No, I’m not talking about Italian ice cream., colorful as it may be. Nor am I talking about the gelada monkey, Theropithecus gelada, although he too sports some fine colors. No, I’m referring to sea beauties like this —
Aren’t they gorgeous? These are gelatinous zooplankton, delicate sea creatures, including jellyfish, that live in the oceans’ water columns. These photos were taken by Alexander Semenov, biologist and head of the Divers’ team at Moscow University’s White Sea Biological Station in Northern Russia. Semenov describes the gelatinous zooplankton like this —
We like to call this group of animals “gelata” – it’s a nice term seasoned with mystery and a bit less of a mouthful than “gelatinous zooplankton”. Gelata are fundamental to the health of our planet, they link other living creatures together. They’re also fun, since nobody has studied them extensively before. You can’t really study gelata in a lab or an aquarium since their bodies can fall apart from a single touch. Their bodies are basically made of jelly, after all.
Now that you’ve seen the gelata, you want a tshirt, don’t you?
Well one can be yours! Semenov and his team are raising funds for the Aquatilis Expedition, a three year around the world quest to document gelata and other fantastical sea creatures.
Most of the organisms he documents have never been discovered before, or if they have, information is extremely limited on their characteristics and behaviors. With just over 7,000 species documented, he estimates that scientists have only discovered 20% of the potential gelata in the world. (Business Insider)
The Aquatilis Expedition will be airing their discoveries and photographs live on their video blog Aquatilus.tv. (tell me that’s not going to win some awards!)
To support The Aquatilis Expedition and get yourself one of those gorgeous tshirts, grab your credit card and make a donation to the Aquatilis Indiegogo campaign. If you just want to make your eyes happy, check out Alexander Semenov’s Flickr stream. To keep up with the progress of the Aquailis Expedition, go their Facebook page. And finally, don’t forget to follow the team on Twitter.
* All photos used with permission from Aquatilis.