Monday, December 29, 2008

Babies into the new year…

I’m happy to report that we still have a good number of our babies. Fortunately, through the Christmas break, Kim, Mikey and I were able to share the feeding responsibilities. I’m “on” all this week. Special thanks to Mike Patricio who has stepped in to feed when needed. Mikey has also provided the lab space, live algae and air we need to hatch and raise our brine shrimp. Soon we will be moving into our own small space so that Mikey can get to conditioning shellfish for the upcoming spawn.

At this point we have approximately 40 healthy looking guys “happily” swimming around and hunting for food. We are losing one every other day or so for no apparent reason. The ones that die look just as healthy as their living brothers and sisters still swimming. I no longer see any trapped on the surface suffering from air trapped in there pouches or some similar malady. Many now gather near the bottom of the tank seaming to be looking at their reflection in the glass or just hunting for food down there.

I would like to think that we can begin to supplement with some non-live food such as chopped glass shrimp, but I’m a little concerned about fouling the water in the tank. I may try later this week to see what happens. If we do augment the feeding this way we will surely have to up the water change schedule. Another concern is that we want to keep these guys accustomed to hunting for food if we have any chance of successfully releasing them when they get large enough.

Oh yeah, our pregnant male looks about ready to pop any day now…


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Blondes have more fun?

I reported last week on our latest batch of seahorse babies and the fact that we had one light colored individual in the bunch. The next day I looked in the tank and I saw 2, but I thought miscounted. Well now its almost a week later and we have 5!

I’m not exactly sure what is happening, but we seem to be gaining blondes somehow. Three of the 5 are almost yellow while another has some dark highlights on a light background and another is a more brownish blonde. All of these light “guys” stand in stark contrast to the nearly jet black coloring of the other babies.

I knew the adults changed color in response to mood and activity, but I didn’t know that the babies changed color as they matured. Learn something new every day…

At this point we have about 30 individuals of various sizes with some really large ones in the dark group. The blondes appear to be among the most active so hopefully they will make it through to adulthood.

We’re looking to begin to feed some chopped shrimp and other “meat” soon to get these guys growing even faster.

I will report on how they do.

Merry Christmas!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

NYC plantings postponed until January…

Some of you may be aware of our efforts to plant eelgrass in Jamaica Bay NYC. It’s a long story, but we are working with NYCDEP and the Gateway Jamaica Bay Unit among others to establish test plantings at three locations near the mouth of the Bay. There was interest in us planting further inside Jamaica, but water quality, temperature and sediment texture appear to be limiting factors here.

After some discussion, we secured permits from both the NYSDEC, Region 2 and Parks to do the plantings earlier this year and we have been looking to schedule plantings for this fall/winter. This pilot planting will hopefully lead the way for a large-scale effort to be funded by NYCDEP…

Although I had hoped to get our plants in by now uncooperative weather and several scheduling conflicts have pushed this work into late January. This late date does not affect the plants as much as it affects the divers. We are fine to plant right through the winter but the water is not very warm as you might imagine.

I will report here when we complete the plantings…

Just be thankful its not you out there diving!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Web Page Improvements...

While I was gone Kim also was able to make some changes and update the web page. Take a look at the modified layout and new links on the bottom and let us know what you think. More changes will come this winter, but we try and get things accomplished as time allows.

With the "What's New" button visitors will be able to quickly find out what has been added or changed. We also added a link to pictures that we have lent out to others in the "Picture Hall of Fame" link. We are more than happy to provide pics to those who ask...


The Ponies are Growing!

I’ve been out for a couple weeks now, but just before I left we had another batch of baby seahorses arrive. We’ve been through a few of these events and unfortunately, we have not been able to get these little guys past about 10-14 days. This time is different.

The big difference was the fact that Kim Petersen took the babies home at the end of week one and was able to keep them fed. Past broods have suffered major losses after the first weekend as I was only able to feed them a few times. Also, I was putting too much food in the tank at one time. This time Kim fed them several times each day and got them past what has been a major bottleneck.

I came back to the office today to find about 50 healthy looking, large ponies swimming in a 10 gallon tank. All are jet black except for one “blonde”. Since I didn’t observe this batch closely from the beginning, I don’t know how many were light from the start, but I have seen maybe 10% of the lighter colored individuals in past batches.

There is no guarantee that we will be able to raise these guys to adulthood, but from the looks of it we are on the right track. The fact that they have more than doubled in size and are eating well is a good sign.

For now, I will cross my fingers and hope that we have figured this out.