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Photography Science

Alexander Semenov Continues to Photograph the Earth’s Most Fragile Marine Wildlife Near the Arctic Circle

November 2, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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Eutonina indicans / © Alexander Semenov

For the last several years, marine photographer Alexander Semenov (previously) has lead the divers team at Moscow State University’s White Sea Biological Station located just south of the Artic Circle. Semenov directs scientific dives in extremely cold and harsh conditions to document sea creatures seldom seen anywhere else on Earth. From giant jellyfish to the tiniest of unknown sea worms, the photographer captures almost all of the creatures you see here out in the wild, without the convenience of a laboratory or studio.

It’s estimated that nearly 80% of all aquatic life in the world’s oceans has yet to be studied or even discovered. In response to this potentially vast world of unknown lifeforms, coupled with Semenov’s unceasing interest in marine biology, an ambitious trek across the world’s oceans has been planned for 2016. The Aquatilis Expedition is a proposed journey that will take a team of divers, scientists, and videographers to locations around the globe for the purposes of identifying new species, an odyssey on par with the advertures of Jacques Cousteau.

Many of Semenov’s best photos are available as prints, and he shares regular updates on both Facebook and Flickr.

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Cyanea rainbow / © Alexander Semenov

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Syllidae from the Sea of Okhotsk / © Alexander Semenov

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Cestum veneris, Italy / © Alexander Semenov

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Beroe cucumis / © Alexander Semenov

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Cyanea nude / © Alexander Semenov

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Clione limacina / © Alexander Semenov

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Sarsia tubulosa attacked by Cyanea capillata / © Alexander Semenov

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Swimming file clam, Australia / © Alexander Semenov

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Aglantha digitale / © Alexander Semenov

 

 



Photography Science

Alexander Semenov Photographs Astonishing Creatures from the Depths of the World’s Oceans

June 16, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Pegea confoederata

If you’re like me, the only possible reaction to these recent photographs by marine biologist Alexander Semenov is “What is that? What is that?! WHAT IS THAT!?” Semenov is the head of the diving at Moscow State University’s White Sea Biological Station where he brings nearly a decade of underwater photography experience to a wide variety of research and exploration projects. He focuses mostly on invertebrate animals found in the Arctic ocean: squishy, wiggly, translucent creatures from jellyfish to worms found deep underwater, most of which have never been documented with such detail and clarity.

Semenov shares about his work in an artist statement:

My key specialism is scientific macrophotography in natural environments. This practice makes it possible to observe animals that cannot be properly studied under laboratory conditions, such as soft bodied planktonic organisms or stationary life forms living on the seafloor. My personal goal is to study underwater life through camera lenses and to boost people’s interest in marine biology. I do this by sharing all my finding through social media and in real life through public lectures, movies, exhibitions and media events.

Seen here are a collection of images from the last year including expeditions to the Southern Kuril Islands, the Southern Maldives, the White Sea, and the Mediterranean, but there’s hundreds of additional photos on Flickr.

Clavelina moluccensis

Alitta virens swimming

Siphonophore from the Sea of Okhotsk

Tubastraea faulkneri – Sun Cup coral

Pegea confoederata

Godiva quadricolor

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Unidentified hudrozoan jellyfish

 

 



Photography

Creatures from Your Dreams and Nightmares: Unbelievable Marine Worms Photographed by Alexander Semenov

March 10, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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Perinereis nuntia - 2391 - W.44302 - 2

Phyllodoce citrina

Polychaete - Syllidae unidentified 2

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2436 - Syllidae - 7s

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Nereis pelagica 4

Our favorite photographer of everything creepy and crawly under the sea, Alexander Semenov, recently released a number of incredible new photographs of worms, several of which may be completely unknown to science. Half of the photos were taken at the Lizard Island Research Station near the Great Barrier Reef in Australia during a 2-week conference on marine worms called polychaetes. Semenov photographed 222 different worm species which are now in the process of being studied and documented by scientists.

