Monday, January 24, 2011

I. cannot. wait. to. go. to. the. Phoenix Islands

If every I have felt a desire to study corals, it is now. Woke up this morning to Boston being -1 but feeling like it was -20. I think that may be a conservative number because after five minutes outside I could not feel my legs. I feel like I like in Russia, not Boston.
Anyhow, I come to work and start editing videos again and, as I watch the divers swim in shorties and bask in only bathing suits on the boat, I cannot wait to get away from the cold. I think I'll just go to Panama next year and not come back, I make a raft and float around the Pacific. At least that was I can avoid 8' of snow every other day and I can feel my legs.

However, I think it'll be a while before I get to the Phoenix Islands, but I may be able to get to Fiji within a few years! On mornings like this, I keep that concept close to my heart.

But, so far, its been a fun week (well 3 hours) at work. Les, who has walking pneumonia,  came in the just talk with me and catch up. We ended up talking about photography the whole time and he promised to show me the "secret" lab with LOTS of coral and octopi! Also, he mentioned he'll take me out diving to his favorite spot to see the cold water coral, Astrangia. This coral is able to live in a symbiotic OR non-symbiotic state!
For those who don't really know coral, most corals live in a symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellae, which is a dinoflagellate. These not only give the coral nutrients, but provide the coral with their color. Well, our special cold water coral can live without them! I will do a separate post about them, for those who are really interested. :)

But, back to photography, I learned something really cool! When the aquarium did an expedition to Fijim back in the fall of 2010, the published photos showed coral bioluminescencing. Well, I love bioluminescence so I asked Les about it. Turns out that all coral do it! The cynobacteria that live inside of the coral let off the light  and he is hoping to do experiments about if there are patterns tied to certain feelings that the coral is feeling.
He is currently doing a project that reads the genome of coral as they undergo certain stresses (if I understood this to properly present it, I would go more into detail), but he is hoping to use the filters on the cameras to be able to make the process easier to see. If so, I want part of it! Apparently its really easy to see when one used high energy lights (either a black light or a blue light) and places a yellow filter over their lens & mask.
A photo from the 2010 Fiji trip showing the bioluminescence

I ALSO found out that... wait for it...I will be working with Brian Skerry's images! Brian Skerry is a very well respected photographer for national geographic and recently gave a TED talk. I was supposed to meet with him last year but, due to a comedy of errors, was not able to. Now I get to work with his photos and will be able to see the type of photos that national geographic photographers take and will probably be able to meet him (since he and Les are friends). Exciting!

Anyway, back to videos and then a lab meeting! Bests

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