Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Fun in the bush!

DD with one of the many Bush Rats we caught. Rattus fuscipes. Photo: Ryan Pearson
By Ryan Pearson
Sounds rude right? Well, it wasn't really. You see, I've been out bush... yep, the bush, with all the spiders, ticks, lizards, snakes, marsupilami's, muddy death traps, and heat stroke that come along with it. And damn it was fun! I've been out helping my lovely lady DD with her PHD study into fire ecology. As part of it we were trapping to find out which species exist in certain areas that have been exposed to different fire regimes. This basically just means that they've been burnt at different intervals, some yearly, some never, and a couple of in betweeners.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

The not so O.K. Coral... reefs.

A large bed of dead coral at Lady Musgrave Island. Photo: Ryan Pearson
By Ryan Pearson
Scientists claim that coral reefs are dying, they're disappearing, going extinct! There are even claims that they will disappear entirely by the end of this century. This would be an astounding 'accomplishment' by the human race... the first to wipe out not only a species, but an entire ecosystem. The sad part is, my first trip to the Great Barrier Reef, a single day of diving, has illustrated to me just how dire the situation is.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Epically Unfortunate - Lady Musgrave Island

A 3-4m Manta Ray swims over me while free-diving next to Lady Musgrave Island. Photo: Ryan Pearson
By Ryan Pearson
For a very unlucky, and ultimately disappointing dive trip, this one was great fun! The crew from the Griffith University Dive Club ventured north to Bundaberg for a weekend of diving on the Great Barrier Reef. Our aim was to live aboard the dive vessel Venus II for three nights, and have ten dives around Lady Musgrave Island. The whole group was very excited to dive with heaps of Manta Rays and we were all holding out hope for an appearance by the fabled resident 4m Tiger Shark. Unfortunately, not everything went to plan...

Friday, 18 November 2011

The South West Wall - 18th November

The Gills of an Obscure Hypselodoris. Photo: Ryan Pearson
By Ryan Pearson
There were nudibranchs and octopi everywhere on todays dive. Here is a bunch of pics and a rundown of what I saw....

Saturday, 12 November 2011


Ben zombified in Photoshop. Photo: Ryan Pearson
By Ryan Pearson
So, this is a little off topic for my blog, but I wanted to put it up anyway.

My lovely girlfriend and I recently had a combined birthday/halloween party and almost all of our friends turned up in some awesome costumes... but some didn't. I'd set up a make-shift 'photo booth' with multiple strobes. The backdrop was made as creepy as possible with a skeleton in a 'coffin' (which was actually a coffin shaped guitar case), and spider webs and skulls laying around. 

Friday, 11 November 2011

A Burleigh Heads Sunset

The Moon over Burleigh Heads at Sunset. Photo: Ryan Pearson

I took a quick walk down to Burleigh beach the other evening right after the sun dropped below the horizon. My intention was to get some nice long exposure shots of the coastline, but they didn't turn out as great as I'd hoped due to a broken and wobbly tripod. Anyway, this is one I did get.

I obviously did a bit of photoshop processing, and it was my first attempt to flatten out an image taken at the widest point on my Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens. But considering the troubles I had I'm relatively happy with the result :)

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

A Weekend's Worth of Plant Nutrient Transport

Nature's cup of nectar. Photo: Ryan Pearson
By Ryan Pearson
Plant nutrient transport is a hard thing to understand - especially for those of us who tuned out during the lectures. But after reading up on it, here's my understanding of how it works.

Basically, there's three levels to it. The initial uptake of water and minerals via the roots, the short distance transport from cell to cell, and the long distance transport from the roots to the shoots. Let's look at it in terms of a trip to the bottle-o.

Need help with Botany & Zoology?

Bot and Zoo in one picture. An Arachnid lies in its leaf hammock. Photo: Ryan Pearson
Just in case any of my fellow classmates are actually reading this and find my writings useful. I figured I'd centralise all of my 1602ENV Botany & Zoology related blogs into one post. If nothing else they may give you a break from the monotony of the lecture notes.

