies that thrive in tropical water temperatures – in parts of South East Asia, and less commonly the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
Colour matching to gorgonian coral
Pygmy seahorses live in small groups. They enter the group as a juvenile, having spent a week or two floating around in the ocean after their birth. Over their first five days on the gorgonian, they change to perfectly match the colour and surface texture of their new home. They remain on this coral for the rest of their life, even in the absence of other seahorses.
Their camouflage is astounding, and goes a long way toward explaining their relatively recent discovery. As a result of this disguise, they have few natural predators.
Like other seahorses, pygmies have the reproductive quirk of male pregnancy. However, they differ from other seahorses in that the male broods the young in a pouch located within the body cavity, rather than on the tail.
Dr Richard Smith is a British marine biologist and photojournalist. He conducted his PhD on the biology and conservation of pygmy seahorses.
At the end of last week I was excited to receive my copy of the new Sport Diving Magazine from Australia. It contains my article ‘Amazing Encounters’ about my trip aboard Wakatobi Dive Resort’s live aboard the Pelagian (available as a pdf download below). I visited the resort in September last year, following a two and a half year gap since I was there conducting research for my PhD on the biology and conservation of pygmy seahorses. It was fantastic to catch up with old friends and have the opportunity to dive the stunning reefs again. I had been truly lucky to have this as my home for six months!
On receipt of my copy of the magazine, I was also very pleased to see that I have the cover shot this issue, with a shot I took whilst on the trip. The shot is of a tiny Xenia coral crab, which was so small it would have comfortably fit on a five pence coin! I found the crab on a night dive and it had just moulted its hard exoskeleton, which like all crustaceans they do in order to grow. The hard external shell prevents day-to-day growth, so growth occurs in bouts immediately after shedding of the old skin. Whilst the new skin is soft and malleable, the crab pumps up its body slightly, like a balloon, and stretching it before it hardens.
For more images from the trip, please feel free to browse my images by following this link.
Attachment: Pelagian – Amazing Encounters.pdf