The under-sea world is one that is equal parts beautiful, fascinating, and strange. When looking specifically at the cold parts of our oceans, you can double up on the strange part. After all, it takes some pretty uniquely-evolved organisms to survive underwater in the world’s harshest seas.
This is exactly what marine biologist and underwater photographer Alexander Semenov hopes to find every time he dives into the icy waters. On a dive last February, that’s just what he got. (1)
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The Sea Angel
Sea Angels are tiny sea slugs found both in the polar and tropic seas. Named because of their wing-like appendages, they are small, gelatinous, and mostly transparent creatures with brightly colored glowing insides. The largest of this species is the polar sea angels like the one in Semenov’s video and photos. (3, 4)
Known scientifically as Clione limacina, Semenov photographed a solitary sea angel, stating in a post that following March the area will be filled with thousands of the small creatures mating, laying eggs, and hunting. (1, 3, 4)
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Currently the head of the diver’s team at the Moscow State University’s White Sea Biological Station, Semenov regularly dives in challenging, harsh conditions to research undersea invertebrates. He has also been a professional underwater photographer for a decade now where he specializes in scientific macrophotography in natural environments. (1, 2)
Many of the soft-bodied creatures swimming under the sea or attached to the seafloor are unable to be studied in a laboratory environment. Semenov wants to use his diving and photography to study these organisms and hopefully educate and inspire others to take an interest in marine biology. (1, 2)
Alexander Semenov has collaborated with National Geographic, the BBC, Nature Magazine, Science Magazine, and the Smithsonian. (2)
He is right now working on a project known as Aquatilis, which exists to find, study, and photograph the most unique and unusual species in our oceans. With his team at Aquatilis, they create films and content for television corporations, create books featuring Semenov’s incredible undersea images, and give lectures to everyone from fellow scientists all the way down to the elementary school students. All of this is achieved through collaborations with museums, schools, large and small corporations around the world. (1, 2)
You can follow along with his projects and check out his photo gallery on Flickr, follow some of his adventures on Instagram, and check out his various projects on his website.
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