SPEAKER 1: This is a production of Cornell University Library.
MARY OCHS: We still have some folks coming in, but I guess I'll go ahead and get started. I'm Mary Ochs. I'm the director of Mann Library. And I'm delighted to welcome you today to our third Chats in the Stacks book talk of the fall semester, which features Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Drew Harvell, and her book Sea of Glass, Searching for the Blaschkas' Fragile Legacy in an Ocean at Risk, which was published by the University of California Press earlier this year.
The book talk officially opens Mann's Fall 2016 Exhibit Program, Exploring a Sea of Glass, which takes a big cue from Professor Harvell's work to celebrate the art, science, and history that's embodied in the exquisite glass artistry of 19th century glass sculptors, Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka. You'll see this exhibit in several distinct displays on the first and second floors here at Mann Library. And we hope you'll all join us for our exhibit opening reception right after the talk. And that's upstairs in our gallery area, which is basically just above us here, so up on the second floor.
I should also add that this is the first in our year-long program series celebrating scientific expeditions and field work with several more exhibits to come next semester. And we hope you'll have the opportunity to come back for those. So today, it's my great pleasure to introduce Dr. Drew Harvell.
Having earned her PhD at the University of Washington, Dr. Harvell came to Cornell in 1986. On campus, students know Dr. Harvell as the teacher who leads the Marine Ecosystem Sustainability, and Invertebrate Biology courses and, in the spring semester, co-teaches the course that takes them on an amazing experience of conservation oceanography in Hawaii and a research-intensive program along the coast of the Pacific Northwest. In the lab and in the field, the focus of Drew's research is on host-pathogen interactions and the sustainability of marine ecosystems, which takes her from the reefs of Mexico, Indonesia, and Hawaii to the Pacific Northwest.
Through this work, which has been published widely in over 140 academic journals, the New York Times, and other national media, Dr. Harvell has become one of our country's leading experts in the complex, diverse ways that the Earth's marine ecosystems are being restructured in the warming climate of the 21st century. She is a fellow of the Ecological Society of America and the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, a winner of the Society of American Naturalists' Jasper Loftus-Hills Award, and a lead author of the Oceans chapter in the US Climate Change Assessment.
I understand that Drew is already diving into preparations for her next book, which will present more of her findings about marine life pathogens and their impact on the marine ecosystems in our 21st century world. But for the next hour or so, we have the pleasure of learning a little about the inspiration and insights that she derives from the work of the extraordinary pair of glass artists whose sculptures first introduced aspiring marine biologists to the breathtaking diversity of the world's oceans over 150 years ago. Please join me in welcoming Drew Harvell.
DREW HARVELL: Well, thank you for all coming out. It was kind of not such a great day today. And I was thinking maybe everybody would stay home by their fires. But it's a hardy crew.
I first want to begin by thanking Mary and her incredible team at Mann Library. This has been a long partnership. They first helped us develop a website for the Blaschka project and then are exhibiting some of our Blaschka glass here.
And then Eveline and Mary and their team have put together a beautiful exhibition upstairs. So I'm very appreciative and excited. Yes, thank you.
Pretty wonderful thing. It's a pleasure to talk to you today about the new book that I have out. And also, we have a film. So this will be a multimedia presentation. I'll talk a little bit about the book and then show you some of the film.
So the whole reason for this being such a-- kind of an engaging, ever-deepening obsession almost with me is the way that art can translate nature and allow us to communicate about biodiversity. And this is true for all kinds of art. But the Blaschka pieces are even more special because they honor every detail of invertebrate form.
So for example, this is a very-- kind of a simple invertebrate, a hydrozoa. And yet, the Blaschkas decided to make this a masterpiece in glass. And so not only is it beautiful but it captures the detail of the living animal.
And so I've been kind of using the glass to awaken interest in science. And it's kind of given me a platform for conservation messages. So that's kind of the goal of this book, in addition to talking about the Blaschkas, is in each of the different chapters to tell a different message about the ocean and particular ecological threats.
Just to give you an example, this is a slideshow that Scientific American put online. And they chose to talk about ocean acidification and the part in the book that uses the glass invertebrates to mirror the plight of some of their living representatives in nature and how they are affected by increasing levels of acidity in the ocean. And so I was really pleased to see that.
