February 1, 2008 Marine biologists, worried that regular harvesting of wild seahorses may threaten the creature with extinction, have begun breeding them in home aquariums. Caring for seahorses requires a three-step water filtration process, three feedings a day, and careful temperature and water chemistry monitoring.
They're mesmerizing to watch, but seahorses may go the way of dinosaurs. One researcher concerned about their depletion is studying ways to help them survive.
They are unique and mysterious. But did you know these creatures mate for life? They must eat constantly to stay alive … did you know wild seahorses are disappearing?
Aspiring marine biologist, Katherine Bernabeo is concerned about their survival. They're being traded on the black market, made into Asian medicine, kept in aquariums, pollution is killing them off and their costal habitat is disappearing.
"Twenty million seahorses are being traded globally each year and they're depleting the natural stock and this is a huge strain and I just want to make sure we are not having a huge gap in the ecosystem," Bernabeo told Ivanhoe.
That's why Bernabeos goal is to breed a sustainable supply of the seahorse native to long island sound as an alternative to depleting seahorses in the wild. With the high school students she mentors, Bernabeo carefully monitors the sea horses.
"I have to make sure they are always full, they're happy and let nature take its course," Bernabeo said.
Seahorses are unique because the male gives birth.
Bernabeo wants to breed more seahorses, hoping to save this animal from extinction.
What is extinction? Animals are all classified by biologists into separate species (as well as bigger groups of classifications, such as a genius or family.) When no more individuals of a species can be found anywhere on earth, the species is considered extinct.
Many animals have been classified as on the endangered species list because their populations are close to becoming extinct. If one animal relies on another for its food or protection, it can become part of the extinction chain.
Possibly the most famous extinction happened at the end of the Cretaceous period, about 65 million years ago, when most of the species on Earth were wiped out by a large asteroid's impact with the Earth. That was when all the non-bird-like dinosaurs went extinct.