Australian science channels 2015 postgraduate survival guide out now.

post grad survival guide 2015 cover

The 2015 Postgraduate Survival Guide is now available through Australia’s science channel and Lachlan from Fish Thinkers talks fish tracking in the hot topics section Article here. There is a ‘photo’ link with quite a few of our tracking field work photos as well and some nice underwater photos from James Cook Uni in the marine conservation section. The guide is far from marine based though and covers numerous fields from robotics to astrophysics and is well worth a read if you are considering masters or PhD research down the track.

2015 guide hot topics

More down loads options including google play and Itunes can be found at

Designing a fish identification survey app for use underwater in the Caribbean

Lionfish in the Caribbean.

Lionfish in the Caribbean. Copyright Duane J Sanabria

My fellow PhD candidates over in Puerto Rico, Chelsea & Evan Tuohy are undertaking a lot of interesting marine research. One of their current projects they are working on is developing a fish identification and surveying app for Caribbean reef fish ID and underwater surveys. Chelsea explains in more depth in her guest blog below.

I first started diving in 2008, and it was an undergraduate field course hosted at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez’ Isla Magueyes field station that introduced me to the work of a field scientist. I lived in un-airconditioned dorms, woke up early to dive every morning, and spent the afternoons pouring over fish identification books. This was my first time trying to identify Caribbean reef fish, and I had zero background on this subject. Continue reading

The global tracking map: your key to discovering how the marine world moves.

VEMCO researchers map

VEMCOs researchers map: ‘Help us help you collaborate with the best researchers in the world and let us “Put You on the Map”! Red pins represent studies using VEMCO products, the dark pins represent institutes’.

For those that have an interest in animal movement in the oceans, I’d like to draw your attention to a handy and interesting tool on the VEMCO website; the global tracking map. This tool Continue reading

Special underwater video session – ASFB conference

I’m very excited to be co-convening a special session on the use of video technology to better understand fish ecology and behaviour at the Australian Society of Fish Biology conference 2015!! See flyer below for details. Registration and abstract submission ARE NOW OPEN!!

Also check out ASFB’s Facebook page here for regular updates.

ASFB custom

New underwater video up: extended BRUV highlights

Baited Remote Under Water Video (BRUV) Video highlights from some recent research we have been undertaking here at Fish Thinkers.<!–more–> We have been using this as background footage at a few events and after a few requests we decided to put it up online. Show it to your cat…they will love it ;).  Feel free to share or show people that might be interested. Whilst on that topic thanks to everyone who has shared our videos, photos and blog posts on social media, it is much appreciated (and rather surprising how many reads we have gotten on topics we least expected people to be interested in).

Of course all of this BRUV research wouldn’t be possible without the extensive support of the Dr Nathan Knott, the NSW Fisheries (DPI) and the University of Wollongong.

The tale of the much maligned giant Australian water rat.


CREDITS : © J Gould © Victoria Museum,

Recently whilst pottering around in the backyard I saw what I first thought was a ringtail possum in the undergrowth. That was until it scampered across the open yard at a pace a ringtail could only dream of attaining on the ground. It was the biggest rat I had ever seen and it seems to have taken up residence in the ponds (i.e. bathtubs and containers I have set-up for fish and frogs) in my yard.

Since then I have seen it regularly and it doesn’t look like the rats I usually see in the urban environment; it was huge at around 1.5 kg and it also had a fluffy tail tipped with white and a slightly golden underbelly. I’ve seen these guys before when fishing so after the first good look at it I knew it was a native water rat (also known as the rakali). That’s where my knowledge on the species ended. Continue reading

Positive response of Giant Mud Crabs to protected areas

The giant mud crab (Scylla serrata) is a beast of a crustacean, capable of reaching 3kg in weight but often caught around the 0.5-1kg range. In Australia, they are distributed in sheltered waters from southern NSW, up through QLD, across the NT and over to Broome, WA.

Giant mud crabs have a short life cycle (3-4 years) and are reproductive machines. Females can carry between 2 – 5 million eggs and migrate up to 95km offshore to release their eggs. The young crabs hatch as tiny planktonic larvae, where they can remain in this stage for several weeks at the mercy of ocean currents. This aspect of their biology gives giant mud crabs substantial capabilities for dispersal.

A giant mud crab (Scylla serrata) chillin next to some mangroves on Mali Island. Photo by Jürgen Freund. Check out more of his amazing wildlife photos here and on facebook at Jurgen Freund Photography – Australia.

Their prized meat and high numbers within estuaries make them a highly targeted recreationally and commercially harvested species. In NSW, annual commercial landings are approximately 100-120t and the annual recreational catch is estimated between 30-60t. The main method of capture by both commercial and recreational fishers are crab pots, however rec fishers also use hoop nets or dillies.

Continue reading