Vanuatu Sea Slug Census 2024's Journal

May 18, 2024

Top tip #5 nudibrach cerata

After hearing about an amazing find by @candicevanuatu that has already been uploaded to the project, it's actimely reminder that:

  1. You do not have to dive to find cool critters, snorkelling and rockpooling are very worthwhile alternatives
  2. Some nudibranch species shed/throw their cerata as a defence mechanism.
  3. You do not necessarily need to know the names of all nudibranchs but knowing a few key features including the type of cerata and their shape (straight curly, bulbous , different makings at tips or base) and layout ( sparse, clustered, clumping) can put you in the general (naming) area of most ID books
    Enjoy the final day of slugging on 19th May.
    You then have 2 weeks to upload your species for inclusion in the census album.

Posted on May 18, 2024 11:05 AM by margo_s margo_s | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 16, 2024

Top tip #4 Do you have spots before your eyes?

The Phyllidia & Phyllidiella genus' can be tricky to identify.
It's good practice to take a few images of the same individual to ensure the distinguishing features can be seen by identifiers. Species may have different coloured rhinophores, rings around the dots, lines between the dots, different base colours or patterns around the margin. Very tricky in some instances as not all spots are equal.
Phyllidiopsis are generally striped and a little easier to ID but there are always exceptions such as Phyllidiopsis gemmata (sigh)

Posted on May 16, 2024 09:43 AM by margo_s margo_s | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 15, 2024

Top tip #3: Avoid hitting the wall

If you are doing multiple dives, over a number of days for the census, or any project, maybe frustration is setting in for you too with less new finds recorded?
Do not despair: nature is dynamic above and below water.
Conditions change with each tide and the critter haven from last week, or the previous day, may no no longer "the spot".
Take time to recharge and refocus: see what else is happening underwater with regard to fish life, shrimp, crabs and seastars and then who knows what species may be in front of you waiting to be photographed.
Getting involved in citizen science should be a positive experience, not a chore! The project is a team effort after all.

Posted on May 15, 2024 09:47 AM by margo_s margo_s | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 13, 2024

Top Tip #2 simple ways to submit your observations (records)

Uploading your images may feel onerous if you are not aware of some of the features of iNaturalist.
It is always an advantage to have more than one image of an individual to assist with identification. Did you know you can upload multiple images at once of either a single sighting or multiple sightings/records.
You can also pin a location which is extremely helpful if diving (in this case) in the same area. Simply go to the location and once there look for the 3 dots in top right click and pin location. Next time you can head to the 3 dots and click on the pinned location you want.
The FAQs section on iNaturalist has these, along with many other questions , with easy to follow through instructions.
Need assistance ? Leave a message in the comments to arrange a one on one tutorial one afternoon during the week.

Posted on May 13, 2024 03:50 AM by margo_s margo_s | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 12, 2024

Top tip #1

Need inspiration on what nudibranchs may call Vanuatu home?
Head to VESS website and look at the albums in the sea slug census project.
Check the background of each image to get an idea of where to find them - nudibranchs are smart - they don't travel far from their food source!

Posted on May 12, 2024 06:36 AM by margo_s margo_s | 1 comment | Leave a comment

We are up and running with divers in the water

Welcome everyone to the 2024 Vanuatu Sea Slug Census!

What are we going to find this year? We have opened up the range of our census to the whole of Vanuatu. We hope this will mean that we find some species that we haven't recorded before from different areas.

After looking at the SSC results last year Prof Steve Smith said that he was surprised that some families that are abundant at most other locations are absent from Vanuatu records – especially some of the hydroid and soft-coral associated taxa – Dotidae, Eubranchidae, Tritoniidae. Steve suggested it would be worth targeting sites with these habitats to see if there are any around (mostly relatively turbid sites from his experience).

Hopefully with that top tip we will encourage our top sea slug sleuths to rack up the number of species they find. Stay tuned for some other top tips from our top Nudi spotters over the time of the 2024 census.

Happy Sea Slug spotting!

Posted on May 12, 2024 02:49 AM by christinashaw christinashaw | 0 comments | Leave a comment