When Citizen Science meets Science over frozen Weedy Sea Dragons

Posted by Sue Liu on

I do in-water research as I dive in Sydney by photographing and filming Weedy Sea Dragons in their environment. I then study the footage and images before drawing them. 


I've drawn six very detailed weedy sea dragons and could not pass up this opportunity to have a closer look at these fascinating and fragile animals out of the water. 

I was invited by Dr Selma Klanten, PhD Researcher from UTS, to photograph some specimens that she had in her freezer. 

Selma and I have been conspiring and collaborating over the last few months as I am currently researching and crafting concepts for an activity-based book on Weedy Sea Dragons. Selma, a fellow diver, also lives nearby and has a few  sea dragons that were collected from Sydney beaches and donated to UTS Fish Ecology Lab for study. 

In the freezer, the colour remains. I was able to observe and photograph the specimens - one male with eggs and a female. The animals were able to be out of the freezer for less than 10 minutes, so I had to work very quickly!

These photographs will help me study and understand the skeletal structure and markings of the Weedy Sea Dragons alongside my photos and footage, for future drawings! 

I'm incredibly excited by this opportunity, and hope to be bring you some more Weedy Sea Dragon drawings, and progress on my activity book project.

This is my concept of creativity for conservation in action!  I am working more deeply as a citizen scientist, with researchers and scientists - the subject matter experts on these animals. I look forward to creating innovative ways to share this information with you! 

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