Aquatic environments videos

1 09 2015

While developing and revising “ENVS 3450 – Aquatic Environments”, I’ve been discovering quite a few good aquatic environments videos, animated GIF files & interactive pages.  Inspired by Meghan Duffy’s Dynamic Ecology post on videos for teaching, I thought I’d compile a list of useful aquatic environments videos and share those here. Many thanks to Dr. Andrea Kirkwood who passed along great links!

The videos must illustrate an important scientific concept related to aquatic environments, and be useful for undergraduate and graduate classes. Beautiful photography and compelling storytelling also helps!

I’ve added another important criteria which is overlooked too often. The videos must be accessible through the use of subtitles and captions, published scripts or other visual cues within the video itself. This symbol (cc) indicates high quality captioning / subtitling already included in the video.

The list is far from complete. If you see missing videos or gaps below, please do let me know in the comments or send me a message via Twitter / email. I will continue updating this list. [New links will have a date next to them.]

Now, the videos and animated GIFs, loosely organized by category:

Water Science (physics, chemistry)

The Water Cycle


Limnology & oceanography (science & conservation)

Lakes & other aquatic habitats of the world

Plankton & microscopic organisms

Macroalgae (seaweed)


Macrophytes (aquatic plants)







How humans use & impact upon aquatic resources

Fisheries & overfishing:


Ecosystem impacts & manipulation

Series & Collections

Do you know of any other aquatic environment videos and animated GIFs which should be included in this list?


Portfolio 6: Lines and circles

24 09 2013

As I walked along on the Lunenburg water front on a calm still Sunday morning, I came across this little yellow sailing boat next to a large working ship. As I moved a bit further along the dock to get into a better position to view the reflections, the yellow stood out in stark contrast with the blue and red reflections mirrored in the water. Keeping in with my theme of creating abstract images, I zoomed close, focusing on the colours and patterns, which seems to give this image a sense of abstract reality. What is floating in what? As I paused by this scene, I realized that the round buoys were creating their own elliptical reflections contrasting with the portholes and the painted circle on the ship (which I think indicates the location of the thruster below the waterline).  The slightly askew vertical mast (and its reflection) helps to tie together the multiple horizontal lines in the calm image.

A yellow sailboat floating in the reflection of a large neighbouring ship

Portfolio 6: Towards the sea

22 09 2013

I got up early Sunday morning after the wedding celebrations and looked out our little dormer window at the top. It was gorgeous outside, so I quietly left the hotel to walk by the waterfront. As on most early summer mornings in Nova Scotia, the water was very calm.  The mirrored stillness in addition to the bright soft morning light resulted in lovely reflections everywhere.

I liked this particular image for a number of reasons: the contrast of the crisp yellow lines against the blue; the more organic patterns of the rust stains tracking salt water pouring out of the drain holes, the shapes of various openings, all of which tell stories about the ship, its use and its design.  The ship itself cast a shadow on the side I was on, so its reflection in the water was darker. However, the water itself acted as a reflector of the bright sun, thereby brightening up the side of the ship itself.  This back and forth conversation of light and colour, industrial design and nature, created a dynamic image full of both tension and stillness. The yellow lines create an arrow pointing towards the sea, which to me, created a sense of destination and movement within this static tension.

Yellow stripes on a ship reflecting on water create arrows

Portfolio 6 – Lunenburg reflections

20 09 2013

This past summer, we attended a wonderful wedding in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.  Lunenburg is an UNESCO World Heritage site due to its architecture and long marine history, not to mention its beauty, so it made for an amazing location for our friends to get married in!

As a change of perspective, I’ve gone back to colour for this series after experimenting with infrared images for several months. This photograph was taken the day before the wedding. It was mid-morning when the water was choppy. It is of the small rubber tender belonging to the historic Bluenose.  The trippy patterns of the reflections are reminiscent of a certain Italian designer fabric pattern. I liked the contrast between the choppy patterned reflections and the clean lines of the tender, ready to return to the ship.


(Due to travel and inconsistent access to good wifi, I have been behind on the Portfolio 26 project. Wish me luck as I try to catch up!)

