Pic o’ the week – sand grain kaleidoscope

Ah! If I had the eyes to see,
And brain to understand,
I think Life’s mystery might be
Solved in this grain of sand.
 –Robert William Service

Here, a microphotograph by Dr. Gary Greenberg of sand, that stuff the we love to get between our toes on the beach.

Greenberg’s passion is revealing the ‘secret beauty of nature’ by photographing elements of the natural world through the lenses of the hi-def, 3-D light microscopes that he invented.These sand grains are from a Maui beach. As Dr. Greenberg notes:

“The tip of a spiral shell has broken off and become a grain of sand. After being repeatedly tumbled by action of the surf this spiral sand grain has become opalescent in character. It is surrounded by bits of coral, shell, and volcanic material.”

His stunning photos of sand from around the world are collected in his book A Grain of Sand. Check it out.

Pic o’ the week – sea turtle hatchlings

“The ancient mariner who has seen both the fall of dinosaurs and
the dawn of humankind, this master navigator now,
ironically, needs us … to chart a path to its future.”
-Carl Safina

The Leatherback turtle hatchlings above head into the sea for the first time. Only a few of every hundred or thousand sea turtle hatchlings make it to adulthood.

Threats to their survival include the manmade – poaching, electric lights that interfere with their navigation by moonlight, plastic bags that look like their jellyfish prey, and fishing gear that hopelessly entangles them. At beaches around the world, some people step in to help the endangered sea turtles reproduce.

On the crowded beaches of south Maui, locals are gearing up to help the sea turtles in their millenia-old reproductive ritual.

Harry Eagar of The Maui News reports on the efforts that conservationists, turtle lovers and scientists make every year to help the turtles nest and the hatchlings make the perilous journey from nest to sea.

And Amy Sutherland’s article in the May’s Smithsonian magazine gives a great first-hand account of efforts to help the severely endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles as they nest on Cape Cod beaches.

Want to get involved or adopt a sea turtle or donate in some way? Check out Caribbean Conservation Corp.’s excellent listing of sea turtle groups.

Photo by Scott R. Benson, National Marine Fisheries Service/NOAA