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Eunsoo Kim Mangroves Explore21 Solomon Islands

Aboard the Alucia in the Solomon Islands: My First 24 Hours

From the Field posts

This month, Museum Curator John Sparks is leading the The Explore21 Solomon Islands Expedition. A part of the Museum's Explore21 initiative, this three-week research journey is headquartered aboard the Research Vessel Alucia. Chris Filardi, who is the director of Pacific Programs in the Museum’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, wrote this dispatch when he joined the expedition team last week.

Tags: Explore21

Explore21 Triton deploy

Researchers Set off for the Solomon Islands

From the Field posts

American Museum of Natural History scientists first experienced the beauty and incredible biodiversity of the Solomon Islands nearly 100 years ago on a legendary expedition to collect birds, plants, and anthropological items. This month, Museum researchers are back in the captivating archipelago with scientific tools their predecessors couldn’t have dreamed of. Watch a video and see photos from the early days of their journey. 

Tags: Explore21

Sparks-and-Gruber-230

Diving in the Dark with David Gruber

From the Field posts

Underwater photography is always a challenge, but try doing it at night. That’s how David Gruber, a Museum research associate and consultant for the exhibition Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence, will be spending the next few weeks in the Solomon Islands as he searches for glowing organisms to photograph. Gruber is writing about his experiences for The New York Times’s “Scientist at Work: Notes From the Field” blog along with fellow Museum research associate Vincent Pieribone.

“The scientific goals of this trip are manifold,” Gruber writes in his first post, “but above all we are after elusive near-infrared fluorescent and bioluminescent molecules to aid in biomedical research.” Both bioluminescent animals—creatures that generate light—and biofluorescent organisms—which absorb light and re-emit it at other wavelengths—have wide applications in medicine by allowing certain cells, such as those within cancerous tumors, to be visually tagged and tracked.

Tags: Bioluminescence, From the Field

Bloody Bay Wall

Extreme Fieldwork on the Bloody Bay Wall

From the Field posts

We wanted to include a panoramic image of a magnificent coralscape in Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence, and Bloody Bay Wall [off Little Cayman Island] was the perfect place.

But capturing Ansel Adams-like vistas are impossible under water, where sections of the light spectrum—especially reds—are absorbed within a meter. We need to get in very close to our subject and use flash photography to capture the reef ’s true color. We have to repeat this process hundreds of times over the wall face. Then, the small consecutive images are painstakingly stitched together to create a life-sized, true-color view.

Tags: Bioluminescence

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