Category Archives: Lachlan’s posts

Fish Thinkers online: 2017 in review

fish_thinkers 2017

Fish Thinkers six most popular Instagram posts of 2017

At the end of each year I like to put up some customary navel gazing i.e. a review of the Fish Thinkers year. It is a summary mainly as a record for myself as I find it useful to look at our blog and social media stats and see what people are particularly interested in.  Although there is also the odd chance someone else is vaguely interested—since people have brought up parts of the review before, I guess a few people are anyway. Here is the 2017 review: Continue reading


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

5 free ways around the great paywall of academia. #Updated December 2017#


Picture: Severin. Stalder CC BY-SA 3.0 via wikimedia commons

If you do not have subscription access to academic journals through an institution then to access a large proportion of academic journals you will be charged a fee for each paper; fees of $30 or more per article are common. And if you need to access a lot of papers then the cost quickly adds up. Needless to  say many people don’t have the means to pay. Of course you could stick to open access journals i.e. free to read and download (Head to the directory of Open Access Journals for easy access to a whole range of open access journals), but by doing so you will miss a lot of what’s happening in the academic world*.

If you can’t afford to pay then you have a few options to get around the paywalls.

Here are  5 ways around the great paywall of academia; Continue reading

Fish on marine sand: homebodies or adventurers?


Word cloud based on the publication text  

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

Baby sharks head for home…

Who says sharks aren’t cute?  Watch this video and tell me otherwise!  And worth a quick blog post surely?

I recently spent a few days running a shark tracking workshop @tarongazoo projectshark in Jervis Bay with @400knots & @kye.adams.  There were various other workshops running too – Including Matts on marinedebris and another on Port Jackson shark ecology and behaviour by Sherrie and Cat from Maquarie Uni together with Sue from crest diving.

After the event I got a chance to race off and film these little sharks getting released back into the wild by Conner who had just arrived from Macquarie Uni Fish Lab.  Research from the lab has shown that when these PJs are adults they will migrate to Tasmania and back again each year! And often return to exactly the same crevice to breed each time!!

If you want to learn more about all the various Port Jackson shark research underway then head over to the Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution of Fishes Laboratory page.


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