By Leslee Matsushige, aquarium co-curator
Hello from Down Under!
Scripps Institution of Oceanography professor Greg Rouse and I arrived in Sydney on April 25 to a very windy day. We met up with Nerida Wilson, a research scientist at the Australian Museum who’s also a Scripps research associate. Nerida has been studying seadragon biology with Greg for several years and is also part of our seadragon research team.
The blustery conditions didn’t stop us from diving into choppy Botany Bay to seek out the weedy seadragons. No luck on that first dive, but the following day I saw my first weedy seadragon (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus) in the wild! It was one of the largest weedy seadragons I’d ever seen; I was so excited.
I was also intrigued by the other marine life such as the giant Australian cuttlefish (Specia apama). A curious eastern blue groper (Achoerodus viridis) followed us during the entire dive. We even saw a green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)!
Leafy seadragons do not occur in Sydney, so we need to wait until we dive in Adelaide to catch a glimpse of them. However, next up is a trip to the Sydney Aquarium to visit with an aquarist who takes care of their weedy seadragon exhibit.