Recently, there was a copyright uproar about the ownership of a monkey selfie. That is, who owned the copyright of photographs of Indonesian macaques taken by themselves after borrowing a photographer’s camera. Here’s what one of the monkey selfies looks like:
What the media frenzy ignored was how useful a monkey selfie, or a selfie of any animal, is for science. In many cases, there are unique marks on the animal’s face (facial markings) that make individual identification possible. And when you can tell one monkey from another, that’s when you can start doing some serious science in animal behavior and conservation.
Did you ever wonder how a Goliath Grouper selfie would look like? The Goliaths don’t have opposable thumbs like primates (monkeys, apes, us), so holding a camera underwater (or a cell phone) will be impossible for the groupers. But you can do the selfie for them. And in doing so, you can make a great contribution to my research on Goliath Grouper behavior, and to the advancement of science in general.
Here’s what to do.
You can take a frontal selfie like this (the grouper is looking straight ahead at you)
or a profile selfie like this (the grouper head is looking to one side)
Then, before you forget, you write down the metadata:
DATE (day-month-year you took the selfie)
DEPTH: [in feet or meters]
TIME: [hour if known or roughly am or pm]
DIVE SITE (name of the dive site)
LOCATION: [latitude-longitude or nearest town/city and state]
Gather your selfies and your metadata and send them to me at email@example.com
The master plan is to photo-selfie all Goliath Groupers in Florida. It will take many divers, and many dives. Every single selfie you take will help the research. Even if you suspect you are selfy-ing the same Goliath over and over.
I’ll be posting information on this blog as selfies start to arrive. We can also keep a friendly competition. You get:
100 grouper points if you send me a frontal and 2 profile selfies (left and right side of head) of the same fish;
75 grouper points if you send me 2 profile selfies (left and right side of head) of the same fish
50 grouper points if you send me a frontal and 1 profile selfie (either left or right) of the same fish
25 grouper points if you send me any frontal, or any profile selfie of any Goliath Grouper
Let’s go diving!