It’s well known that oceans cover over two thirds of the Earth’s surface – there’s a reason it’s called the ‘Blue Planet’. Yet surprisingly little is actually known about the natural history of these vast expanses. The reproductive biology of the world’s largest mammal, the blue whale remains largely a mystery. Similarly, relatively little is known about the ecology of the heaviest bony fish: the sunfish. Other large species, such as the megamouth shark and the spectacled porpoise (we’re currently working to profile this one) have rarely even been sighted.
One problem is that we are so far removed from the creatures of the deep. Oceans are not easy places to visit – most of us will never see a basking shark or a narwhal firsthand. Luckily, the lure of the ocean draws in many underwater photographers. Through their lenses, we are now able to see many of the mysteries the depths have to offer: how the humbolt squid flashes red when angered, the lemon shark giving birth, and the courtship of whale sharks to name but a few. The ocean provides a fantastic backdrop for some stunning imagery.
The remoteness of the ocean can mean that the threats of many oceanic species are forgotten. Imagery can work to highlight these problems. A photograph of the blacktip shark caught on a longline hook, or the Baird’s beaked whale caught by whalers can stir strong emotions.
Here at ARKive we hope that our work to track down and feature such images will help raise awareness of these species and the problems they face. After all, there may not always be plenty of fish left in the sea…
Lauren Pascoe, ARKive Media Researcher