This is another example. This is a complete reprinting or a serialization of the last chapter in the book that Natural History produced. And the last chapter of the book talks about which of the living invertebrates are actually in some kind of danger. And there's quite a few of them, for example, in the Mediterranean that have undergone mass mortality through warming events. And so I've been able to use these kind of as an example of teaching about these situations in the ocean.
But really, the very best way to share with you some of those is to show a clip from David O. Brown's film. Now it turns out that he's in the audience today. Maybe he could sort of stand up for a second.
And if I can figure out how to make the transition here, I'm going to show you 20 minutes of it. But I'd like to say that this is a film that we've worked on together for the last five or six years. Yeah.
DAVID O. BROWN: Not long enough.
DREW HARVELL: What I really want you to see is all these laurels here. So David's film has been winning at a lot of film festivals. And I'm really proud of him for producing such an incredible film. All right. Let's see how we get into this guy now.
- Imagine a shape. Imagine a color. Imagine virtually any form that life might assume, and you'll find it in the ocean. The sea is home to living diversity that transcends imagination, diversity that has inspired our creativity and intellect since we first became human.
In 1853, Master Glass Artisan Leopold Blaschka was sailing from Europe to the United States. The wind died off the Azores, leaving the ship becalmed for two weeks. Jellyfish and other creatures moving past the rail entranced Leopold. He drew them, determined to later capture the shining essence of the creatures in glass.
Marine Biologist Drew Harvell curates a collection of Blaschka glass masterpieces at Cornell University, where she's a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
- I have spent my life studying these details of invertebrate form and function. And it continues to amaze me some of the details that I learn from looking at the models.
- The Blaschka models were crafted, not just for aesthetics, but to accurately represent individual species. Each color and shape, from red tentacle to blue eye spot, represents underlying biology. Every living form has function, many essential to the survival of the species. And each species has a role in maintaining a healthy ocean.
- Having intact biodiversity in our marine ecosystems provides proper functioning of those ecosystems and also insurance against environmental change.
- Leopold Blaschka would have had difficulty imagining the changes to come to the ocean over the next century and a half. We've exponentially expanded human population, knowledge, and capabilities. But in the process, we've put the living diversity of the ocean at risk.
The Blaschka models provide a time capsule to measure the ocean of today against that of Leopold's time. As complex and delicate as the glass models are, the living things they represent and the ecosystems these organisms are part of are infinitely more so. Now scientists, artists, policymakers, everyone has a brief window of opportunity to take the knowledge and tools that we've acquired since Blaschka's time and apply our collective imagination to protecting this priceless fragile legacy.
Leopold's son, Rudolph, born in 1857, was raised in a glassmaking tradition called lampworking.
- Lampworking goes back about 2,500 years. And it's a pretty simple technology. The Blaschka family actually dates back to about the 13th century as makers of glass in Venice.
When Leopold Blaschka moved his family to Dresden, he took on a new career. He moved from costume jewelry and making glass eyes to making these beautiful models of flowers and marine invertebrates. He took lampworking skills to heights of proficiency and expertise and beauty that had never been reached before and have never been reached since.
- Rudolf Blaschka and his father, Leopold Blaschka, are two of the greatest glass artist/makers makers to ever walk the face of the Earth.
- The 1800s were years of great interest in natural history, offering the Blaschkas a profitable means of indulging their passion for modeling marine organisms. Naturalist explorers, such as Charles Darwin, were expanding and fundamentally altering humanity's perception of the natural world. Their discoveries were shared in museums and universities being founded throughout the Americas and Europe, such as in what is now the National Museum of Ireland.
- Well, the key thing for us with the Blaschka collection is it allowed the curator in the 1870s to start filling all the gaps in between the various other animals that were on display. Because glass models allow you to put on display both microscopic animals that are blown up to a much larger scale but also a lot of soft-bodied organisms, particularly marine creatures that don't preserve properly. And if you want to show the majesty of the color and the full shape of a bell of a medusa in motion, you have to do that through model-making.
- In 1882, Andrew Dickson White, the first president of Cornell University, authorized purchase of over 570 Blaschka models for use in teaching marine biology. Fast forward to the 1950s. Advances in transportation allow students of the marine sciences more direct access to ocean environments. The Aqua-Lung enables people to bring cameras and lights underwater, experiences shared widely via television. Cornell's Blaschka models, apparently obsolete as teaching tools, are forgotten.
