jellyfish

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Photography Science

A Dive 2,300 Feet into the Atlantic Ocean Uncovers a New Bright Red Jellyfish Species

August 12, 2021

Grace Ebert

This beautiful red jellyfish in the genus Poralia may be an undescribed species. It was seen during the third transect of Dive 20 of the 2021 North Atlantic Stepping Stones expedition, at a depth of 700 meters (2,297 feet). Image courtesy of NOAA Ocean Exploration, 2021 North Atlantic Stepping Stones: New England and Corner Rise Seamounts

Considering eighty percent of the earth’s oceans have yet to be explored, it’s not surprising that their mysterious depths continue to turn up new discoveries. A July 2021 expedition into the Hydrographer Canyon off the New England coast was no exception when a team from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) stumbled upon a striking red jellyfish. Spotted at 2,297 feet, the pulsing creature is presumed part of the genus Poralia, which until now, was comprised of a single species.

Scientists say the unfamiliar marine animal appears to have more tentacles than the Poralia rufescens, meaning that it’s likely an entirely new species yet to be classified. “The jellyfish also seemed to have nematocyst warts on the exumbrella (the upper part or outside of the jellyfish’s bell) that probably function both for defense but also to trap prey. The radial canals of this genus often branch randomly, which is not usual for other related jellyfish,” the NOAA said in a statement.

Using the remote-operated Deep Discoverer, the team spotted the creature in the mesopelagic zone—this area, which spans 656 to 3,281 feet, is also referred to as the twilight zone because it’s the last region sunlight can reach before giving way to total darkness—of the Atlantic Ocean around the Gulf Stream. The vehicle is equipped with 20 LED lights that illuminate the ocean depths and allow for high-definition footage like the rare video shown below.

See more discoveries from this dive, which spotted at least 650 creatures, in addition to previous expeditions on the NOAA site, YouTube, and Instagram. (via PetaPixel)

 

A total of four samples were collected during Dive 20 of the 2021 North Atlantic Stepping Stones expedition using the suction sample on remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Deep Discoverer. Here, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration ROV pilots deftly maneuver to collect a potential new species of jellyfish during the 1200-meter (3,937-foot) dive transect. Image courtesy of NOAA Ocean Exploration, 2021 North Atlantic Stepping Stones: New England and Corner Rise Seamounts

 

 



Photography Science

A Burst of Deep Sea Fireworks: A Rare Jellyfish Filmed by the E/V Nautilus

January 3, 2018

Christopher Jobson

Researchers aboard the E/V Nautilus (previously) celebrated the new year with an unlikely guest, a beautiful Halitrephes maasi jellyfish found at a depth of 4,000 feet underwater at the Revillagigedo Archipelago off Baja California, Mexico. The vibrantly hued jellyfish looks like an impressive burst of fireworks when lit, but would otherwise travel in almost completely visual obscurity.

“Radial canals that move nutrients through the jelly’s bell form a starburst pattern that reflects the lights of ROV Hercules with bright splashes of yellow and pink,” the Nautilus crew shares. “But without our lights this gelatinous beauty drifts unseen in the dark.”

You can follow regular discoveries aboard the Nautilus on their frequently updated YouTube channel.
(via Core 77)

 

 



Art

Dripping Glass Fusion "Jellyfish" Sculptures by Daniela Forti

August 9, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Artist Daniela Forti lives and works in Chianti, Tuscany where she produces these fantastic artworks of dripped glass. She refers to the pieces as “Jellyfish” because of their undulating tentacles that are formed by hand through a melted glass fusion process. Each piece appears to balance like a small platter or table atop colorful, spindly drips that somehow manage to support the weight above. Many examples of her work are on view (and also available) over at Artemest.

