JA PRECIOUSE CONSERVATION

 

Animal conservation is an important part of our interest, research, creative understanding, future interpretation and acknowledgment.

JA PRECIOUSE is an umbrella that highlights animal conservation projects. We are starting to highlight those projects that we work with and support.  We support these projects with our time and Jewellery sales.

 

 

                                    Photograph by Alice Wesley-Smith

 

 

White’s Seahorse Breeding Project

 

The White’s Seahorse is an endangered species found locally in Sydney Harbour and in our waters between Jervis Bay and Queensland. The White’s Seahorse, also known as the Sydney Seahorse, is one of three Seahorse species endemic to Australia. The natural home and habitat for these creatures are sponge gardens, seagrass meadows and soft corals. In Sydney there has been a massive seagrass decline over recent years causing remaining Seahorse populations to rely on manmade structures for their habitat. This is leading to further displacement and dramatic population decline.

 

Scientists at the University of Technology Sydney are collaborating with organizations such as the NSW Department of Primary Industries and SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium and together have started to recover the White’s Seahorses by implementing a new breeding and conservation project. In this critical program Seahorse babies are being born into custom-built tanks at Sea Life. The male

gives birth to up to 100-250 young at a time and the juveniles are then carefully re-introduced into the harbour. They are then observed weekly by a team of divers and a UTS master research student.

 

For more information on the White’s Seahorse Breeding Project and to donate, please visit:

https://www.visitsealife.com/sydney/whats-inside/seahorse-breeding-program/

 

 

                                         Photograph by John Smith / Bicheno Tasmania

 

 

WEEDY SEADRAGON RESEARCH

 

The seadragon from the Syngnathids family that includes seahorses, is endemic to Australia. 

The weedy seadragon’s status on the IUCN Red List was changed in 2017 from “Near Threatened” to “Least Concern” but their population appears to be decreasing.  There have been reports on their decline from numerous sites around the coast, including right on our door step at Bondi Beach in Sydney. Despite the beauty of these creatures, many aspects of their being and ecology remain critically understudied and only a handful of studies on them have been published.  There are concerns that the weedy seadragon’s decline is due largely to loss of kelp habitats such as the species Ecklonia radiata.  The kelp habitats provide camouflaging shelter and support the weedy seadragon’s preferred food source, small opossum shrimp.  We need to protect the kelp habitats and the biodiversity that they house.  As well as the worlds coral reefs, kelp habitats are declining as a result of climate change.

 

The UTS Fish Ecology Lab’s research team, assists with the conservation status of this precious species. This is done by studying population numbers, habitat use and behaviour of the weedy seadragon, which includes reproductive cycle and growth in their natural environment.  Some of the research has also looked into genetic diversity shift between the eastern and southern populations of weedy seadragons caused by the Bassian Isthmus, which was a land bridge that existed between Tasmania and mainland Australia during the peak of the Last Glacial Maximum.  The genetic diversity remained after the Bassian Isthmus disappeared.  This is one example that the weedy seadragon remains close to its original habitat. This suggests a constant need for a deeper understanding, knowledge and needs of each individual population.

 

For more information on the White’s Seahorse Breeding Project and to donate, please visit:

https://seadragonsuts.gofundraise.com.au/