Friday, July 15, 2011

Oceans in Distress

Artist’s can play an integral role in the raising of the public consciousness through advocacy. Art can be used to communicate complex ecological and scientific principles to an audience outside of the confines of the academy or science museum. Enclosed are works which focus on Oceans in Distress through industrialization and climate change.


Filter feeding fish as the Atlantic Menhaden and Herring family provide an ecological service for the oceans. Historically the herring family of fish migrated in monolithic schools from the Gulf of Mexico to Maine. Schools spanned a mile across. As they swam they filtered phytoplankton from the water reducing the growth of algae, clarifying the water and purging suspended detritus from the coastal waters. This ecological vacuuming reduced turbidity and ameliorated dead zones caused by runoff from farms, phosphorous and nitrogen rich wastewater, and fertilizers from golf courses and suburban lawns. The menhaden and herring filtered out the algae blooms caused by the excessive nitrogen and phosphorous before the algae mats blocked the sunlight and sank to the bottom creating dead zones. The menhaden and herring cleansed the surface and estuarine waters with such efficiency that beneficial estuarine plants as eelgrass thrived. These sea grasses supported biodiverse nurseries of shellfish and juvenile fish. Oysters filtered impurities from the seabed floor thereby clarifying and purifying the deeper zones of water. The menhaden and herring family of fish are the base for the pelagic food chain from bluefish to striped bass to tuna, dolphins and whales. Factory fishing with spotter planes and efficient boats that encircle entire schools with nets have all but wiped out the prolific schools of menhaden along the Atlantic coast. The loss of the schools of filter feeding fish has created a broken trophic cascade with plummeting populations of predatory fish and an influx of invasive and destructive species as jellyfish, which fill the ecological niche abandoned by the overfished menhaden and herring family. Without the menhaden filtering the phytoplankton from the water, algae blooms are common occurrences within the estuaries and bays and coastal dead zones are expanding.

The Last Migration © Joseph Ingoldsby- Landscape Mosaics- All Rights Reserved

Anadromous Awakening

Anadromous Awakening- Rainbow Smelt © Joseph Ingoldsby, Landscape Mosaics
All Rights Reserved

Anadromous Awakening- River Herring © Joseph Ingoldsby, Landscape Mosaics
All Rights Reserved

Anadromous Awakening- American Shad © Joseph Ingoldsby, Landscape Mosaics
All Rights Reserved


In Memoriam- Gulf of Mexico- MMX © Joseph Ingoldsby, Landscape Mosaics
All Rights Reserved


In the last 60 years, the oceans have become industrialized and polluted with shipping traffic noise, sonar and militarization to the detriment of the social whales who communicate over long distances with each other using the acoustic properties of water for their song. The increased noise pollution has affected the ability of the whales to communicate and has disrupted their migrations, socializing and health. The critically endangered North Atlantic Right Whale's song travels only tens of miles. The Humpback Whale's song travels hundreds of miles. The blue whales song travels thousands of miles. Noise pollution bleaches the acoustic properties of the water and deafens the whales to their pods calls.


  1. Thanks a lot for this great informative post....