Learn about seadragon research and conservation

In 1996, a coalition of South Australian community organizations and researchers decided to investigate the mysteries surrounding some of their most iconic marine locals- common and leafy seadragons. This original DragonSearch project grew out of a mission to better understand seadragons’ lives, inviting “anyone who visits the beach or swims in the sea” to contribute to scientific research by sharing information about seadragon sightings through survey forms.

DragonSearch is a community-based research initiative with a mission to collect data about wild seadragon populations across Australia through underwater photography. Our project has partnered with the non-profit software developer Wild Me, using machine learning tools to identify seadragons in photos and track individual dragons over time. Seadragons are beautiful, unique fish living exclusively along the southern coast of Australia.

Seadragons are elegant members of the family Syngnathidae, which also includes seahorses and pipefishes. Wild seadragons are found only along the southern coast of Australia, and there are currently three known species: the common (or weedy) seadragon, the leafy seadragon, and the recently discovered ruby seadragon. The three species can be differentiated based on their appearances, their genetic relationships, and the ranges they occupy. 

Learn more about participating in seadagon research

Choosing photographs to submit to DragonSearch

How to report a seadragon encounter

SeadragonSearch blog and latest news


Connectivity and Resilience in Seadragon Populations

Genetics research gives scientists valuable information about how groups of seadragons living in different areas are connected to one another, as well as how resilient each group might be to challenges in their environment.
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