this week in biodiversity….

I’ve come across some pretty fantastic biocreative material about biodiversity this week. The first I found through the Center For Biological Diversity’s facebook feed, which was created last year by graduate students at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology with hand-drawn artwork by Marley Davis:

©2011 by graduate students Laurel Hiebert and Kira Treibergs with artwork by Marley Jarvis (

“This all started when two graduate students, Laurel Hiebert and Kira Treibergs, were late-night tidepooling on the Oregon coast. They came across some amazing animals, such as a tiny sea spider, a carnivorous chiton, and a brittle star hidden beneath a boulder. They were talking about how invertebrates represent 97% of all animal diversity, but are greatly underrepresented by humankind. Originally, they thought that this would make a great message for a t-shirt for their marine lab, the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology. Then an idea hit them suddenly: “Octopi Wall Street” – it seemed a perfect analogy for this cause. They put together a shirt design for the marine lab’s t-shirt contest with this message. But, soon after that, it went even further. After posting their design on Facebook, it quickly became clear that people all over the country (and world) supported this cause: vertebrates steal the spotlight and the 97% deserve recognition. A PHYLOGENETIC REVOLUTION HAS BEGUN!”

Now, not to overshadow or under-appreciate the invertebrates (hey, I let them go first today!), the second piece is from in celebration of the 7,000th described species of amphibian. This song, by The Wiggly Tendrils, sings some cool facts about many different species of amphibians. The Atlantic even picked it up in an article yesterday. And, I’m so excited that it features the name of my dissertation study species: Eurycea sosorum!

Finally (and I wish I could find a higher res image and a credit for this image), I really enjoyed this poster on the biodiversity of Mexico. It’s just overflowing with incredible diversity of all types of organisms!

What other great biodiversity images have you found!?

International Science + Engineering Visualization Challenge!

“Science and Engineering’s Most Powerful Statements are Not Made From Words Alone”

Well, here at the biocreativity blog, we couldn’t agree more! That means it’s time for the National Science Foundation and Science Magazine‘s 2012 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge. This year’s Challenge opened on June 1st, to celebrate “the grand tradition of science visualization and to encourage its continued growth”. Since 2003, this contest has gathered some of the best scientific visualizations including photography, illustration, posters + graphics, video and now games + apps from an international pool of artist-scientists.

Microbe vs. Mineral – A Life and Death Struggle in the Desert. Credit: Michael P. Zach, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. 2009 Honorable Mention.

“Some of science’s most powerful statements are not made in words. From DaVinci’s Vitruvian Man to Rosalind Franklin’s X-rays, science visualization has a long and literally illustrious history. To illustrate is to enlighten! Illustrations provide the most immediate and influential connection between scientists and other citizens, and the best hope for nurturing popular interest. They are a necessity for public understanding of research developments.” -NSF International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge


The Glass Forest. Credit: Mario De Stefano, The Second University of Naples. 2008 First Place Photography.

Do you have a great science visualization you’d like to enter? The Challenge is open until September 28th, and you can make your entry via the online entry form!

Art.Science.Gallery. is here!

After months of blogging and meeting some amazing people and artist-scientists, I’ve been hard at work on opening a physical space that embodies this blog. I am so excited to announce the next big adventure here at the biocreativity blog: Art.Science.Gallery., LLC is finally here! While I’m still looking for the perfect physical location for the gallery, I’m really excited to be collaborating with some other spaces to present some really excellent science-related art. Our first exhibition opened this past weekend featuring the sustainable art of one of my past ECO Art + Science artists Emily Bryant!  If you recall, Bryant creates intricate collages of invasive insect species out of pressed and dried invasive plant materials to help educate others about the risks associated with invasive species. We’re collaborating with the South Corridor Gallery @ First Presbyterian Church of Austin on the exhibition, and extend our sincerest thanks (especially to gallery manager Laurie Nelson) for the opportunity to share their space!

So what is Art.Science.Gallery.? Well, it’s a new art gallery, science communication training center and (soon-to-be) event space featuring science-related art in Austin, Texas! Our mission is to provide a friendly environment to make science more accesible to the public through science-related visual arts exhibitions, foster the careers of emerging and established artist-scientists and to provide professional development opportunities for scientists to become more engaging public communicators.

Here’s a little bit more about us:

We reject the idea that one must be categorized as either an “artist” or a “scientist”, and welcomes anyone along a great spectrum of artists and scientist to explore and participate in Art.Science.Gallery.! Both those educated as “artists” and as “scientists” are trained to seek out novelty and contribute to their fields in new and exciting ways. We think those people who can innovatively blend the two disciplines have the best chance of improving art, science and social literacy around the world. One reason we opened Art.Science.Gallery. is to give these artist-scientists a platform through which to present their work and perspective from their place on the biocreativity continuum. As public funding for the arts and sciences continues to decrease, it is increasingly important to provide accessible multidisciplinary content that engages public audiences in these subjects. So, Art.Science.Gallery. encourages people of all ages to explore contemporary art and basic science in a fun and relaxed environment.

Indeed, the Scientific American blog Symbiartic recently evaluated the growing science art movement, measuring its strength via the size of ScienceArtists FriendFeed (a multi-blog feed of many dozens of science-related art and artist blogs, of which the biocreativity blog is a part). This new science-art aesthetic seems to be testing the boundaries of both art and science to establish itself as its own field; a beautiful hybrid between art and science that once existed during Ernst Haeckel’s, Charles Darwin’s and John James Audubon’s times. Art.Science.Gallery. seeks to further this movement by directly fostering art-science collaborations and by featuring the work of both emerging and established contemporary artist-scientists.

Art.Science.Gallery. will also serve as a hub for art-science collaborations and science communication training. We believe all scientists – especially those whose work is supported by public funds and/or at public institutions – have a responsibility to communicate their work effectively to the public. Unfortunately, relatively few colleges and universities offer specific training to their students in science communication. We will soon be offering training courses and workshops for scientists to help them become more engaging and creative public communicators as well as fun hands-on science-art classes for the public!

So, I think you can tell I’m pretty excited about this, but that doesn’t mean that the biocreativity blog is going anywhere (and maybe now you can see why I haven’t posted as often the last couple of months)! Stay tuned for some new posts from scenic Colorado, as I’m traveling there for the next two weeks and plan to tell you all about Christo + Jeanne-Claude’s Over the River Project and some biocreative selections from the Denver Art Museum.

If you’d like to join the Art.Science.Gallery. mailing list, please click on the image below. You can also find us on and follow us on Twitter @artscigallery. And, feel free to help us spread the word!