Intimate Portraits of Bees

Researchers take advantage of photography technology developed by the U.S. Army to capture beautiful portraits of bees native to North America.

Photography by Sam Droege, USGS


Intimate Portraits of Bees and other insects from the USGS bee inventory and monitoring lab.

Photography by Sam Droege via National Geographic. These pictures were taken using technology developed for the US Army, so that soldiers could identify insects and determine if they were disease-carrying. 

Droege will dry and prepare a dead bee specimen, which can be smaller than a half a grain of rice, for photographing. A macro lens is equipped with a slider to take several pictures in a row with different focuses. Then, the images are combined to one image in which all parts are in-focus, and dust and the stand are photoshopped out. The detail is enhanced but the colors are not–that color is real.

See more at Droege’s flickr.
Obama administration greenlights 500 oil drilling leases in the Arctic. Sparks fierce reactions:

Drilling will commence summer 2012 in the Chuckchi Sea, where Alaska and Russia meet. Environmental groups fume. Shell pleased. Rare species at risk.

Here is a round up:

  • Approves former President Bush’s stalled plans to drill in Arctic
  • Earth Justice sues
  • Native Alaskans are pissed: “We have a right to life, to physical integrity, to security, and the right to enjoy the benefits of our culture. For this, we will fight, and this is why we have gone to court today. Our culture can never be bought or repaired with money. It is priceless,” Caroline Cannon, president of the Native Village of Point Hope, said in a press release.
  • Shell Oil is pleased
  • Crude prices drop
  • Pew Center blasts Obama for politics over science stance, issues white paper
  • University of Texas receives $5.6 million grant to study “safe oil extraction” without disturbing wildlife/ecosystems
  • Home to thousands of rare species including bowhead, beluga, narwhals, and grey whales; ice, bearded, ribbon, and spotted seals; polar bears; puffins, auklets, sea ducks, and penguins; and cod, sharks, and eels.
  • NASA reports sea-ice 2nd lowest levels ever recorded in the Chuckchi/Arctic
  • National Snow & Ice Data Center: 40% lower than average ice extent - a loss the size of California, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington states combined

California sea otter numbers are up, according to the latest population survey conducted by researchers, including those from the Aquarium. The reasons: more pups — and the addition of San Nicolas Island otters to the count. Since the 1980s, scientists have calculated populations for the southern sea otter, a threatened species in California. For 2013, USGS lists the population as 2,941. To be considered for removal from threatened status, it would need to exceed 3,090 for three consecutive years.There’s more to be done!  

Learn more.