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Carol Grant
Winner of the 2009 Nature Conservancy Photo Contest

Growing up in Southern California, Carol Grant has always been intrigued by the beauty of the ocean. “As a child, I vividly remember watching episodes of Sea Hunt after school and wondering if I could ever have underwater adventures too,” says Carol.

This curiosity led Carol to pick up a camera. “I think [al]most anyone who has a passion for the natural world dreams of being able to communicate that beauty through photographs,” she says.

As her experiences with marine life grew, Carol says she became determined to learn how to photograph the unique creatures and habitats with which she fell in love. “Underwater photography is challenging because it entails not only a knowledge of photography, but specialized equipment knowledge, excellent buoyancy skills and confidence in handling oneself well underwater at the same time,” explains Carol.

Full story at Nature Conservancy

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Information shared by Dr Kate Durrant

The Census of Marine Life was the biggest project in the history of marine biology. Forget going into space, the depths of our planet’s oceans are really the last unexplored wilderness. New species were regularly unearthed, like the bizarre deep water lobster Dinochelus ausubeli. This beast was first collected in 2007, but such was the amount of new creatures to be examined and catalogued, it was not formally described in the literature until last year. Being so different from any other previously described lobster earned it a new genus: Dinochelus, which means ‘terrible claw’. The species name was in honour of the man who helped found the Census of Marine Life, Jesse Ausubel. This abyssal creature has one enormously elongated set of pincers, presumably adapted for grabbing prey in the darkness. It is unusual that only one claw is modified, usually animals are symmetrical, but this is in keeping with single-claw modifications seen in other crustaceans such as fiddler crabs. We can probably rule out a signalling function for the claw, as fiddler crabs do, as it is so dark down there.

No description of a new species is complete without a detailed set of images to ‘bring it to life’. This odd looking lobster is now enshrined in the Encyclopaedia of Life, with some lovely pictures of that terrible claw: http://www.eol.org/pages/17924149

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