underwater

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Photography Science

Rare Footage Captures the Luminous Tentacles of the Psychedelic Jellyfish as It Floats Through the Pacific Ocean

January 11, 2022

Grace Ebert

The findings coming out of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Insitute continue to amaze us: new footage from a recent ROV dive into the midnight zone of Monterey Canyon in the Pacific Ocean captures the incredibly rare psychedelic jellyfish and its vibrant body. First discovered in 2018, the elusive creature has luminous, spindly tentacles that, when drifting in the water, appear like colorful light trails rather than gelatinous appendages. The footage shares glimpses of both male and female specimens and their distinct body parts, and you also might want to watch this phantom jellyfish and its 33-foot limbs. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 

 



Photography Science

A Rare Encounter with the Elusive Giant Phantom Jellyfish Captures Its 33-Foot Billowing Limbs

December 7, 2021

Grace Ebert

Back in August, we shared news of a previously undiscovered jellyfish so vibrant that its brilliant red body was a stark contrast to its deepwater environment. Now thanks to researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, we can add another similarly spectacular sighting to this year’s collection of rare deepsea finds. A remote-operated vehicle spotted the elusive giant phantom jellyfish in the midnight zone, an area of the ocean about 3,200 feet below the surface, in one of just nine of the team’s encounters with the species since it was discovered in 1899.

Footage and photos from the expedition unveil the crimson animal’s bulbous body and its four billowing, blanket-like arms (these function as mouths) that have the capability to stretch 33 feet out into the water and uncannily resemble a hat and scarf flying in the wind. Because sightings are so uncommon, researchers suspect that the huge jellyfish eats plankton and small fishes, although they haven’t been able to study it enough to know for sure. (via Peta Pixel)

 

 

 



Photography

In 'Two Worlds,' Split-View Photos Frame the Dual Environments Above and Below the Water's Surface

September 29, 2021

Grace Ebert

Father and Son, Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea, 2013. All images © David Doubilet, courtesy of Phaidon, shared with permission

From the coral-cloaked Kimbe Bay of Papua New Guinea to the icebergs of Antarctica’s Danco Island, the bisected photographs in David Doubilet’s forthcoming book Two Worlds: Above and Below the Sea unveil the diverse ecosystems on either side of the water’s surface. The 128-page volume published by Phaidon features 70 images from Doubilet’s 50-year career spent traveling the globe and pioneering the field of underwater photography.

The curated selection is wide-ranging in date and location, documenting a fuzzy seal pup lounging on a 2011 glacier in Canada, a school of bar jacks swimming in the Grand Caymans back in the 90s, and blacktip reef sharks under a French Polynesian sunset in 2018.  “I want to create a window into the sea that invites people to see how their world connects to another life-sustaining world hidden from their view,” Doubilet says.

Two Worlds: Above and Below the Sea will be released in early November and is available for pre-order from Bookshop and Phaidon.

 

Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins, Danco Island, Antarctica, 2011

Lion’s Mane Jellyfish, Bonne Bay Fjord, Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland, Canada, 2012

Bar Jacks, Grand Cayman Island, 1990

Harp Seal Pup, Gulf of St Lawrence, Canada, 2011

Blacktip Reef Sharks, South Pass, Fakarava Atoll, French Polynesia, 2018

Grounded Iceberg, Blanley Bay, Devon Island, Nunavut, Canada, 2018

 

 



Photography Science

Footage from a Blackwater Dive Off the Coast of Italy Frames the Striking Marine Creatures Found in Its Depths

September 22, 2021

Grace Ebert

For marine biologists and photographers, a nighttime dive into the ocean offers an austere backdrop for capturing the myriad creatures that live below the surface: entirely devoid of light, black water creates a stark visual contrast to the iridescent, translucent, and tentacled organisms that float in the dark expanses, making rare sightings of cusk eels and or billowing blanket octopuses all the more striking. An expedition by Alexander Semenov (previously) near Ponza Island unveiled an array of marine life off the western coast of Italy, framing their unique forms and movements. The footage is part of an ongoing documentary project for Aquatilis, and you can see more from Semenov on his site.

 

 

 



Science

A Rare Sighting of a Glass Octopus Reveals its Nearly Transparent Membrane in Extraordinary Detail

July 16, 2021

Grace Ebert

On a 34-day expedition around the Phoenix Islands Archipelago, marine scientists from the Schmidt Ocean Institute captured exceptionally rare footage of the elusive glass octopus. With a speckled, iridescent membrane, the aquatic animal is almost entirely transparent—only its optic nerve, eyes, and digestive tract are visible to humans—and sightings like these are so infrequent that scientists previously resorted to studying the species only after pulling it from the stomachs of its predators.

Along with successfully capturing this footage, the research team also identified new marine organisms and recorded the sought-after whale shark swimming through the Pacific Ocean during the expedition. For similar underwater reveals, check out a blanket octopus unveiling her membrane.

 

 

 



Photography

Underwater Photos Taken During Blackwater Dives Frame the Atlantic Ocean's Stunning Diversity

April 29, 2021

Grace Ebert

Female blanket octopus in Palm Beach, Florida. All images licensed, © BluePlanetArchive/Steven Kovacs

After sunset, self-taught photographer Steven Kovacs plunges into the open ocean around Palm Beach to shoot the minuscule, unassuming creatures floating in the depths. He’s spent the last eight years on blackwater dives about 730 feet off the eastern coast of Florida in a process that “entails drifting near the surface at night from 0 to 100 feet over very deep water.” Often framing species rarely seen by humans, Kovacs shoots the larval fish against the dark backdrop in a way that highlights the most striking aspects of their bodies, including wispy, translucent fins, iridescent features, and bulbous eyes.

Because Kovacs doesn’t have formal training in marine biology, he often enlists the help of scientists around the world to identify many of the rare fish he photographs. At the top of his list for future encounters are three cusk eel species and the female blanket octopus, a creature known for unveiling a billowing membrane that’s shown above.

Prints of Kovacs’s images are available from Blue Planet, and you can keep up with his underwater excursions on Instagram.

 

Male Paper Nautiluses, Argonauta species, in Palm Beach, Florida. © BluePlanetArchive/Steven Kovacs

Acanthonus armatus, the bethypelagic species of Cusk Eel, in Palm Beach, Florida. © BluePlanetArchive/Steven Kovacs

Left: Ribbonfish in Palm Beach, Florida. Right: Fish in the Ipnops family in Palm Beach, Florida. © BluePlanetArchive/Steven Kovacs

Brotulotaenia species of Cusk Eel in Palm Beach, Florida. © BluePlanetArchive/Steven Kovacs

Larval Wonderpus in Anilao, Philippines. © BluePlanetArchive/Steven Kovacs

Larval Pancake Batfish in Palm Beach, Florida. © BluePlanetArchive/Steven Kovacs

Tripodfish in Palm Beach, Flordia. © BluePlanetArchive/Steven Kovacs

Larval flounder in Palm Beach, Florida. © BluePlanetArchive/Steven Kovacs