ABOUT

Avid outdoorsman and underwater photographer, Barry Brown has spent the last 12 years documenting life above and below water in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles. He is currently working with the Smithsonian Institution documenting new Caribbean deep-water species and building a one of a kind database. His underwater images can regularly be seen in Sport Diver, Scuba Diver and on the Ikelite website. His image of a "Collage of Corals" seen under blue-light at night recently placed in the TOP 10 images for the 2014 NANPA (North American Nature Photographers Association) photo contest.

General

Nov 24, 16     Comments (0)

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Good morning friends, sorry about the lack of blogs as of late but I am way too busy these days to post. My last day of work was on the 11th and we leave Curacao on the 16th on December so as you can image we are busy! I have a long list of last minute photos that I am trying to get done but it seems like I have taken on more than I can chew. The rainy season has finally hit and this alone is making it very hard to get my topside shots finished because of the lack of sun these past few days but I am trying. I have been doing a lot of cycling getting ready for the 80k Curacao Extreme race which happens on the 4th of next month “weather permitting”. I’ve been taking my bike and camera gear into Punda these past days shooting as much architecture as possible to use for Curacao slide-shows back in the States, this has been a fun project but super exhausting. Getting around on the bike is so easy compared to walking or driving, I can photograph so much more in a short amount of time. I am also doing a ton of diving as many of you have seen on my Twitter account, if your interested just go to Twitter and put SquidLover3 in the search box. The dogs are fine, Inca has good days and bad, her hip is really starting to bother her but all in all she is doing well.

I have a super beautiful Christmas tree worm for your Thanksgiving viewing pleasure today that I shot on last nights super fun night dive.

Spirobranchus giganteus, commonly known as Christmas tree worms, are tube-building polychaete worms belonging to the family Serpulidae.worm is aptly named, both its common and Latin names refer to the two chromatically hued spiral structures, the most common feature seen by divers. The multicolored spirals are highly derived structures for feeding and respiration.

Spirobranchus Gianteius Peniez is similar to most tube-building polychaetes. It has a tubular, segmented body lined with chaeta, small appendages that aid the worm’s mobility. Because it does not move outside its tube, this worm does not have any specialized appendages for movement or swimming.

The worms’ most distinct features are two “crowns” shaped like Christmas trees. These are highly modified prostomial palps, which are specialized mouth appendages. Each spiral is composed of feather-like tentacles called radioles, which are heavily ciliated and cause any prey trapped in them to be transported to the worm’s mouth. While they are primarily feeding structures, S. giganteus also uses its radioles for respiration; hence, the structures commonly are called “gills.”

One major difference between Christmas tree worms and the closely related sabellida fan worms is that the latter do not have any specialized body structures to plug their tube holes when they withdraw into them. S. giganteus, like other members of its family, possess a modified radiole, usually called the operculum, that it uses to secure its hole when withdrawn into its tube.

As an annelid, S. giganteus possesses a complete digestive system and has a well-developed closed circulatory system. Like other annelids, these worms possess well-developed nervous systems with a central brain and many supporting ganglia, including pedal ganglia, unique to the Polychaeta. Like other polychaetes, S. giganteus excrete with fully developed nephridia. When they reproduce, they simply shed their gametes straight into the water where the eggs (and spermatozoa) become part of the zooplankton to be carried by the currents.

Have a great holiday!!

Barry

Nov 10, 16     Comments Off on Texture/ New Growth on a Giant, Deep Vase Sponge

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Nov 9, 16     Comments Off on Double Giant Vase Sponges, Deep Reef Scenes

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Nov 9, 16     Comments Off on Mated Pair of Scrawled Filefish, Odd shaped Fish

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Nov 9, 16     Comments Off on Giant Vase Sponge with Lionfish, Deep Reef Scene

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Nov 7, 16     Comments Off on Damselfish Garden, Endangered Staghorn Corals

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Good morning all, how was your weekend out there?? I pretty much just laid around feeling tired after doing an 80k mountain bike ride Friday with the Dutch Navy and Army guys and gals, talk about an “in shape” group of people! We started at 7:00am from the airport and rode a giant loop that took around four hours and half of it was through mud and water sometime up to a meter deep! Sounds fun right??

