Refining identification of seahorses

By March 18, 2014The Seahorse Trust News

Just to update everyone on the tagging project at Studland we have changed our approach in the last two years and although it is called a tagging project we no longer use tags.(we will change the name soon) Right from the start we have been refining our techniques and knowledge on how to identify seahorses in the wild (and captivity) and slowly we perfected the photo identification process, which means we no longer have to handle seahorses or put a numbered tag on their necks. We know putting tags on seahorses does them no harm but we wanted to minimise contact with the seahorses to as little as possible. We now photograph the seahorses (without flash as this is illegal) and take pictures of either side of the head. When we get back to the office we look for clusters of patterns in the spots on the head and match them up with our extensive photo database which is part of the National Seahorse database run by The Seahorse Trust. It has taken some time to perfect this technique but we are there and so for the last 2 years we have not used tags at all and relied on the photos.
There is more about this in our 5 Year Report on Studland on this website under downloads at http://www.theseahorsetrust.org/research.aspx

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