3: Bahamas 2013 | Seining and Sapona

Genevieve is a former intern from the dive department. She joined Aquarium divers in the Bahamas to help collect fish, under special permits, so that visitors in Boston can appreciate the splendor of a healthy Caribbean reef.  After a top-to-bottom transformation, the Giant Ocean Tank is expected to reopen in early summer with more than twice the number of fish than last fall. 

Needlefish | Photo: Mark Rosenstein

Needlefish are one of the most inquired-about fish in the GOT. They reside in schools directly on the surface. These fragile fish have long, pointed beaks, hence the name needlefish. These fish are too sensitive to be handled in the vinyl nets and live closer to the shore, so instead of diving to catch the desired fifty needles, the group does a beach seine.

Needlefish | Photo: Mark Rosenstein
In the afternoon, the group dove the Sapona, a shipwreck off the coast of Bimini. This shallow dive sight is home to countless species and individuals, making it a prime spot for the Aquarium collecting trips. Highlights of the Sapona include hogfish and varied species of parrotfish.

Hogfish | Photo: Mark Rosenstein

Hogfish are massive wrasses, that create a harem on the reef. This means that there is always a large “super male”, who mates with all of the females. If the super male dies, a female actually changes gender to take his role.

Queen parrotfish | Photo: Mark Rosenstein

Parrotfish vary in size and the different color schemes and patterns of each species make them a key target on the collecting trips since they're easy to spot in the Giant Ocean Tank.

By showing visitors the beauty of a healthy Caribbean reef, we hope to inspire people to do what they can to protect these reefs and marine habitats around the world. Thanks to Mark Rosenstein for sharing his beautiful pictures!

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