Copyright © Mark Conlin
Publish by: Brian Skerry - Jun 18, 2012
As an underwater photographer, time in the field is the most valuable thing I can be given. With time, I can usually overcome challenges and the problems that occur . Time also allows me to learn firsthand about the place in which I am working, what happens at different times of day and how animals behave. But oftentimes the best images are made when something unexpected happens. I love the discoveries that come from taking my time in a place and allowing opportunities to present themselves. Serendipity can only be seized however if I am prepared, so while I might be wandering casually...
Publish by: Maggy Hunter Benson - Jun 15, 2012
For the past week, the Indonesian Biodiversity Research Center (IBRC) diving class of 2012 has seen countless fish in shades of pink, blue, yellow, red, and green darting through corals and the overhangs of a shipwreck. They witnessed stunning bioluminescent plankton flash like fireflies in the dark ocean surf. Best yet, they have grown together as one unit, united through scuba diving. Last week the IBRC program brought the 2012 class up and over a volcano from the bustling city of Sanur to the quiet, ocean-side Balinese dive site of Tulamben. While there, the class participated in an...
Wikimedia Commons, Pierre-Jules Hetzel
Publish by: Hannah Waters - Jun 6, 2012
Today Ray Bradbury died. It might seem strange that I'm writing about Bradbury here on the Ocean Portal, as he's best known for his short stories about space exploration and strange aliens. But he also considered the unexplored realms of our own planet: the ocean. One story in particular, "The Fog Horn," from his collection The Golden Apples of the Sun , has stayed with me through all these years. Without giving too much away, it's the story of a deep sea monster that attacks land -- but not for the traditional reasons. Its motivation is not some bloodthirsty attack on mankind, a trope that...
Publish by: Maggy Hunter Benson - Jun 4, 2012
It’s not everyday that I get to collect and gather data right alongside our Museum’s researchers. So, imagine my recent delight when the opportunity was presented to me to travel half way around the world to Bali, Indonesia to participate in a research and education field project. While in Bali, I will be participating in the Indonesian Biodiversity Research Center (IBRC) project as an “embedded educator”. From the field, I will be blogging throughout the field excursion to share the research, education, and stories that transpire over a 5-week course. Plus, I get to share the awesome...
Copyright Brian Skerry/National Geographic Magazine
Publish by: Brian Skerry - May 31, 2012
To a photographer, all that matters is the image, the picture that results when the shutter is released. This is what people will see and what will remain of that moment in time, captured forever. But for wildlife photographers and especially underwater wildlife photographers, so much has to happen just to get to that moment when your finger is on the shutter release. Underwater photography is an equipment intensive business. It requires all the equipment used by land photographers, plus so much more. Cameras must be placed inside underwater housings and special strobes, strobe arms, cords,...
Publish by: Seabird McKeon - May 30, 2012
The open ocean is surprisingly barren to the naked eye. Every now and again you will encounter a school of fish and their attendant predators, but most of the life that you find is gathered around some sort of sheltering structure like a coral reef. In the Atlantic, the pelagic macro-algae, or sargassum seaweeds ( Sargassum fluitans and Sargassum natans ) serve as shelter, drawing in a tremendous variety of marine life and forming a nearly unique structural habitat in the open ocean. Without roots, a top, or a bottom, the sargassum is in constant motion until it is cast up on a beach, or...
Tags: Algae, Coasts, Crabs, Crustaceans, Nudibranchs, Seaweed, Smithsonian scientists, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Underwater photography
William Roden/Spector Dance
Publish by: Hannah Waters - May 25, 2012
If you were choreographing a dance about the ocean, how would you do it? Would you dart around like a lobster in a hurry? Dive like a dolphin? Float like a jellyfish? Choreographer Fran Spector Atkins and photographer Bill Roden have put together a dance production about the ocean, which is being performed at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History on June 3, 2012. While the pair certainly have their fun with creatures, as dancers school like fish and scuttle like crabs (see video above), their goal is larger. Ocean , as the production is aptly named, aims to educate audiences...
Publish by: Nicholas D. Pyenson - May 21, 2012
After a few long days of hard work on the island, we were finally able to excavate and remove , not just one, but two skeletons of an early "toothed" baleen whale from the rocks near the Carmanah Lighthouse. All told, it took our team 3 days, along with assistance from Parks Canada, a chartered boat, a chartered helicopter, car ferries, and one really nice diamond-bladed rock saw. In one day we made the whole trip back from the island to our staging area in greater Vancouver, or, as it's called, the Lower Mainland. The end of any complex and gear-heavy field trip inevitably ends with as much...
Deborah Smrekar/Nature’s Best Photography
Publish by: Emily Frost - May 16, 2012
How do we know where ocean animals swim day and night? Scientists are getting snapshots into the daily lives of whales , sharks , and even fish by tagging the animals to track their movements. You’ve probably seen photos of the mysterious and almost eerie silhouette of a manta ray. But what do we really know about these giant creatures, which can grow up to 25 ft in width? Not much, but that is changing. Scientists recently attached satellite trackers to six giant manta rays ( Manta birostris ). They found that the giant fish spent most of their time within 200 miles of shore, but not...
J. A. Goldbogen
Publish by: Nicholas D. Pyenson - May 11, 2012
Editor's note: Read Nick's first blog post about "toothed" baleen whales to see what their team is excavating on Vancouver Island. We departed from Port Renfrew on Tuesday morning on the Michelle Diana, a boat chartered specifically for our expedition. An hour later we approached Carmanah Point, a tall cliff upon which the Carmanah lighthouse sits (built in 1891). We made the treacherous boat-shore transition in the rain with assistance from Parks Canada's wardens, and then organized our dozen bags of gear to begin work. It was exhilarating to finally set foot on land; this is a remote place...