Category Archives: Ecology

Australasian Fishes: We Want Your Fish (Sightings)!

original John Sear 4

Fish Thinkers has just become an official project supporter of Australasian fishes, which as someone that has a slight obsession with fish, I am rather happy about.  Set up by the Australian Museum in 2016, it is a really nice example of a citizen science project that is open to all and it is getting lots of interesting results. Continue reading


Pregnant Sharks and Rays Abort Offspring When Fished

Pregnant Sharks and Rays Abort Offspring When Fished – Guest post by Kye Adams

Have you ever seen a viral video of a shark or ray giving birth (e.g. River Monsters)? Unfortunately, it turns out these videos have a pretty dark explanation: There’s a fairly high chance the female is actually aborting her pups due to the stress of being caught. Continue reading

Shark Search Indo-Pacific: finding sharks and conservation solutions in the Big Ocean

Dr Andrew Chin is based at the Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries and Aquaculture – James Cook University and is the current president of the Oceania Chondrichthyan Society. He is also the Programme Director of Shark Search Indo-Pacific, a project that I personally find incredibly interesting and have been following closely. Andrew stopped by Fish Thinkers to give us the inside scoop on Shark Search Indo-Pacific in the guest post below: Continue reading

How do patterns in coastal seascapes influence temperate reef fish assemblages?

Daniel Swadling is a new PhD student at the University of Wollongong who is embarking on a project to better understand the relationship between temperate fishes and their habitats. He also loves his luderick and drummer fishing using an old school Alvey reel, so he is going to fit in just fine and I sense there will be plenty of fishing adventures in the future. Below is his guest post recapping his honours project and where he is heading with his PhD research.

My name is Daniel, I am a PhD student at the University of Wollongong (UOW) Continue reading

Have your say on the NSW Marine Estate Threat and Risk Assessment

Are you concerned about the health of New South Wales marine environment?

If you are, it is worth looking at the NSW Marine Estate Threat and Risk Assessment Draft Report and providing a submission or comment to improve the assessment.

The report will be used to determine the most important threats and risks to the NSW marine environment and your submission could help decide where management actions are directed. Note: submissions are due this Saturday the 30th of April.

The website contains the current threat and risk assessment for a range of human activities on environmental assets (for e.g. fish, beaches, rocky reef etc.). It is interesting to see what the current risk ratings are for certain human activities and how the NSW Marine Estate justify these ratings.

To search for this information the NSW Marine Estate has developed an interactive tool to help you navigate through the draft assessment. Once you have identified a human activity (for e.g. recreational fishing) and its risk on an environmental asset (for e.g. the fish assemblage) there are links to a variety of reports used to justify this ranking plus a link to provide your own feedback.

The interactive tool did take me some time to get the hang of, so below are instructions and screen grabs to help you navigate your way through the site.

Continue reading

Top shelf bottom feeders


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

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


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