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

Archive for July, 2016

Jul 28, 16     Comments Off on Pufferfish, Cute Reef Fish, Balloon fish

 

 

Jul 27, 16     Comments Off on Scuba Diver Photographing a Mini-Submersible
Jul 26, 16     Comments Off on Cleaning Sea Plastic/Trash from Protected Mangroves

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Good morning friends, I have an update on my “mangrove clean-up experiment” for you all today starting with the original trashed mangrove photo I posted a few weeks ago! So what I did was go back out to Saint Joris bay after taking the top photo and cleaned up all the trash from that particular area and took a second photo showing what a difference just one hour of work can do. This was accomplished with the help of my friend Jonathan who bagged while I tossed it all out into the open. The third photo shows what we took out in just one hour or less, so those who say “why bother” well, I have no good answer for you! The fourth photo is our buddy Mark from the World famous Dive Bus Hut who is always there to lend a hand and is no stranger to picking up trash. Those six green bags sat out there along the road for over a week and not one person (not even the surfers) cared enough to pick them up and toss them out, what does this say for the hope of cleaning up the planet?? Aimee and I always say, “if everyone were to just pick up a little something each day we could get this problem under control”!

Lots going on, have a wonderful day!

Barry

Jul 25, 16     Comments Off on Substation Iguana, Green Iguana Curacao
Jul 22, 16     Comments Off on NEW Species of Scorpionfish named after ME!

 

 

Jul 21, 16     Comments Off on New Healthy Staghorn Corals, Endangered Coral

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Good morning friends, while out searching the reefs last week I encountered a new area full of endangered Staghorn corals and they are beautiful! I ended up finding around 30 little patches or colonies and they are all looking great, this is a super endangered coral!

The dominant mode of reproduction for staghorn corals is asexual, with new colonies forming when branches break off a colony and reattach to the substrate. This life history trait allows rapid population recovery from physical disturbances such as storms. However, it makes recovery from disease or bleaching episodes (where entire colonies or even entire stands are killed) very difficult.

Sexual reproduction is via broadcast spawning of gametes into the water column once each year in August or September. Individual colonies are both male and female (simultaneous hermaphrodites) and will release millions of gametes. The coral larvae (planula) live in the plankton for several days until finding a suitable area to settle; unfortunately, very few larvae survive to settle and metamorphose into new colonies. The preponderance of asexual reproduction in this species raises the possibility that genetic diversity in the remnant populations may be very low. These uncertainties as to recruitment/recovery potential and genetic status are the bases for increased demographic concerns for this species.

Since 1980, populations have collapsed throughout their range from disease outbreaks (primarily White band disease), with losses compounded locally by hurricanes, increased predation, bleaching, and other factors. This species is also particularly susceptible to damage from sedimentation and sensitive to temperature and salinity variation. Populations have declined by up to 98% throughout the range, and localized extirpations have occurred.

I’m out…

Barry

Jul 20, 16     Comments Off on Juvenile Bluehead Wrasses (Thalassoma bifasciatum)

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Good morning friends, one of the coolest things we see on the reef each year is a new explosion of bright yellow colored fish called Bluehead Wrasse, these are juveniles. To see this in person is a sight to behold and it’s one of the coolest things we have ever seen, I did shoot some video and will try to get that posted for you as well. During all my dives last week these little fish would surround me in great numbers creating a yellow wall of color in front of whatever I was trying to photograph and at times I just gave trying to shoot the corals.  

The bluehead wrasse or blue-headed wrasse (Thalassoma bifasciatum) is a species of saltwater fish in the wrasse family (Labridae) of order Perciformes native to the coral reefs of the tropical waters of the western Atlantic Ocean. Individuals are small (less than 110 mm standard length) and rarely live longer than two years. They form large schools over the reef and are important cleaner fish in the reefs they inhabit.

Young/small females and males have yellow upper bodies and white lower bodies, often with green or black lateral stripes and occasionally dark vertical bars. This coloration is known as the initial phase. They can rapidly alter the presence or intensity of their yellow color, stripes, and bars, and these color changes appear to correspond to behavioral changes. Large females and some males can permanently change coloration and/or sex and enter the terminal phase coloration, which has a blue head, black and white bars behind the head, and a green body. This color phase gives the species its name. Terminal phase males are larger (70 to 80 mm) than the initial phase males (60 mm).

