Science & Art: 'Ocean Gems' Exhibition
Underwater Photography by Marine Biologist On Display September-October
By Angela Wampler | June 25, 2008"Ocean Gems: Gems of the Sea," featuring underwater photography by Dr. Diane R. Nelson, will be on display Sept. 20-Oct. 19, 2008.
Dr. Nelson has devoted her life to the exploration and understanding of nature's complex patterns and delicate balances. She is an award-winning underwater photographer and Professor Emerita of Biological Sciences, who retired in May 2003 after 35 years of service at ETSU. Led by a desire to capture and record the organisms that she studied, she began to utilize underwater photographic techniques in her research.
She says, "The oceans of the world have been a source of fascination and inspiration for humans for millennia. Often described as an alien world bursting with a multi-colored display of life, the oceans and seas of our planet are natural wonders."
When asked, "How can you be a marine biologist and live in Tennessee?" Dr. Nelson's answer is, "I go to the ocean to do my research and underwater photography, as often as possible. Born and raised in Tennessee, the mountains have always been my home, but when the ocean calls my name, I must go — if only for a short while. Sometimes I think it's salt water that runs in my veins. There is peace and serenity and a feeling of belonging when I am diving in the sea. My camera allows me to bring back a piece of that world and to share it with those willing to learn."
Although she is "officially" retired from ETSU, Nelson teaches Marine Biology occasionally at ETSU and is Curator of Invertebrates and Science Education Consultant for the Natural History Museum at the Gray Fossil Site.
Many of Nelson's photographs have been donated to the permanent collection of ETSU's Carroll Reece Museum and sold to benefit the Reece Museum and the ETSU Honors Program.
Nelson's exhibit at the fossil site will contain never-before-seen photos that will also be used to create a 16-month calendar. Her photography already appears in other calendars (1998 and 2002-2003), which have received numerous regional and state awards. Proceeds from the sale of these calendars go toward a scholarship fund to bring low-income school children to visit the fossil site.
In addition, Dr. Nelson will teach "Shark School" in September (details to come). For the past 15 years, Nelson has conducted research on fish behaviors with Dr. Eugenie Clark (National Geographic's "Shark Lady," Professor Emerita at the University of Maryland, and Senior Research Scientist at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida). These studies have included whale sharks in the Sea of Cortez, sand tilefish in Belize, gobies in the Red Sea, and triggerfish, poisonous catfish, and convict fish in the Solomon Islands and Papua, New Guinea.
"There is peace and serenity and a feeling of belonging when I am diving
in the sea. My camera allows me to bring back a piece of that world and
to share it with those willing to learn."
— Dr. Diane R. Nelson, curator of Invertebrates and Science Education
Consultant for the Natural History Museum at the Gray Fossil Site
READ ON about Science & Art:
— Previous Exhibitions: "Artistic R-evolution," "Earth Permanence," and "Orders of Magnitude"
— Get "The Scoop on Poop" and other activities for a variety of ages.
— Inside the Museum: "Symbiosis"
— Back to main story: Science & Art: Creative Partners.
This jeweled sea star with yellow/orange bumps and red reticulation was photographed by Nelson in Fiji in the Pacific Ocean.
The eye and forehead hump of a curious male giant Maori (or Napolean) wrasse photographed by Nelson in the Maldive Islands in the Indian Ocean.