A Journey into the Deep. On World Oceans Day

June 8, 2015 § Leave a comment

Today is World Oceans Day, a day to celebrate the “Blue Heart” of our Planet, which covers almost 71% of its surface, is the principal component of Earth’s hydrosphere, forms part of the carbon cycle, regulates climate and weather patterns, served as the impetus for the emergence of life 39 billion years ago, and continues to provide the life support system for all known species on Earth, supplying half of our oxygen. I have selected a stellar collection of ocean arts and designs, created by four multi-talented individuals and teams, to honor the occasion.

Underwater Photographs

Jim Kirklin
Oceanographer, software engineer, and nature photographer
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Purple Ring Top Snail (Calliostoma annulatum), Monterey Bay, California

With an advanced degree in geophysics and a career that has included time with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and work on research projects in 3 different oceans, as well as a number of years working with a startup developing a new class of autonomous vehicles used in the ocean, Kirklin has developed an intense interest in the ecology of the ocean and its varied marine life. He has also been photographing nature and wildlife most of his life and an avid SCUBA diver for the last 20 years. Sooner or later these three interests were bound to intersect in underwater photography, resulting in stunning images of ocean life in the waters off California, Florida, Carribean, Solomons, Micronesia and Galapagos Islands, etc.

A selection of these images can be seen in our Visual Arts gallery. Kirklin’s works give us a glimpse of the beautiful and mysterious life in the world’s oceans, only 5% of which has been explored. The ocean is the habitat of 230,000 known species, but over two million marine species are estimated to exist.

Kirklin’s underwater photography has won awards and been featured in shows on the Central Coast and Sonoma, California. « Read the rest of this entry »

“Species are only commas in a sentence”

June 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

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The route around the Gulf of California taken by the Western Flyer

I never knew that marine biology was a major literary influence for John Steinbeck, until I stumbled upon this beautiful passage:

“Our own interest lay in relationships of animal to animal. If one observes in this relational sense, it seems apparent that species are only commas in a sentence, that each species is at once the point and the base of a pyramid, that all life is relational to the point where an Einsteinian relativity seems to emerge. And then not only the meaning but the feeling about species grows misty. One merges into another, groups melt into ecological groups until the time when what we know as life meets and enters what we think of as non-life: barnacle and rock, rock and earth, earth and tree, tree and rain and air. And the units nestle into the whole and are inseparable from it. Then one can come back to the microscope and the tide pool and the aquarium. But the little animals are found to be changed, no longer set apart and alone. And it is a strange thing that most of the feeling we call religious, most of the mystical outcrying which is one of the most prized and used and desired reactions of our species, is really the understanding and the attempt to say that man is related to the whole thing, related inextricably to all reality, known and unknowable. This is a simple thing to say, but the profound feeling of it made a Jesus, a St. Augustine, a St. Francis, a Roger Bacon, a Charles Darwin, and an Einstein. Each of them in his own tempo and with his own voice discovered and reaffirmed with astonishment  the knowledge that all things are one thing and that one thing is all things – plankton, a shimmering phosphorescence on the sea and the spinning planets and an expanding universe, all bound together by the elastic string of time. It is advisable to look from the tide pool to the stars and then back to the tide pool again.”

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