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Saving Seahorses

Scientist David Harasti created seahorse “hotels” to give the animals a place to live

Alex Mustard/NPL/Minden Pictures 

In 2013, the endangered White’s seahorses of Australia had almost nowhere to live. During several strong storms, powerful waves scooped up sand from the bottom of the ocean and dumped it on the coral reefs that are the seahorses’ natural home. Help arrived in 2018, when scientist David Harasti built “hotels” for the seahorses along the country’s coast. 

“I came up with the idea when I noticed that some lost fishing traps became their own little artificial reefs,” Harasti explains. “Sponges and algae were growing on these traps, and I noticed a few seahorses living in them.” Harasti figured he could provide more homes for seahorses by building similar structures. 

The White’s seahorse is an endangered species. These seahorses are found in Australia. But in 2013, they had almost nowhere to live. Several strong storms hit the coast. Powerful waves scooped up sand from the bottom of the ocean. The waves dumped the sand on the coral reefs. The seahorses’ natural home was destroyed. Help arrived in 2018. Scientist David Harasti built “hotels” for the seahorses along the country’s coast.

“I came up with the idea when I noticed that some lost fishing traps became their own little artificial reefs,” Harasti explains. “Sponges and algae were growing on these traps. I noticed a few seahorses living in them.” Harasti figured he could provide more homes for seahorses by building similar structures.

Courtesy of David Harasti

Each hotel provides shelter for up to three or four seahorses. 

Each of Harasti’s underwater “hotels” is about the size of a large suitcase. The structures are made with Earth-friendly materials, such as aluminum, steel mesh, and pinewood, that break down in the ocean over time. When this happens, the sponges and coral growing on the structure will be left behind. That’s why Harasti calls the structures hotels. The temporary artificial reef 

Each of Harasti’s underwater “hotels” is about the size of a large suitcase. The structures are made with aluminum and steel mesh. They’re also made with pinewood. These are Earth-friendly materials. They break down in the ocean over time. When this happens, the sponges and coral growing on the structure will be left behind. That’s why Harasti calls the structures hotels. The temporary artificial reef will become a natural one. Hopefully it will turn into the seahorses’ permanent home. 

Harasti placed 18 hotels in areas where natural habitats have been lost and seahorse populations have declined. This spring, Harasti expects to release baby seahorses bred in captivity near the hotels. Hopefully the young seahorses will thrive. 

“It was great seeing seahorses use the hotels within the first month after we placed them,” says Harasti. “Their success gives us hope that the hotels can help seahorse populations recover in other areas.”

Harasti placed 18 hotels. He placed them in areas where natural habitats have been lost and seahorse populations have declined. Harasti expects to release baby seahorses near the hotels this spring. The babies were bred in captivity. Hopefully the young seahorses will thrive.

“It was great seeing seahorses use the hotels within the first month after we placed them,” says Harasti. “Their success gives us hope that the hotels can help seahorse populations recover in other areas.”

Use your knowledge of volume to answer the following questions.

Use your knowledge of volume to answer the following questions.

Harasti was inspired to build his hotels after he saw seahorses living in old fishing traps. What is the volume of a fishing trap that is 2 feet wide, 5 feet long, and 3 feet tall? 

Harasti was inspired to build his hotels after he saw seahorses living in old fishing traps. What is the volume of a fishing trap that is 2 feet wide, 5 feet long, and 3 feet tall? 

Harasti’s first seahorse hotel model was 3 feet wide, 3 feet long, and 1.5 feet tall. What is the volume of this hotel? 

Harasti’s first seahorse hotel model was 3 feet wide, 3 feet long, and 1.5 feet tall. What is the volume of this hotel? 

You build a seahorse hotel that’s 6 inches wide and 12 inches tall. It has a volume of 864 cubic inches. What is the hotel’s length?

You build a seahorse hotel that’s 6 inches wide and 12 inches tall. It has a volume of 864 cubic inches. What is the hotel’s length?

Circle the hotel design that has the greatest volume. How do you know?

Circle the hotel design that has the greatest volume. How do you know?

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