The Astonishing Elegance of Deep Sea Plankton, in Photography

by Owen James Burke


Left to right: a paddle worm, spider crab larva and Maja Squinado, a migratory crab species found in the Atlantic and Mediterranean

Dr. Richard Kirby is a plankton biologist at Plymouth University who has spent the better part of his career studying and photographing plankton. His book, Ocean Drifters: A Secret World Beneath the Waves, puts the animals under a microscope and, while explaining their important role within the food chain, exhibits how the particular detail of their beauty becomes stunningly apparent when they’re positioned beneath a microscope.


Above: a juvenile spiny lobster, looking a bit like a desert scorpion


Despite its elegant display of cilia (small hair-like appendages used for stabilizing) this curious looking microscopic creature is actually a worm larva.


“If you’ve ever swallowed seawater while swimming you will almost certainly have engulfed some plankton too, just like a baleen whale.”


Purchase Ocean Drifters on Amazon.

Here’s a coinciding short film narrated by Sir David Attenborough by the same title:

Read more at the Daily Mail — OB

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