Our expedition team is back from the Three Kings Islands and ready to answer your questions about what they found and to show you some of the specimens they collected to help build their understanding of the marine environment.
The blog has been a fantastic chance to follow their discoveries but now you can meet them face to face and talk to them about their preliminary findings about marine life in the Three Kings.
In the few days since the team got back on dry land they've already identified that one of the fish they found is likely to be a new species. So who knows what tomorrow will bring.
You can meet four of the team - including University of Queensland PhD student Libby Liggins and one of the expedition's photographers Richard Robinson - tomorrow at 11am at the Auckland Museum. There are some more details of the session below and we've also got some more underwater footagREAD MORE...
We made it to Three Kings in the wee hours of this morning and we’ll be sharing more about that very soon but first we wanted to update you on our first dive at the Cavalli Islands and share our first underwater video of the expedition.
Richie took the Gopro camera along so we can show you some of what the team saw in the waters around the Cavalli islands. What we saw was a very typical northern North Island underwater seascape – a vast forest of Ecklonia seaweed forming canopies over the rocks (these underwater ‘trees’ even have ‘trunks’ so they might not be what springs to mind when you think of seaweed).
Richie was diving with Skip – that’s him you can see in the video, getting his own camera out to look for little critters living in the
shade of the Ecklonia forest canopy. Under the shelter of the Ecklonia, for example, there are lots of sponges, smaller seaweeds and other encrusting organisms, along with many small fish.
The big fish they saw early on in the dive was a kingfish, but they saw many more small fish, such as the variable triplefin that Skip was photographing. I’m told that diving here at the Three Kings will be a completely different experience - there won’t be any Ecklonia, but there will be lots of other seaweeds to keep Roberta and Wendy, our two seaweedy people, happy!
Mind you, they are already very happy with what Roberta brought back from today’s dive. She is an expert in red seaweed (they come in shades of brown, green and red) and she was looking for new and undescribed species. And she came back with lots, including this lovely plant.
Wendy says that this is an undescribed genus, which means it doesn’t yet have a name (all plants and animals have two names, just like us – the genus name is like our own last names, while the species name is like our first name). There have been a few samples collected before, but this is a new record (it’s never been recorded from the Cavallis before) and it is fertile, which gives the botanists extra information for when they come to describe it and give it a name.