 

 



Art Photography

Illuminated Portraits of Live Portuguese Man o' War Captured by Aaron Ansarov

June 29, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

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An ex-military photographer, Aaron Ansarov retired from the Navy in 2007, transforming his skills to create commercial work for magazines and focus on his own practice. Fascinated with marine life since his days growing up in Central Florida, his series “Zooids,” focuses on detailed images of Portuguese Man o’ War. Ansarov photographs the creatures on a homemade light table while alive, then immediately releases them back into the wild where they were found.

Once shot and the Man o’ War are returned, each image receives minimal manipulation, as Ansarov makes only slight adjustments to the photograph’s exposure, contrast, and vibrancy to highlight the vivid details of each venomous siphonophore. The completed works are otherworldly, appearing like alien illustrations rather than portraits, with deep blues, purples, and pinks unfurling in every direction. You can see more of Ansarov’s illuminated images on Facebook and Instagram. (via Fubiz)

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Amazing Science

New Species of Unusual Jellyfish Discovered 2.3 Miles Below the Ocean's Surface

May 2, 2016

Christopher Jobson

In what looks more like a scene out of a James Cameron movie, researchers on a NOAA expedition aboard the Okeanos Explorer were filming with the help of an ROV in the Marianas Trench last week when an improbable creature suddenly popped into the frame. With just a few wiry tentacles and a cluster of 8 brightly reflective orbs inside its body, this new jellyfish looks like something from the realm of Photoshop than science. But incredibly, it’s real, living happily at 2.3 miles (~3,700 meters) underwater. From Scientific American:

Scientists believe this animal belongs to the genus Crossota, a group of jellies that does not have a sessile polyp stage; all phases of their lives are ocean drifters. They also believe this animal is an ambush predator – note the posture it had assumed in the first half of the video: its bell motionless with its tentacles outstretched like the struts of a spider’s web, waiting for something to bumble into them. The red canals, they suggest, appear to connect the bright yellow objects, which may be gonads.

You can get more photo and video updates from the Okeanos Explorer here. (via Neatorama, Scientific American)

Update: An earlier version of this article mentioned the jellyfish may be ‘bioluminescent’. While that may be true in some regard, several people with much more impressive scientific credentials than mine have written to suggest the “lights” seen inside the jellyfish in this video are merely reflective. The most likely scenario is that the gonads of this particular species exhibit some form of fluorescence but do not illuminate independently. Thanks, Steven.

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Art

Exquisite Marine Life Specimens Imagined in Glass by Steffen Dam

November 9, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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All images courtesy Joanna Bird Gallery unless otherwise noted

As a child, Danish artist Steffen Dam loved poring over his grandparents’ collection of scientific books and cabinets of insects. This fascination of how we catalogue and understand the natural world followed through to his artistic glass career, where Dam creates highly detailed “Cabinets of Curiosities” that mimic oceanic specimens suspended in glass jars and plates. The pieces are usually displayed inside light boxes to better illuminate every minute detail from the fragile tentacles of a jellyfish to a flourish of bubbles that seem to dance around many of his specimens.

A quote from David Revere McFadden’s essay Between Art and Nature, The Glass of Steffen Dam:

Steffen Dam invites the viewer to relish the sheer beauty of his “specimens,” but also to reflect on the meaning of nature as a mirror of the human mind and spirit. Dam has “captured” nature in his work, but he assiduously avoids simple imitation of life; the artist shies away from what he refers to as “cheap tricks in glass.” He seeks to strike a “balance between fiction and reality.” While his work is in no way intended to serve as pedagogic tools, as specimens in “cabinets of curiosities” often were, they are intended to engage the eye and stimulate the imagination. Knowledge about the forms, structures, surfaces, and colors of true natural specimens is not to be found in Dam’s displays of crystal cylinders, but another kind of knowledge—that of the visual poetry of endlessly varied forms—is freely offered. Dam’s little creatures, although frozen in glass, remind of how we read and feel both time and change.

Dam most recently had several pieces on view at Chicago’s SOFA Expo through Heller Gallery. You can also see several additional works at Joanna Bird.

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Photo by Christopher Jobson for Colossal / SOFA Expo Chicago

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Courtesy Heller Gallery