What prey do Dwarf Seahorses prefer?

Exciting results are coming out of the Aquatic Research Laboratory this week! Our seahorse feeding selectivity trial is testing the feeding preferences of the dwarf seahorse, Hippocampus zosterae, on two copepod species using a non lethal observational method.

Undergraduate senior, Alyssa Stubbs, has been painstakingly running the pilot trials making sure we can recover 100% of the tiny copepods from our feeding chamber. Once she perfected the method and tested, retested and tested it again we began our trials on 2 mo old juvenile dwarfs.

The results examining seahorses feeding on each species show a clear winner. Which one?? You can find out at ShORE Symposium 2019 where she will presenting a poster of the findings.

We have one final trial to run on Friday where they will be given both species at once. Congrats to Alyssa on a successful project and a shout out to fellow undergraduate researcher Ja’Kaila for her support in keeping the algae and copepod cultures going strong! Not an easy task!!! Ja’Kaila will be using similar methodology to examine the impacts of habitat density on pipefish feeding preference in the spring.

Thanks to Algagen for providing our copepods and algae cultures, Alyssa Seahorse Savvy for donating dwarf broodstock, and Henson Robinson Zoo for their fundraising which provided the finances for this project!

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