The bluehead wrasse forages for zooplankton, mollusks, and other small crustaceans, as well as parasites on other fish. Initial phase males eat primarily zooplankton from currents, and females and initial phase males have certain hunting times during the day.

We have a busy day on tap with a submersible dive at 11:00 and a rare night dive starting at 7:00 tonight.

Have a wonderful day…

Barry

Jul 18, 16     Comments Off on Removing Deadly Gill Nets from a Live Coral Reef

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Good morning faithful readers of the blog, how was your Monday??? Mine started out normal and quiet until my friend Jonathan Klarich walked in and and asked if I had seen the new gill net that was at 100 feet out in front of the Sea Aquarium? I looked at him with a blank expression and said “what are you talking about”?? He said there was a dropped or abandoned gill net at 100 feet for the past few days and asked if I wanted to help get rid of it, my answer was… yes of course. Upon hearing that John set out to organize a major “gill net retrieval dive” which included calling in the Dutch Coast Guard and a bunch of our top divers from the Sea Aquarium. We all met at around 10:30 and by 11:15 once the Coast Guard showed up we jumped in and headed out equipped with knifes and mesh bags, I of course had just the camera. John led the way straight down to 100 feet, it was a quick decent with no time to enjoy the surroundings, we were on a mission with the Coast Guard waiting above us in their boat. The Coast Guard was there just for support, here in Curacao you don’t remove a net of any kind without going through the proper channels first. When I first saw the net glooming in the distance covered in dead fish I felt overwhelmed with what a major task this was as it was much larger than I had imagined! I immediately started shooting and the boys went to work slicing and dicing (bottom photo) as fast as they could and then trying their hardest to get that nasty net into those small mesh bags (middle photo), this was no easy task but to my surprise they got it done! Because of the deep depth the net was at we all ended up having to decompress a bit longer, this means we stop at 60, 30 and 15 feet for around five minutes each, it’s better to be safe than sorry. I ended up being the first one to the surface thus getting to shoot the top photo of the boys bringing up the bags and bags of net and lead weights and giving it all to the Coast Guard, a job well done and this section of the reef is once again safe for all sea creatures.

Here’s a small bio from John and some of the things he’s working on…

www.http://microplastics.science/user/jvklarich/

Have a wonderful day out there…

Barry

Jul 17, 16     Comments Off on Damselfish, Clown Wrasse, Small Aggressive Reef Fish
Jul 15, 16     Comments Off on Pillar Corals, Coral Reef Scene, Coral Reef Photo
Jul 14, 16     Comments Off on Micro-Plastics, Microplastics, Ocean Microplastics
Jul 13, 16     Comments Off on Coral Reef Photo, Live, Healthy Corals, Soft Corals
Jul 12, 16     Comments Off on Curacao Corals, Healthy Corals, Living Corals
Jul 11, 16     Comments Off on Trashed Mangroves at Saint Joris Bay, Curacao

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Good morning all, what a weekend! Aimee and I have been at Saint Joris Bay pretty much non-stop the whole weekend collecting small pieces of driftwood, photographing trash and playing with the dogs. Because of some weird, super powerful surge or mini tsunami that recently flushed out the mangroves at Saint Joris, the trash and driftwood is everywhere! Aimee and I are collecting the nice round small pieces of driftwood for use in upcoming driftwood projects like hanging mobiles and other art projects, they are just too cool to not pick up. As you can see from the photo above Curacao, like just about every other place on the planet has a real trash problem and most is in the form of plastic! I plan on going back to this exact spot and doing a clean-up so stay tuned for an “after” photo. Yesterday I left the house at 3:00 on my bike (it was so hot) and rode to Saint Joris and took this photo and many others, it was a bike ride with a mission. Aimee and I also found a place with so much micro-plastic, I took a bag of it home and did some photos, will send one of those to you as well. 

So what did you all do this weekend??

I have to get ready for a dive, have a great day.

Barry

Jul 8, 16     Comments Off on Two Banded Butterflyfish in a Vase Sponge, Curacao

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