Seahorses are one of the most charismatic and easily recognizable fish in the sea. Today there are 46 living species of seahorses that reside in most of the planet’s tropical and temperate waters. While they may not be a keystone species in the same way that corals or sharks are, they are still ecologically important.
For our purposes, monitoring seahorses is important because they face many of the same threats that all fish face, but are more sensitive to those changes. By understanding and protecting seahorses we are protecting all marine life.
Upon completion of this course, students will:
- Learn about seahorse ecology and identification and understand the global and local threats to seahorse populations
- Learn the diagnostic features for identifying seahorses and be able to identify the most common local species of seahorses
- Know how to survey for seahorses using the roving diver and transect survey methods
- Practice a seahorse survey completing at least two of the main tasks (surveying along the line, controlling the GPS raft, keeping track of dive activity timing)
- Be familiar with the iSeahorse.org website and how to enter sightings data into the global database
The goals of this program are to increase knowledge and awareness on these unique species and give citizen scientists the tools they need to contribute to their conservation.
The Conservation Diver Seahorse Ecology and Monitoring Program Manual.
Original content for this course developed by Kirsty Magson.
Course Compiled and Built by Chad Scott
Illustrations and Graphics by Pau Urgell Plaza and Chad Scott
Photos by Kirsty Magson, Pau Urgell Plaza, Elouise Haskin, and others
With contributions by Elouise Haskin, Leon Haines, and Spencer Arnold
We also want to thank Dr. Tse-Lyn Loh and Dr. Lindsay Alsworth of Project Seahorse and iSeahorse.org for their guidance, training, and expertise in developing our monitoring protocols.