Photography by Clark Morgan, graduate student, FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute

Painted with Primary Productivity

Student Highlights Human Impacts

With a bird’s-eye view, graduate student Clark Morgan photographed the intersection of natural and human forces by highlighting the turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean next to the polluted, nutrient-packed inshore waters of the Indian River Lagoon. With this image, he won the In-the-Field student category for the 2021 annual Art of Science photography contest, hosted by FAU’s Division of Research.

Morgan, a graduate student at the FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, captured the aerial image with his drone. While he often searches for wildlife, like sharks and large schools of fish, the poor water quality that day at meant he couldn’t see below the surface, he said. “I used it as an opportunity for a creative challenge. I focused instead on the colors created by the mixing of water bodies driven by the outgoing tide,” Morgan said.

Dedicated to conservation efforts, Morgan hopes that his imagery can provide awareness and inspiration of positive action toward the environment and bridge the gap between public perception and science. “I believe photography is one of mankind's most significant inventions, as it provides a means to share perspectives across a priceless platform: reality,” he said. “I have never felt more compelled or empowered to address conservation issues.”

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