Portfolio 1: Conifers around a lake

20 01 2013

The fifth and last image in “Portfolio 1: Trees beyond sight” below is from a sunset walk to our neighbouring lake, the same one where I took the “Shadows and Conifers” image.  I like how the near-infrared spectrum increases the contrast of the clouds in the sky, adding considerable drama to the image.  What initially caught my attention were the two pines towering over almost nearly every tree in the area. I was shooting almost perpendicular to the dominant light source, with the sunset on the left, so those two trees did not become dramatically white, but instead appear to glow mysteriously due to diffused light through their needles.  However, the smaller conifers in the foreground had more direct reflection from the sunlight so those appear almost white as a result.  The bare branches of the saplings provide nice composition endpoints as well as a dramatic contrast to the evergreen conifers.  On the lake itself, there is some ice forming, providing a nice contrast in textures and reflections between the ice and water reflecting back the fast-moving clouds.

Two conifersee and clouds over Chain Lake

Project 52 No 2. Night in Halifax (Reflections)

3 08 2011

This second photograph in the “Night in Halifax” series this week was taken over the August long weekend.  After heading out to the harbour for some sailing only to develop engine troubles, we ended up spending a relaxing evening in the Armdale Marina, enjoying the lovely light.  The industrial lights around the marina emitted an orangey-pink light that contrasted wonderfully with the velvety blue of the evening sky, and the water was very calm.  This resulted in beautiful and interesting reflections of the moored sailboats around us.  I like this image for its calmness, colour contrasts and the way the masts aligned to create an off-centre triangle pattern in the sky and in the water.

Reflections at the Armdale Marina

This is the second in a 3-part series: “Speed” and “Clarity” are the first and third respectively.

World Water Day 2011

22 03 2011

Spring ice break-up in riverIt is now Spring Ice Break-up time in southern Ontario, a time of great interest to “lake ice phenologists“. As I write this, I am looking out of the window at a very wet scene in the back garden.  There was an early Spring snowfall yesterday, which is now melting away.  The snowmelt is flowing towards the street where it is going down the drains which will eventually lead to Lake Ontario.  While I look outside, I take a sip of my tea, which was made with treated Lake Ontario water from the tap.  Lake Ontario, one of the world’s largest lakes, is interconnected with my life and that of my neighbours in numerous intimate ways. Yet we hardly ever take the time to think about the waterbodies flowing around our city.

Today, we get this opportunity.  Today is the Global World Water DayWorld Water Day 2011 Logo (English) (March 22), spearheaded by several United Nations agencies.  It is a day of global celebration and learning with events in thousands of cities, towns and villages around the world, including many across Canada and United States.

The focus of World Water Day is on clean drinkable water for people.  Water is essential, not only for our survival, but also for our health by ensuring sanitary habitats.  Clean water is also essential for the stability of human societies.  There is no way around it — access to clean water is a fundamental human right.  Without it, there will be death, suffering and widespread chaos.

City of Toronto from airMany Canadians are very fortunate to have access to cheap clean drinkable water from lakes, rivers and groundwater — we even use it to flush our toilets! However, Canada is not except from water access issues.  Many communities in the north struggle with access to clean water with severe consequences. Even in the south, there has been occasional outbreaks of water-borne diseases due to improper monitoring and oversight.   We all must work together to ensure we have access to safe water at all times.

Water is also essential for healthy ecosystems.  Pollution is wide spread. We all are connected through air and through water.  Due to atmospheric Hazard Waste awaiting pick up for proper disposaltransportation, there is chemical contaminants in water bodies world-wide, even in remote sites.  Temperature and nutrient pollution are widespread in large lakes where people live.  Physical pollution such as garbage, plastics and unwanted objects can create havoc for both aquatic and terrestrial biota.

Lucky for us all, there are success stories and we can still share the beauty of our lakes and rivers with the world.  Take a moment to appreciate your neighbouring lakes and rivers, oceans and estuaries.  Whether it is snowing, raining or dry where you live, think about the water you use and where you get the water from.   Water is amazing, and connects us all.  Celebrate World Water Day by drinking a glass of clean water!

Rideau River at Sunrise