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Art Science

An 80-Foot Steel Kraken Will Create an Artificial Coral Reef Near the British Virgin Islands

October 18, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

All images via Owen Buggy

This past April a massive 80-foot steel kraken was purposefully sunk into the Caribbean Sea on top of a decorated WW2 ship. The former Navy fuel barge and its monstrous passenger were placed underwater in order to jumpstart a new coral ecosystem, while also serving as a cutting-edge education center for marine researchers and local students from the surrounding British Virgin Islands. The project is titled the BVI Art Reef, and aims to use sculptures like the porous kraken as a base to grow transplanted coral.

The Kodiak Queen, formerly a Navy fuel barge named the YO-44, was discovered by British photographer Owen Buggy approximately two and a half years ago on the island of Tortola. Instead of letting the historic vessel get picked apart for scrap metal, Buggy approached former boss Sir Richard Branson about collaborating on a restorative art installation. Together with nonprofit Unite B.V.I., artist group Secret Samurai Productions, social justice entrepreneurial group Maverick1000, and ocean education nonprofit Beneath the Waves, the project was established as both an eco-friendly art installation, and a philanthropic measure to rehabilitate native marine species.

“It’s envisioned that within just a short space of time the ship and artwork will attract a myriad of sea creatures,” said Clive Petrovic who consults on the environmental impact of the BVI Art Reef. “Everything from corals to sea sponges, sharks and turtles will live on, in, and around the wreck. The ship will become valuable for future research by scientists and local students alike.”

To sink the massive ship, the project sought the help of the Commercial Dive Services who safely submerged the vessel off the coast of the island Virgin Gorda. It was the first time the ship had been in the water for nearly 17 years, and was lead to its final resting place by a bevy of boats and helicopters.

Filmmaker Rob Sorrenti filmed both the construction and sinking of the kraken and its ship. The full-length documentary is currently in post-production, with an estimated release early next year. You can watch a clip from the upcoming film below. For information on visiting the BVI Art Reef, and to learn more about its educational programs, visit the project’s website and Facebook.

 

 



Photography Science

A Photographer Captures the Unusual Way Sperm Whales Sleep

July 4, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

© Franco Banfi / Licensed for use on Colossal

Photographer Franco Banfi and a team of scuba divers were following a pod of sperm whales when suddenly the large creatures became motionless and began to take a synchronized vertical rest. This strange sleeping position was first discovered only in 2008, when a team of biologists from the UK and Japan drifted into their own group of non-active sperm whales. After studying tagged whales the team learned this collective slumber occurs for approximately 7 percent of the animal’s life, in short increments of just 6-24 minutes.

The image, Synchronized Sleepers, was a finalist in the 2017 Big Picture Competition in the category of Human/Nature. You can see more of the Switzerland-based photographer’s underwater photography on his website and Instagram. (via kottke.org)

 

 



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

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Godiva quadricolor

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Unidentified hudrozoan jellyfish

 

 



Photography

New Photographs of Monumental Waves Crashing in Australia by Warren Keelan

February 8, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Australian photographer Warren Keelan (previously) captures crashing waves from beside, and sometimes within their swell. Clad in a wetsuit he takes to the South Coast of New South Wales, Australia to photograph the dazzling curvature of waves right as they break. Keelan sells prints of both the waves and sea life he comes across during his swims on his website. You can see more of his work on his Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

 



Art

A Translucent Figurative Sculpture Appears Camouflaged Against the Horizon of Bondi Beach

November 11, 2016

Christopher Jobson

coral-4

Recently on view as part of Sculpture by the Sea in Bondi, this unusual figurative sculpture by artist Alessandra Rossi seems to have captured the imagination of many, becoming one of the most popular pieces of this year’s exhibition. Titled Untitled (coral), Rossi says the piece depicting a solitary young girl in a dress is inspired in part by the phenomenon of coral bleaching, something that occurs in nature when ocean water becomes too warm and coral begins to expel an algae giving it a white appearance. Additionally, the work grapples with modern issues of identity, functioning “as a metaphor for the patination and discoloration of emotion engendered by the digital era.”

The sculpture’s translucent layered appearance changes dramatically when viewed from different angles during the day and at times almost vanishes against the horizon of Bondi beach. You can see more sculptures from Sculpture by the Sea 2016 here.

Alessandra Rossi, Untitled Coral. Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2016. Photo by Tony Wakeham.

Alessandra Rossi, Untitled Coral. Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2016. Photo by Tony Wakeham.

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Alessandra Rossi, Untitled Coral. Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2016. Photo by Clyde Yee.

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Alessandra Rossi, Untitled Coral. Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2016. Photo by Grace Sui.

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Photo by Brian Thomas

 

 



Photography

A Towering Iceberg and Its Shadow Split the World into Quadrants

October 11, 2016

Christopher Jobson

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Captured by Canadian photographer David Burdeny in 2007, this amazing photo of a tabular iceberg rising straight out of the Weddel Sea appears to organize the world into four neat quadrants. Titled “Mercators Projection,” the photo is from his series “North/South” taken while on tour of Antarctica and Greenland. You can follow Burdeny’s most recent work on Instagram. (via PetaPixel)

 

 



Photography Science

A Macro Timelapse Highlights the Micro Movements of Spectacularly Colored Coral

September 29, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

Interested in documenting one of the oldest animals on Earth, Barcelona-based production company myLapse set to capture the minimal movements of brightly colored coral, recording actions rarely seen by the human eye. The short film took nearly 25,000 individual images of the marine invertebrates to compose, and photography of species, such as the Acanthophyllia, Trachyphyllia, Heteropsammia cochlea, Physogyra, took over a year.

The production team hopes the film attracts attention to the Great Barrier Reef, encouraging watchers to take a deeper interest in one of the natural wonders of the world that is being rapidly bleached due to climate change. You can see more up-close images of the coral species featured in this film on Flickr. (via Sploid)

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