Top shelf bottom feeders

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If you are in Jervis Bay and see someone knee deep surrounded by rays or alternatively sitting staring at rays for hours on end then chances are you are looking at the “mother of rays”  otherwise known as  Joni  – the driving force behind the Stingray Diaries. She’s studying smooth stingrays throughout the Jervis Bay Marine park, in conjunction with Fisheries NSW and gives us a rundown on her research in her guest blog below…

Top shelf bottom feeders

Learning to swim by getting thrown off the end of a busy public wharf on the Hawkesbury River in nothing but a pair of hot pink floaties… Living in a swimsuit and covered in sand every single day of the year… Chucking tantrums when told to come inside after playing on the beach all day because it was dark… At the age of 4, saying with great certainty, “Mum, when I grow up I’m going to be a Marine Biologist.” Continue reading

Backyard Habitat Ponds 101

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Damien Vella is Senior Horticulturist at the Botanic Gardens and does a great job of sharing natural history moments he encounters throughout his life on his instagram account. He has a particular skill for taking events from the backyard and telling a story that weaves in the underlying ecology in a fascinating way. He also shares one of my deep interests-that is creating habitat in backyards (Even better that it is the aquatic type).

Below is his guest blog discussing backyard habitat ponds… Continue reading

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My last fish of the year…

The plan was to head to the mid stretches of the Thredbo River in the Snowy Mountains to try and fool some foot-long brown trout into eating a dry fly. But after a short walk to my favourite stretch of water the rain had set in making it almost impossible to spot my fly. A change in tactics was needed, so I tied on a heavy double nymph rig and attached a subtle indicator to fish some deeper runs.

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Thinking about sand and the fish (and researchers) that call it home

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Why would you study pretty fish on coral reefs if you could be trying to find grumpy weirdos like this Painted frogfish (Antennarius pictus)

Maarten De Brauwer is a marine biologist, dive instructor, biology teacher, PhD-candidate at Curtin University in Perth (Western Australia) and studies fish on soft sediments is lucky enough to work on sandy habitats  ;). He also does a really nice job on the science communication front over at Critter Research!  Below is his guest blog with some recent musings…

Thinking about sand and the fish (and researchers) that call it home

When I was asked to write a guest blog I first considered writing about fluorescent frogfish or about how weird fish that live on the sand can send children to school in developing countries. While I might do that another time, instead I decided to start a guest blog for Fish Thinkers by thinking about fish. Maybe because thinking about fish is what I am currently paid to do, though the fact that I’ve gone through 3 gin tonics and a fair amount of wine on a long-haul flight might play a role too. Continue reading

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Dry fly fishing the Snowy Mountains

Warm afternoons, insects hatching and brown trout looking to the surface for a feed – A couple of weekends ago my old man and I had a great weekend fly fishing the Snowy Mountains region. After mid-week snow and rain the creeks were running well and the trout eager for well-presented dry flies. Below are a handful of images from the trip…

By Matt Rees
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Fish on marine sand: homebodies or adventurers?

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A large part of my PhD involves working with researchers from NSW DPI and UOW to try and understand the movement patterns of fishes found on marine sands. And our recent paper (open access and free to read here) on blue-spotted flathead is the first piece of the movement puzzle Continue reading

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Local communities improving fish habitat

A few weeks ago, we helped Conservation Volunteers Australia and the William Beach Bush Care group to improve fish habitat along the shores of Mullet Creek, Lake Illawarra.

It was a fantastic day with a lot of trees planted and rubbish removed from the riparian zone. This work will hopefully enhance the local fishery by improving water quality and increasing habitat structure that fish need throughout various stages of their life.

One of the best aspects of the day however, was interacting with community members who are passionate about habitat restoration and fishing. It was great to meet and chat  fishing with members from the Illawarra Fly Fishers Club. Another drawcard of the event was fly fishing legend Juan Luis Del Carmen from the Advanced Fly Fishing School Sydney, who gave some of us a much needed fly casting lesson (me)!

Watch all the action that unfolded on the day above in a great video produced by our friend James Lidsey from North Head Media. Massive thanks to Adam Woods from CVA for organising the event and having us. Keep an eye out for more events like these in the future!

The project was assisted by NSW DPI Rec fishing trusts “Habitat Action Grants”.

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If you ever need a fly casting lesson Juan is the person to see!!

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Lac cleaning up litter along the bank of Mullet Creek.