nature

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Photography

A Maldives Beach Awash in Bioluminescent Phytoplankton Looks Like an Ocean of Stars

January 18, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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While vacationing on the Maldives Islands, Taiwanese photographer Will Ho stumbled onto an incredible stretch of beach covered in millions of bioluminescent phytoplankton. These tiny organisms glow similarly to fireflies and tend to emit light when stressed, such as when waves crash or when they are otherwise agitated. While the phenomenon and its chemical mechanisms have been known for some time, biologists have only recently began to understand the reasons behind it. You can see a few more of Ho’s photographs over on Flickr.

 

 



Art Photography

Ephemeral Environmental Sculptures Evoke Cycles of Nature

January 1, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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For over 20 years environmental artist and photographer Martin Hill has been creating temporary sculptures from ice, stone, and organic materials that reflect nature’s cyclical system. Often working with his longtime partner Philippa Jones, the duo create sculptures and other installations that “metaphorically express concern for the interconnectedness of all living systems.” Speaking specifically about the use of circles Hill shares:

The use of the circle refers to nature’s cyclical system which is now being used as a model for industrial ecology. Sustainability will be achieved by redesigning products and industrial processes as closed loops—materials that can’t safely be returned to nature will be continually turned into new products. Of course this is only one part of the redesign process. We need to use renewable energy, eliminate all poisonous chemicals, use fair trade and create social equity.

You can see much more of Hill’s work in his online gallery, on Flickr, and over on his blog where you can learn about new projects including a major new show titled Watershed for the McClelland Sculpture Park and Gallery that opens in Melbourne in February. (via My Modern Met)

 

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Sunrise Circle

 

 



Science

Terrifying ‘Orchid Mantis’ is Camouflaged to Look Exactly Like a Pink Orchid Flower

December 26, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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In an unparalleled feat of natural selection the Orchid Mantis (Hymenopus coronatus) from Southeast Asia has evolved to look almost exactly like an orchid flower in order to lure unsuspecting prey. If looking like a plant isn’t impressive enough the clever insect also changes color from pink to brown according to its environment. (via Boing Boing)

 

 



Photography

Stark Black and White Photographs of Waterfalls by Massimo Margagnoni

December 18, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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Skogafoss Waterfall, Iceland

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Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

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Vettisfossen Waterfall, Norway

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Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, Iceland

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Waterfall, Norway

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Gullfoss Waterfall

Photographer Massimo Margagnoni explores aspects of nature and climate change through his stark black and white landscape photography. Of my favorites are his long exposure images of waterfalls in Norway and Iceland, many more of which you can see on Flickr. The award-winning Italian photographer has been published in National Geographic and recently published a book of his work, Fotografia dell’essere.

 

 



Art

Nature Imitates Andy Goldsworthy: Rare Ice Disk Forms in North Dakota River

November 27, 2013

Christopher Jobson

When I first saw this giant rotating ice disk spotted in North Dakota this week, I assumed it had to be some kind of human-created object, perhaps a new piece by famed land artist Andy Goldsworthy. The video above was shot by retired engineer George Loegering while hiking along the Sheyenne River. He estimates the rotating disk was some 55 feet in diameter and must have been forming for some time. The St. Paul Pioneer Press spoke with National Weather Service hydrologist Allen Schlag:

The cold, dense air—the air pressure Saturday in nearby Fargo was a record high for the city for the month of November, according to Gust—turned the river water into ice, but since the water was relatively warm it didn’t happen all at once. Floating bits of ice got caught in the eddy and started to spin in a circle.

“It’s not a continuous sheet of ice,” Schlag said. “If you were to throw a grapefruit-size rock on it, it would go through. It’s not a solid piece of ice—it’s a collection of ice cubes.”

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Photo by Brook Tyler

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Photo by Pål Sigurd

Although extremely rare, ice disks do indeed appear naturally from time to time when conditions are perfect. Above are a few examples of people who have been lucky enough to stumble onto one while holding a camera. Learn more over on St. Paul Pioneer Press. (thnx Ben + all)

 

 



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.

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 the deepest oceans and the most adverse climates. The book is set to be published in mid-November from Thames & Hudson.

 

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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.