Coryphella polaris; All photos by Alexander Semenov
Alexander Semenov has a wonderful talent for capturing the beauty and grace of tiny sea creatures. A graduate from Lomonosov's Moscow State University in the department of Zoology in 2007, he currently works at White Sea Biological Station (WSBS) where he studies the northern marine environment and writes about the beauty of sea creatures for his blog and scientific papers. Check out some of the incredible images Semenov has captured of alien-like marine animals.
Semenov is chief of the diving team at WSBS. The WSBS is located near the Polar Circle on the coast of Kandalaksha Bay of the White Sea. Semenov notes that, "The WSBS location makes it an ideal place not only to study the northern marine environment for scientists and students from around the globe, but to enjoy the amazing nature, seascapes and sky panoramas... Our station is s wonderful place with its unique atmosphere of science mixed with wild nature."
Semenov tells us, "I'm not a scientist in the modern meaning, I'm more a naturalist, like Linnaeus in the 18th century. I study all marine life and try to illustrate it and show to all people who are interested in environmental sciences and nature at all. My underwater job at the station and my education as marine biologist are connected in this way."
Mytilus edulis mass
Semenov admits he has some particular favorites when it comes to underwater creatures, particularly the pteropod mollusks Sea Angels (Clione limacina, shown below) and Sea butterflies (Limacina helicina).
"Also my favorite mollusk is very rare Coryphella polaris, a large nudibranch [sea slug], who live under 30m in the dark and cold water and is so beautiful -- I just don't know any animal better," he states. That rare Coryphella polaris is shown in the lead photo of this interview, and it really is a stunning creature.
Semenov writes a blog in Russian about the stories behind his photos, and also has a portfolio site in English that teaches more about the animals in the photographs, including the life cycle, feeding, behavior and other aspects of their lives.
When asked if Semenov sees any negative impacts of human activity on the ocean when he dives, he states, "In the White Sea there are so many extremal conditions that there are not so many tourists and divers. But sometimes I see some anthropogenic trash at the sea floor. That's bad, but not critical - animals can live on it and in 3-5 years it disappears totally under the biomass. But if there would be any toxic waste, marine life will stop in this location for many years.
"People from all around the globe need to learn how to recycle waste. Our oceans are very big and can contain a lot of trash and waste without any damage, but it's only a question of time when it will become full. It's not a trash can -- it is a place where life was born and everybody needs to understand it."
Semenov's work is incredible, and there is little more important to conservation than showing the beauty of the world and the creatures with whom we share it. See more of his photography on the Behance Network.
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