Cataloging the World Below
Because I am increasingly fascinated by the life I see when diving, I am making a concerted effort to learn more about it and to share what I learn.
Most people I dive with can identify the very broad groupings of creatures they see, but few the specific names, unless it’s the fish, crab, or mollusks they hunt.
I hope that by educating people (new students to diving in particular), they will better appreciate and protect the life they come across. This is always more likely when something has a name and unique characteristics. It’s also just a whole lot more fun when you realize you can start identifying the things you see. It makes the world below feel oddly “yours.”
Beyond this it’s really just my curiosity that is driving me to want to catalog what I observe on my own dives. Honestly, I am beyond amazed that there is still an alien world right on our own planet with things that are still not understood, and many even not yet named. I am amazed that so few enter this world and that even those who do know so little about it.
Worse, this world is under threat. And much of it is because of our impact on the earth. If possible, by raising awareness of the life I see, I want to help mitigate the damage we do to the environment. In my short time diving, I have realized just how much of an effect we have on the ocean and the life in it. The invasive Sargassum in southern California brought in by ships, the dwindling populations of fish thanks to overfishing, and so much more.
I hope that if people are aware of what they see, they will take more of an interest in preserving it. It is after all easiest to see when things change if you can directly observe those changes. I want everyone to help keep the life in the ocean alive, keep it as beautiful as it is.
The other half of the battle is getting people to slow down and really look at what is around them. For new students, this is perhaps hardest. They have not yet learned to appreciate this crazy cool environment, but are rather trying to get used to it and I have seen many a Plumose Anemone pay the price for us learning buoyancy control as we speed to our dive turnaround point.