Friday, July 27, 2007

The Importance of Discovering & Sharing

After having done thousands of dives, I feel like I'm really only beginning to learn about some of the amazing things underwater. That's partly because for some of the creatures that live down there, we are really only beginning to learn about them, such seems to be the case with Halgerda guahan, the nudibranch in the picture. In the picture above, 3 of them were coming together for the purpose of mating. Why 3, I don't know, maybe they were having a race. One of the reasons there is so little known about them is that this particular nudibranch only seems to live in the Mariana Islands. So if there haven't been any divers with an interest in this particular nudibranch previously, there really wouldn't be much information on them. We just happened to stumble on something very unique and important in their world last weekend, they came out of holes all over to meet up and reproduce. What was the significance of last weekend? That's something nobody seems to know yet.
As cool as it was for me to stumble across this unique event, it is also very cool to share the information with those who have been studying nudibranchs far longer than I have and have other pieces of the puzzle. When all of us who stumble upon a little piece of the puzzle if we share it with those who have some of the other pieces, it helps us to understand what is going on with this unique species. I have come into contact with some very well known and respected underwater photographers, explorers and authors, who have more information catalogued away than I can ever hope to know. I sent a few of the pictures from this past weekend along with the story about it to Neville Coleman. Neville was the latest gentleman to contact me about using my pictures in his upcoming nudibranch book. He has written 69 books on underwater subjects, done numerous TV specials, and this year was inducted into the Scuba Diving Hall of Fame. So I think he's probably a fairly knowledgable person and a great one to share experiences such as this with.
Here is part of his e-mail back to me about the whole experience.

"Dear Harry,

Thanks so much for sharing your fantastic experience. There are fantastic critters in caves especially when there are hydroids on the walls and ceilings. I never get wet without a torch.

We really know so little because we can only spend so much time down there and things happen for moments in time and we have to be right there on the spot....time and time again. There are at least another 25,000 stories out there we need to know about.........thank goodness! Keep me out of mischief for another 20 years I hope.

I would love to put your discoveries in the book, the egg ribbon and of the mating specimens."

So now my little piece of the puzzle regarding Halgerda guahan will be going into Neville's upcoming book, sharing the information and knowledge with anyone else who may have an interest, and possibly other pieces of the puzzle. Who knows, there may even be a time when divers with an interest in nudibranchs from all over the world may flock to Saipan to witness this amazing event. Now we just have to figure out how often it happens and when the conditions are that trigger it. Still a lot more to learn, but every discovery starts with the first step.

So the next time you discover something very cool, take the time to find out who some of the leading researchers on the topic are, and share your experience with them. You just never know what piece of the puzzle you may be holding on to.

1 comment:

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

Hey Harry-

I hear that you are an expert in the installation of cat doors...

Amazing photos! I like the second and fourth ones best.