Trash turned treasure: photos + video

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure and that’s never been truer than it was yesterday in the Kermadecs! Looks like we’ve clocked another new species record for New Zealand and it was all thanks to some floating rubbish.

Ash Mangnall the ship’s engineer was out on the back deck just after lunch, and saw a small plastic bottle drifting past. After two weeks with us he now knows that everything from the sea will interest someone on the expedition so he and Carl set out to retrieve it.

Trash comes up trumps: Goosenecked barnacles were the first piece of treasure this old plastic bottle yielded

Trash comes up trumps: Goosenecked barnacles were the first piece of treasure this old plastic bottle yielded

Sure enough, the bottle was home to a thriving population of goose-necked barnacles which pleased Stephen and Mandy. But there’s more to this tale – for swimming along under the bottle was this little cutie!

Juvenile trigger fish - the tropical equivalent of a leather jacket it's almost certainly a new species record for New Zealand

Juvenile trigger fish - the tropical equivalent of a leather jacket it's almost certainly a new species record for New Zealand

It’s a juvenile trigger fish – exactly what sort, we don’t know yet. Trigger fish are the tropical equivalent of leather-jackets, and this is almost certainly a new species record for New Zealand.

In the open ocean many small fish hang out underneath drifting objects such as logs and rubbish – these FADs, or Fish Attracting Devices, provide shelter and often an in-built supply of food, too.

Lots of juvenile fish that spend part of their life being semi-pelagic and floating at sea before they find a reef to settle on are distinctively black and white spotted like this one is.

Check out this video to see Te Papa’s Carl Struthers talking about their incredible fish find underneath the old plastic bottle they found floating in the ocean:

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2 Responses to “Trash turned treasure: photos + video”

  1. Patricia Hammond

    I am not a swimmer or a diver, however a couple of years back we had a day trip out to Leigh and then on to Goat Island and took the trip around the Island on the glass bottom boat. I was amazed at the fish. Even standing on the rocks and seeing all those Blue fish. Id never seen such colour in fish before. I understand they were Blue Maumau. So getting back to these blogs from the area of the Kermadecs – and in particular todays report. Arnt these fish fascinating.
    Are you getting many comments back – Id be interested to know how many are on your daily contact list, where do these people live – like from other countries, and how many say Thankyou and Please continue keeping in touch. One wonders what else is there out in our waters –
    Thanks again
    Patricia Hammond

    Reply
    • Melanie

      We’ve had thousands of visitors to the website from New Zealand and around the world. In terms of the overseas visitors we’ve had quite a concentration from South America – I’m not sure whether this represents a particular interest from that part of the world or if it reflects media coverage that the voyage attracted over there, but I guess that’s still an indication of interest. People commenting on the blogs is a whole new level of engagement (far greater than just visiting) but there have still been more than a couple of hundred, so we’re happy we’ve got to share it with a really strong audience. Some comments are from outside the blog for instance on Twitter and Facebook and the consensus is definitely that it would be great to follow more scientific journeys like this one so we will be looking out for other opportunities to ‘bring people along’ on other museum research projects.

      Reply

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