The other half of the photos were taken during Semenov’s normal course of work at the White Sea Biological Station in northern Russia where he’s head of the scientific divers team. We’ve previously featured the intrepid photographer’s work with jellyfish (part 2, part 3), and starfish.

 

 



Photography

Underwater Experiments Continued: Wonderful New Photos of Jellyfish by Alexander Semenov

August 26, 2012

Christopher Jobson

Since first covering the photography of Russian biologist Alexander Semenov (previously) back in January his self-directed “Underwater Experiments” series has continued unabated as he releases other-worldy shots of the Earth’s most elusive creatures almost daily. Again and again Semenov captures some of the most jaw-dropping photographs of underwater life I’ve ever seen, most frequently an animal called lion’s mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata) which is the largest known species of jellyfish in the world. What you see here only scratches the surface of his work over the last couple of months, definitely urge you to get lost in his underwater gallery.

 

 



Photography Science

Animal Earth: New Photos Exploring the Diversity of the World’s Most Obscure Species

October 29, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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Segmentation, a distinguishing feature of the annelids is clearly visible here. Photo by Alexander Semenov.

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Nudibranchs, together with a huge variety of other marine mollusks, are commonly known as sea slugs (Coryphella polaris). Photo by Alexander Semenov.

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Many tube-dwelling polychaetes have elaborate, colorful tentacles for filter feeding and gas exchange. The funnel-shaped structure (operculum) seals the tube when the animal retreats inside (unidentified serpulid). Photo by Alexander Semenov.

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The compound eyes of a cynipid wasp (unidentified species). Some insects have simple eyes in addition to compound eyes, three of which can be seen on the top of this wasp’s head. Photo by Tomas Rak.

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The spherical test and impressive spines of a sea urchin. Coelopleurus floridanus. The mobile spines offer protection from predators. Since this species lives in relatively deep water, the purpose of the bright pigments in the skin and underlying skeleton is unknown. Photo by Arthur Anker.

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A jellyfish (Bougainvillia superciliris) with a hitchhiking amphipod (Hyperia galba). Photo by Alexander Semenov.

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In the cnidarians, what looks like a single individual is often a colony of polyps with specialized functions. In this floating colony (Porpita sp.) there are polyps for providing buoyancy, feeding (tentacles), digestion and reproduction. Photo by Arthur Anker.

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The colors and patterns of the sea slugs warn predators of their toxicity. This nudibranch is Chromodoris annulata. Photo by Arthur Anker.

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A sea angel, Clione limacine. In this image the grasping tentacles and chitinous hooks are retracted. Photo by Alexander Semenov.

We’ve all grown up learning about familiar animals like fish, tigers, elephants and bears, but this new book from Ross Piper takes the opposite approach: exploring the diversity in size, shape and color of the world’s most obscure and rarely seen organisms. With photography from Alexander Semenov, Arthur Anker, and other animal specialists and researchers, the 320-page Animal Earth promises to open your eyes to a variety of truly bizarre species from deepest oceans and the most adverse climates. The book is set to be published mid-November from Thames & Hudson.

 

 



Photography

Jellyfish Photographed Against the Sky by Alexander Semenov

July 8, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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Photographer Alexander Semenov (previously) who is well known for his documentation of oceanic wildlife, recently turned his camera upward and captured some fascinating photographs of jellyfish against the clouds and various sunsets. In some instances the water was so clear appears as if the animals are practically hovering in the sky. See much more over on Flickr.

 

 



Photography

Gorgeous Patterns of the Sea: Macro Photographs of Starfish by Alexander Semenov

February 6, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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Photographer Alexander Semenov has done it again. This time the Russian biologist takes us on an up-close encounter with starfish, although looking at these neon carpets I had no idea what they were at first. Even after covering Alexander’s previous work with jellyfish, or Felix Salazar’s images of coral I’m constantly amazed at nature’s ability to create such vibrant beauty. (via flickr)