Have you seen the horses under the sea?

Knysna Seahorse Project

Sometimes, we don’t realise the curiosities that could be found right at our doorstep, all you must do is look. If you ever find yourself around the Thesen Island Marina in Knysna, be sure to look out for a little boat chugging along with a couple of students and a pool net on board. They’re not there to scoop leaves out of the Marina, I’m afraid, but rather to look for an illusive little fish known as the Knysna seahorse (Hippocampus capensis). (more…)

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Keurbooms Seahorse Research Project

Keurbooms Seahorse Research Project

My past twenty years of research work at sea involved taking along bins of equipment -glassware, chemicals, oceanographic instruments, batteries and spares for everything. So, walking down to the Keurbooms Estuary for this month’s seahorse survey with all my sampling gear inside a small rucksack, feels minimalistic to say the least. The 50m Research vessel has now been replaced by a canoe, and with my family as crew we set off on an ebbing tide to search for Knysna seahorses, albeit in the Keurbooms Estuary. This is one of the few localities other than Knysna, that this endangered species calls home. (more…)

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Sea Star Sundays

The Spiny sea star Marthasterias glacialis

The Spiny sea star Marthasterias glacialis is widely distributed. However, the South African Marthasterias population has been reclassified as Marthasterias africana. These critters were easy to spot with their vibrant orange and purple colourings and their arms covered in small spines. The spread of M. africana within The Knysna Estuary is suspected to be because of the invasive mussel species Mytilus galloprovincialis, as it is the sea star’s main source of food. (more…)

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Proper identification of the Moonshine worm in the Knysna Estuary

Knysna moonshine worm

In the week of the 27th of February, I had the privilege of working in the Knysna Estuary and connecting with the people involved in the Knysna Basin Project. As part of my M.Sc degree I look at the proper identification of the Moonshine worm in the Knysna Estuary. On-going interviews with local fishermen and published data suggest that polychaete worms are increasingly being harvested and utilized as baiting species in the Knysna Estuary. It is, however, not known whether harvesting of polychaetes is sustainable or how the apparent increase in utilization by recreational and subsistence fishermen may affect stocks. These problems are compounded by widespread confusion over proper identification of some species. (more…)

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