Monday, 7 November 2011

My Favourite Underwater Pics So Far

This is a handful of the shots I consider the best I've taken underwater so far. They're not all technically fabulous, but they either have personality, feature a cool critter, or actually are technically sound. I hope you enjoy. The one below was my favourite photo taken during last years Sundive Photo Shoot Out 2011. It didn't win any awards, but I really liked it then and I still love it today.
A Hingebeak Shrimp. Julian Rocks, Byron Bay. Photo: Ryan Pearson

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Your Number One Pals… the Primates

By Ryan Pearson
So, how’s it goin’? Ever wondered where all of your crazy thoughts came from? Or where your incredible good looks came from? Well, the short answer is monkeys, no, I mean apes, no, wait, I mean some crazy ancestral primate relative of both of them, and us, and of the lemurs and tarsiers. You see, all of these groups of primates have a few things in common, and you are one of them.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Life-cycles of the rich and the chlorophyllus

Angiosperm - Phylum Proteacae (Grevillea). Photo: Ryan Pearson
By Ryan Pearson
Come on, you’ve all considered it… ‘What if I was famous? I’d be just like Ron Jeremy *cough cough* I mean, just like… that, um, that really nice person out of that movie everyone likes who gives lots to charity and stuff’. Well, one thing you probably wouldn’t have considered is – what if plants were famous? Who would they be like? I’m going to try to tell you.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Photos - Gold Coast Seaway, Night dive. 25th October, 2011

 Some of the pics from an epic night dive on the South West Wall of the Gold Coast Seaway.
Euprymna tasmanica. Ryan Pearson

An Amazing Night in the Gold Coast Seaway

Papuan Cuttlefish. Sepia papuensi. Ryan Pearson
By Ryan Pearson.
Prep was hectic for this night dive, I procrastinated too much in the arvo, and then couldn’t find everything I needed when I tried to pack it all up in a rush. I’d decided that I wouldn’t take my camera because it seemed like too much effort at the time, and I didn’t have batteries for my focus light. But in the process of packing the car, I found a whole packet of fresh batteries and decided fate was telling me I should take my camera… so I did, and I sure didn’t regret it!

Monday, 24 October 2011

Photoshop fun!

I was totally not in the mood for uni work the other day (after my lovely girlfriend DD bought me some ciders at the pub for lunch) so I decided to be completely unproductive and play around a little on Photoshop. Combining a pic of a grey nurse shark I took at south solitary island, and a pic DD took of me in India a few years back (I only used this pic because it was the only one I could find where I was on the right angle, and had my legs sufficiently separated) I created the piece you see below. A little cheeky, I know, but I'm really happy with the result :)

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Uh Oh... Another Shark Attack.

By Ryan Pearson

A Grey Nurse Shark. One of my 'friends' at Sth Solitary Island. Photo: Ryan Pearson
Like everyone out there, no matter their stance on sharks, I hate hearing about this new attack. This is horrific news, but it’s horrific news on both sides of the argument. Not only for the poor guy that was taken, his family, dive buddies, and friends, but also for all the sharks in W.A. waters. This ‘piece of journalism’ is filled with so much propaganda and lies that it's no wonder people are scared of sharks.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Can we breathe underwater…please?

By Ryan Pearson
WHAT!? Are you CRAZY? This isn’t bloody Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire we’re talking about. Of course humans can’t breathe underwater… not without a tank or compressor and a regulator at least.” Sure, I agree, this is a perfectly reasonable response to such a preposterous question… for now.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

How to make a good impression at a party… Radiata Style

By Ryan Pearson
A Jellyfish in the Philippines. Ryan Pearson
Everyone loves jelly shots at a party, so why not become a jelly to impress a new group of people? Well, figuratively that is. Despite being very simple, rudimentary even, on the inside, and having a see-through personality, you too could make the right impressions at the next event you attend. Just take inspiration from those crazy party animals with radial symmetry and follow this simple guide.

A Reasonably Healthy Love For Sharks - Part 2

By Ryan Pearson
Previously I told you about how I came to have this deep love and respect for sharks. The thing is, the only reason I felt the need to tell you that is because I need all of you to understand where I’m coming from, and to move your thought processes at least some distance in the same direction. I titled this post ‘A reasonably healthy love for sharks’ for a reason… I believe some shark enthusiasts go too far.

A Reasonably Healthy Love For Sharks - Part 1

By Ryan Pearson
Before I get into the real reason I wanted to write this story (shark conservation), let me start by telling you a bit about how I developed the mindset I currently find myself in. As a result, this story will be in two parts… Part 1 begins now...

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Phylum Mollusca: An Invertebrate Super-Villain

By Ryan Pearson
Ever heard of Dr. Octopus? Well he was spawned from this diverse phylum of invertebrate animals with some crazy super powers of their own. The thing is, he wasn’t entirely accurate in the comic books, and in reality a super-villain from this phylum could be much, much scarier if the authors did their research.