AquazooNews Apr 2008

April 28, 2008 at 4:24 pm | Posted in AquazooNews | Leave a comment

My second major article for AquazooNews this year. On the freshwater shrimps of the genus Caridina from the ancient lakes of Central Sulawesi. I’d never been to Sulawesi. But the biogeography and ecology of this place continually fascinates me over and over again from the first day I’d read about Alfred Wallace. Its unique geographical location makes it one of the most wanted sites by many researchers from all over the world, literally an “ecological hotspot”. This phrase seemed to have become a cliche over the last couple of years with “hotspots” springing up all over the world like mushrooms over a rain. So much for being unique eh?

Anyway, from someone who doesn’t keep shrimps this article proved to be quite a challenge. So after some jostling discussion with XW from AquazooNews, we’d came to consensus that I would handle the ecological-biogeographical-scientific aspects of the special coverage whilst he would take care of the more “hobbyist” friendly section. That proved to be quite a nightmare! Have to familiar myself with things which were previously alien to me, e.g. invertebrate morphology and anatomy!? Have to dig up my uni chem textbooks to look up concepts on the role of transition metals in biological auto-oxidative processes. What have I gotten myself into I thought.! What the hell right?!

Ploughing through the 2 dozens or so scientific journal entries was the least enjoyable to say the least. But ironically, what I enjoyed most was the email discussions with Dr. Suzanne Grey from Queen’s and Ms Kristina von Rintelen from Humboldt on their areas of research in Sulawesi. Dr. Grey has conducted research on the spawning behaviour of the telmatherinids of Central Sulawesi whilst Ms von Rintelen was one of the scientists who described Caridina spongicola back in late 2006, whose dicovery eventually led to a shrimp craze within the aquaria hobby over the last half a year or so. So reading the scientific papers they’d written prior definitely helped. Cannot imagine how stupid I would have looked otherwise…

It was some helluva hectic writing, with XW breathing down my neck everyday for the final product! But I must say I’d learnt loads through reading the papers and interacting with these two scientists. in retrospect, it aint that bad after all.

 PS: Lake Tondano is located near Manado which is in nothern Sulawesi and is obviously NOT within the ancient lakes systems in Central Sulawesi i.e. Lake Poso and Malili lakes system. Moreover, Danau Tondano is a crater lake while Danau”s” Poso,  Matano and Towuti are likely to be graben structures formed as a result of tectonic movement of the multiple plates in the region which this island sits on. The photo was added without notifying me and I didn’t get to know about it until the mockup was sent to me for final checking before sending to the publishers. When I’d realised the mistake, it was already too late to rectify… grrr…..








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