I have a new “coral problem” for you all today that I found last Thursday out on our house reef. See the little damselfish in the middle of the coral head? He did this damage on purpose to this beautiful endangered Staghorn coral, it’s called a Damselfish Garden. My friend Nick who is a coral expert explains below just what your looking at, it’s very interesting so read on. Nick writes, the story with the damselfish is that they find a bit of coral they like and peck off the living coral tissue. The exposed skeleton becomes overgrown with algae that the damsel fish like to eat. The fish defend these little farm territories so aggressively that they will even chase off larger herbivores like parrotfish that would quickly clear away the algae (I have definitely had them bite my fingers while working with the corals & once had one hit me right between the eyes good thing I had a facemask on). Apparently with the decline of larger predatory fish on reefs worldwide, these little guys have become much more abundant and can be a real threat to reef health. The photo you took is a great example, where you have what appears to be a perfectly healthy coral missing tissue only on that patch at the top where there is a thick mat of green algae growing on the white skeleton. All the green moss you see is where the little fish destroyed the living coral, there is only around 50% or less of the live coral left. Most of you out there already know how crazy endangered this coral already is, so if the fisherman’s anchors and coral bleaching doesn’t kill it, these little fish will, all due to overfishing and having no big fish left to eat the little fish, so sad!

Lots going on today, I have to get moving…

Cheers, Barry

Nov 2, 16     Comments Off on Coral Reef Scene, Sea Fan, Shipwreck Point

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Good morning all, yes I know, long time!! Well, we have lots going on these days, we had the Smithsonian here for two solid weeks and that kept me busy around the clock plus we are crazy busy getting our house packed and ready to leave Curacao. I had to fly to Miami last week for one day to get us a car and put it in storage and then race back here the same day, that was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I’m still riding a lot trying to maintain my 100 miles a week but the weather has been really horrible! We have had 100 degree days for almost the whole month of October, combine that with little to no wind and it makes life a living hell. I did a reef dive yesterday with my trusty 16mm and went in search of new coral reef scenes like you see above. The water has been so clear these past few weeks making the diving some of the best we have had all year, it’s like swimming in an aquarium. 

Sorry so short, just checking in…

Barry

Oct 13, 16     Comments Off on Golden Bass, Liopropoma olneyi, Deep-Sea Fish

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Good morning, I have a crazy beautiful, ultra rare deep-sea fish for you today that was found yesterday at around 600 feet! The common name for this little 3 inch jewel is Golden Bass or Liopropoma olneyi. This was named after Dr. John Olney who passed away several years ago and was one of the top marine larval fish experts in the world. Through DNA, Carole Baldwin and Dave Johnson were able to match a spectacular larval fish caught off the coast of Florida to adults of Liopropoma olneyi from the deep reefs of Curacao, a true mother and chid reunion.

Super busy with the Smithsonian…

Barry

Oct 12, 16     Comments Off on Deep-Sea Bellator sp. Found by the Smithsonian Inst.

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Oct 12, 16     Comments Off on Super-Tiny Juvenile Frogfish in a Heineken Bottle Cap

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Oct 7, 16     Comments Off on 1mm Polylepion sp. Found by the Smithsonian & Substation

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Oct 7, 16     Comments Off on 3-inch Scorpionfish found at 675 Feet by Smithsonian

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Oct 6, 16     Comments Off on Baby Bottlenose Dolphins, Newborn Baby Dolphin Calfs

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Oct 4, 16     Comments Off on Bonaire License Plate, Divers Paradise Plate

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Good morning friends, I know long time right?? There is so much going on these days that I hardly have time to write. Today we have these freak “surge waves” coming in from the south-west causing complete destruction up and down the coast! These are most likely from hurricane Matthew because storms like that are the only things strong enough to produce these wild waves we are getting today. The waves have been so big and so strong that they are now eroding every beach away from here to the west-end of the island, I even heard reports of huge 20 foot waves that have been hitting the cliffs and wiping out homes??  

I had a request for a Bonaire license plate which I shot a few months ago when Aimee and I went over there for a few days. I tried to do some research on what the pictures are and couldn’t find anything on the web BUT I can help with a few or at least guess. From left to right, limestone cliff covered in local cactus and plants, Iconic building that is on the waterfront downtown, a famous lighthouse on the southern tip of the island, a flamingoo and last I think mangroves, that’s my guess. Bonaire is listed and known as “Divers Paradise” why you ask?? Because you can rent a truck, load it with tanks and drive and dive just about anywhere on the island, it’s about as easy as it gets.

Sorry so short, all is well….

Barry

Sep 30, 16     Comments Off on Endangered Corals, Elkhorn Coral Polyps Macro

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Good morning all, Hurricane Matthew passed by last night with almost no activity here in Curacao?? At 5:00am it was hitting Aruba and the tail was hitting Bonaire but so far we are good other than rough seas and overcast skies and very little rain. 

I have a macro shot of the beautiful root-beer colored polyps on an Endangered elkhorn coral that I shot right out in front of the Substation. We have only one live elkhorn on our small reef, it sits clinging to side of a boulder at around 25-30 feet and I see it overtime I head out for a dive with the submersible. 

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