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"Jellyfish Burger"

A "jellyfish burger," a reflection on the increase of jellyfish populations worldwide

"Jellyfish Burger," by Jennifer Jacquet, University of British Columbia, Canada, and digital artist Dave Beck, Clarkson University.

Fast-food diners don't expect stringy tentacles or a gelatinous blob when they bite into their burger. But Jacquet, a marine scientist, and Beck created an illustration that uses this absurd, grotesque creature--the jellyfish--to make their point: Overfishing and climate change have significant consequences for marine ecosystems. As the numbers of larger fish dwindle and ocean temperatures rise, the sea becomes more and more ideal for these floating creatures, Jacquet says.

To illustrate the idea, Beck set up a fake burger shoot with buns, tomatoes and lettuce from the market. He then digitally added a computer-generated jellyfish, adjusting it for just the right amount of rubbery gooeyness. "I wanted it to be both funny and scary," Beck says.

This image won Honorable Mention in the Illustration category of the 2009 International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge (SciVis) competition, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the journal Science. The competition is held each year to celebrate the grand tradition of science visualization and to encourage its continued growth. The spirit of the competition is to communicate science, engineering and technology for education and journalistic purposes. To learn more about the competition and view all the winning entries, see the NSF SciVis Special Report. (Date of Image: 2009)

Credit: David Beck, Clarkson University, and Jennifer Jacquet, University of British Columbia

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