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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Chasing Ghosts

Chasing Ghosts

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Wednesday, July 31, 2019/Categories: natural history, wildlife conservation, video, sustainability, art and design, environment, adventure

                                                Ghost Orchid (credit: Wikicommons, Mick Fournier)

In 2014, master photographer James Balog demonstrated the use of time-lapse, digital cameras in the documentary film, Chasing Ice. His pioneering work with camera traps visually showcased the consequences of environmental changes induced by increases of heat-trapping greenhouse gases on the Earth's frozen regions. Since then, other field researchers and photographers have adapted these specialized camera systems to peer into a myriad of other ecosystems. Real-world situations from tracking wildlife migrations, detecting animal behavior patterns, to following illegal logging and deforestation have been revealed.

Just released, an exciting use of camera traps was applied to solve a botanical puzzle in a dense swamp. A team of researchers and conservation photographers set out to identify potential pollinators of the rare, Ghost Orchid (Dendrophylax lindenii) found only in Florida and Cuba. For three summers, they withstood alligator/snake-infested waters, swarming mosquitoes, and required mountaineering gear to climb five-story tall Cyprus trees in their quest to find the native orchids. Besides their perseverance perservence to solve a botanical and ecological enigma, the three explorers developed a love and appreciation for these wild wetlands. Their surprising discoveries may help to conserve both the endangered plant and its shrinking, flooded forests.

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