Kingman Reef, Line Islands, Central Pacific Ocean
NOAA Vessel Hi’ialakai, shipboard studio
Archival Pigment Print
One of the beauties of Susan’s portraits is that they allow us to see the animals in exquisite detail, unobscured by their natural surroundings. If you were to come across this anemone while snorkeling, for example, much of it would be entirely hidden from view and the exposed parts difficult to distinguish. In nature, the brown stalk of the anemone is buried in sediment, its base attached to rocks below; the disc, with its central mouth and encircling tentacles, lays flat on the surface, its colorful speckles blending in with the sand. The anemone relies on not being noticed in order to capture its prey, a variety of small animals in the plankton.