Seahorse Quest: build and share knowledge of European seahorses and pipefishes
It all began in 2005 with an observation: whereas seahorses were known to decline in many parts of the world, were overexploited for Chinese medicine, their habitat suffering multiple degradations, we knew almost nothing of our own local seahorses and pipefishes.
The Seahorse Quest survey was launched because it seemed urgent to study French and European seahorses, estimate the fragility of their population and the vulnerability of their habitat. At the same time, we felt necessary to increase public awareness about their knowledge and preservation. Since then the survey has been extended to the other species of the Syngnathidae family, some of the pipefish species being even more at risk than seahorses.
Today the Seahorse Quest survey includes several projects:
• The Hippo-ATLAS is a participatory scientific survey on seahorse and pipefish conducted by divers, fishermen and naturalists.
• Hippo-THAU is a pilot fieldwork program. Its purpose is to study the seahorse and pipefish populations in Thau lagoon (southern France). This citizen science program allows schoolchildren, divers and people working in the lagoon to contribute to our survey on seahorse, pipefish and their environment.
• Hippo-HABITAT is a scientific approach involving divers and snorkelers in gathering measurable data on seahorse and pipefish habitat by taking photos of their environment.