Mark is no longer bobbing around the Kermadec Islands (half way between New Zealand and Tonga), he's arrived back on land. I'm sure he'll have some amazing stories to share with us all. Until then here are two great fish videos and a picture we were able to get our hands on thanks to the Auckland.
The Zebra lionfish may not be an exciting find if you were diving along the East Coast of Australia, but the fact that this very beautiful (and obvious) fish is recorded for the fist time in the Kermadec Islands shows we still have much to learn. View a movie of the related Common Lionfish and at the Kermadec Islands.
The Black Rockcod, or Spotted black grouper as they call it in New Zealand, has a conservation status of vulnerable in NSW however the IUCN (world authority on conservation status of animals) notes they are common in the Kermadec Islands. This is great news for the Kermadecs as large predatory fish such as the Black Rockcod are particularly important for a healthy ecosystem. View a Black Rockcod movie taken at the Kermadec Islands.
One interesting thing I noticed in watching the two videos is the habitat is quite barren, full of big bare boulders. Will be interesting to hear what Mark has to say. Being Islands in the middle of nowwhere might be good for a healthy ecosystem but what does it mean for diversity?
It was possible for Mark, Mandy and Steve to participate in this expedition thanks to the Australian Museum Foundation who provided funding.