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.

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May 5, 17     Comments Off on Liopropoma carmabi, Candy Bass, Colorful Deep-Sea Fish

Good morning all, remember me?? My life has been crazy these past few months with traveling around the world and trying to get settled into new places, I have had very little time to post blogs…

I just got back from a tiny island in the Caribbean called St. Eustatius or “Statia as the locals call it” on another assignment for the world famous Smithsonian Institution. This time I was there for two weeks taking photos of all the amazing fish and invertebrates collected from the deep using a mini-submersible owned and operated by Substation-Curacao. For two weeks we lived aboard a giant research vessel named the “Chapman” which was anchored just offshore near the main harbor of St. Eustatius, the everyday view was amazing! All of these little islands in this area (Saba, St. Kits etc.) are home to a monster sized volcanos and they can be seen from miles and miles away, it’s really quite the site and little unnerving at times. My daily job onboard was to have three aquariums prepped and ready to go for each days finds, I had a small one, med and large for just about anything that was brought back, if it didn’t fit in the largest tank I would grab my dive gear and camera (all Ikelite equipment) and jump in the sea and photograph it on the bottom. On this trip we were also joined by the scientists from SIRENAS, a Bill Gates funded company which collects sponges for possible cures for some of the top disease’s on the planet. On days when I wasn’t shooting video and photos for the Smithsonian I shot photos for SIRENAS so I got to see around 75 new deep-sea sponges and see the process they go through on their way back to the labs, which was very interesting.

Above is by far the most sought after aquarium fish in the world and will cost you around $500 to $1000 to own one. It’s common name is a Candy Bass or Liopropoma carmabi for you science folks out there. This is considered a Sea Bass in the Serranidae family and only grows to be about two inches in length! As you can see, these mini sea bass are boldly marked with stripes generally in shades of light brown to red-brown or yellow-brown alternating with red to maroon but stripes may be occasionally yellow to lavender or even blue as you see here!! They typically inhabit deep coral reefs and rubble slopes and are very reclusive and will remain hidden inside recesses until danger passes. Passengers in the new Curasub have the best chance of seeing one of these in their natural habitat without the dangers of deep-diving in scuba gear. I am always amazed that there are fish like this that live far below in the darkness and no diver will ever see them but yet they are so colorful!

Big day ahead, more tomorrow..

Barry

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