In Onward: Searching for Life in Iceland’s Frigid Fissures, National Geographic grantee and biology researcher Jónína Ólafsdóttir goes diving in search of tiny arthropods in the underwater volcanic fissures of Iceland’s Thingvellir National Park. She is joined by NatGeo multimedia journalists Spencer Millsap and Dan Stone.
“When I started doing this research, I was amazed that no one had ever done it before,” she said one morning earlier this week as we drove to her favorite dive site. Iceland has a lot of research questions related to biology and geology that have never been answered, let alone even asked. “Iceland is a really great place for a scientist with an explorer’s heart,” she says…
Ecologists are often asked why they might study one particular animal, especially a small one that has little impact on humans. Jónína’s answer goes like this: humanity might never be dependent on microscopic arthropods but understanding how animals work together, how they depend on each other holds lots more clues about an area’s environmental history—and its future. At the top of the world, seeing how species change and adapt may indicate what happens as the climate changes around the world.
Read more about Ólafsdóttir's research at National Geographic, and check out more scuba diving videos in the archives.
Polar Bears Eat Goose Eggs in the Arctic’s summer months, but now scientists are studying how melting sea ice might affect the bears’ eating habits in the years to come. Will more eggs be on their menu? Utah State University Ph.D candidate David Iles narrates this remote camera footage from Western Hudson Bay near Churchill, Manitoba, as we watch polar bears find these high-calorie snacks (and a few of the birds that laid them):
“In terms of snow geese there’s 50,000 pairs out there, and that could be quite a substantial benefit to polar bears that do happen to take advantage of them,” he continued. “But what we don’t yet know is how often that overlap happens, what types of bears are taking advantage, and what it could mean for both polar bears and waterfowl.”
There are more details about the balance of these animals and the changing ecosystem that they share in this corresponding National Geographic article.
Related bears-on-hidden-camera fun: What goes on when you are not there.
The size of a human fingernail, this tiny glass frog in Costa Rica is a wonder to watch. In this clip from the Discovery Channel’s Speed of Life, you can see the glass frog’s rice grain-sized, red heart and internal organs through its translucent belly skin.
Costa Rica has 13 species of glass frogs, and there are more than 100 species across Central and South America. However, because they are small, arboreal, nocturnal, and can live in extreme, wet areas, they can be hard to spot. Luckily, we have the internet:
Via National Geographic, this is Ecuador’s Hyalinobatrachium pellucidum glass frog.
There are more frogs and more videos about camouflage in the archives.
A huge baby Sperm Whale swimming alone in sunlit waters while its mother dives deep into the dark ocean for food. However, the baby isn’t as alone as it seems; he can hear his mother’s familiar sonar clicks from a quarter of a mile below him. From National Geographic, a baby Sperm Whale swims solo.
Watch more amazing whale videos.
Thanks, Annie and Adrian.
To be the winner of a sumo bout, you have forced your opponent to either step out of the ring or touch the ground with some part of their body that is not the bottom of their feet. From National Geographic, watch this introduction to the Japanese sport of Sumo, a professional wrestling tradition exclusive to Japan.
More videos about culture are in the archives, including one of our favorites, New Zealand’s Haka Dance.