Friday, October 23, 2009

Good Night for the Marine Biocode Team.

The Marine Invertebrate Biocode Team did the first of this collecting season's night dives tonight, bringing back a rich assemblage of nocturnal animals from the reefs surrounding Moorea.

Several beautiful crustaceans were new for the inventory, including a species of Slipper Lobster (Scyllaridae: P.holthuisi), and two species of Swimming crab (Portunidae), while others were much more cryptic, including two species of Decorator Crab (Majidae) and a Penaeid shrimp.

Conditions were exceptionally calm, allowing the divers to get into the 'avas' or shallow water channels that run through the reef. Under normal conditions, this would be near-suicidal, so the fauna represented in these areas are under-represented in museum collections. The team spent most of the dive working very small areas of habitat, finding 'rare' and undescribed taxa and completely unknown ecological patterns among the cephalaspidean gastropods, brittlestars, xanthid crabs. Everyone is ready to spend all the time we can diving at night and taking advantage of the beautiful weather.


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