The underwater world has always fascinated us, mostly because it is mysterious, full of secrets, waiting for us to discover them.
Marine biologist and underwater photographer Alexander Semenov, the head of the diver’s team at the Moscow State University’s White Sea Biological Station, loves being challenged by the ocean, and every time he dives into it, he hopes to discover something new.
Last February, while diving under the ice in the White Sea, in Russia’s Arctic, he encountered a solitary sea angel, also known as Clione limacina.
Sea angels are small sea slugs that live in tropical and polar seas. These gelatinous and almost transparent creatures have wing-like appendages and brightly colored glowing insides.
“This miniature creature is an incredibly graceful swimmer; watching it is a complete pleasure. They seem to float in the air, slowly waving their wings.”
Sea angels inhabit the frigid waters of the Arctic, subarctic Atlantic, and Pacific oceans, and prey on sea butterflies, known as Limacina helicina.
Alexander Semenov often dives in harsh conditions to research undersea invertebrates. His newest project, Aquatilis, focuses on the most unique and unusual species in the ocean.
For more than ten years, he has been a professional underwater photographer and he specializes in scientific macrophotography in natural environments.
He aims to study the soft-bodied creatures swimming under the sea or attached to the seafloor which cannot be studied in a laboratory environment and inspire others to become interested in marine biology.
“ I do this by sharing all my findings through social media and in real life through public lectures, movies, exhibitions, and media events.
I have the unique opportunity to observe beauty in the underwater darkness, which led me to multiple collaborations, namely with National Geographic, BBC, Nature Magazine, Science Magazine, the Smithsonian Institution, and much more, with people from the scientific community all around the world.”