This red-white-and-blue shrimp was among the distinctive animals scientists found on a recent survey of French Frigate Shoals in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
Photographer Susan Middleton took this and many other pictures while accompanying the scientists on the three-week expedition. The researchers' findings, she said, offered up a world of inspirationboth scientific and artistic.
"It is not until you start looking through the macro lens at these organisms that you start to see the vibrant colors, the fine hairs covering a crab's shell, the flecks of color in the translucent tentacles of an anemone, the incredible evolutionary adaptations for survival," she said in a statement.
"It is then that I realize how infinitely complex life is on a coral reef and how grateful I am to these scientists for helping me to see organisms that have spent millions of years evolving colors, shapes, and behaviors in order not to be seen."
Middleton, a grantee of the National Geographic Expeditions Council
, recently co-produced a photo feature on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
for National Geographic
magazine, as well as a companion book.
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Photograph © Susan Middleton (2006)