In 1957, a young faculty member named Thomas Eisner happens on the collection and moves it to the renowned Corning Museum of Glass for safekeeping. For the next three decades, these glass squid, jellyfish, and other creations lie in storage. When Dr. Harvell joins the Cornell faculty in 1986, she champions restoring and using the antique Blaschka collection to engage people in marine science and conservation.
- It really is a spineless tree of life from the lowest, most basal or primitive forms like the sponges and the ctenophores through all of the jellyfish, corals, moving then up to the mollusks, sea slugs, the octopus and squid. We're finding that this collection really is a lens through which people can look at the living biodiversity and open their eyes to the wonder.
- Given the fragility of the glass, another type of lens is needed to widely share these remarkable creations. Filmmaker David Brown documents undersea wildlife of all kinds and sees this as an opportunity to focus attention on creatures that are often ignored.
- It's the little things that they got so beautifully, the nudibranchs, the jellyfish, little cephalopods, things that most people just don't ever really pay attention to.
- The quest here is to go back and film the living biodiversity that underlies our glass pieces. This was a quest that arose one night when I was giving a talk. David came up and said, hey, let's make a film. Let's go back and look for the living representatives and actually see whether this time capsule idea can show us changes in the biodiversity through time.
- In today's high-speed, high-tech world, perhaps these hand-crafted creations from another time can still help inspire people to act on behalf of the ocean. To be effective ambassadors for their living counterparts, the Blaschka glass sea creatures need to be in good condition.
- Over the last 25 years, we've been restoring the collection. My partner in this has been Elizabeth Brill.
- The Blaschkas made the different parts of the animal, and then they glued them together. The legs are made independently and then twisted together with some wire in the middle. Then the head is put on. The eyes are put on, and then the webbing material is put on.
- Though damaged, the glass vulgaris is a beautiful sculpture. And the team makes documentation of the living animal a top priority.
- This is a mystery to me. [INAUDIBLE]
- Time takes its toll on the Blaschka creations. And conservators at the Corning Museum of Glass employ their extensive expertise and every available technology to stabilize parts of the Cornell collection. As the glass animals have lain protected in climate controlled storage, the ocean home of the organisms they represent is changing at an unprecedented rate. Overfishing, pollution, and coastal development have a tremendous impact on marine species and ecosystems.
Decades of fossil fuel combustion had tons of CO2 to the atmosphere, trapping heat. And the sea is warming. The ocean is also absorbing CO2, rendering the water increasingly acidic, making it difficult for some marine life to build shells. Through our amazing inventiveness, we've accidentally triggered an extinction crisis.
Drew works on the front lines of scientific inquiry aimed at keeping the ocean healthy. Her research and teaching takes her all over the world. And the team sets out to document Blaschka organisms and their relatives wherever her work takes her, beginning in Hawaii.
- There's going to always be at least one of you that's going to want to get as close to the water as possible.
- They find and film ambassadors of several groups represented in Cornell's Blaschka collection, including brittle star, flatworms, and sea cucumbers. They don't find octopus vulgaris, the so-called common octopus. But close relatives provide two highlights of the expedition. Drew's first close encounter with an octopus is on a night dive off Hawaii's Big Island where they filmed the ornate octopus, octopus ornatus.
- It's been this Blaschka project that's exposed me to cephalopods. And it has just been the best adventure, the most exciting privilege for me to spend time with these animals underwater.
- A Hawaiian dawn brings another cephalopod, this time the day octopus, octopus cyanea. As both predator and prey in oceanic food webs, cephalopods use incredible camouflage, dexterity, and intelligence to survive. The cyanea blasts a cloud of ink in an attempt to confuse Drew. She gives the octopus its space until it calms down, allowing her a closer look. Though while cousins, neither of these are an exact match to Cornell's octopus vulgaris.
The Shoals Marine Laboratory off the New England coast run by Cornell and the University of New Hampshire is a well-equipped marine research station. It's also one of Drew's summer teaching sites. And the team takes advantage of the opportunity to film some of the smaller organisms that are matches to Blaschka glass.
Tubularia is a relative of the jellyfish, while botryllus is a sea squirt. But again, the common octopus is nowhere to be found. They do find a tiny, delicate species of sea slug, or nudibranch, called facelina bostoniensis. Nudibranchs are remarkable in both appearance and behavior. And Drew's most remote work site holds a dazzling array of these beautiful creatures.
Indonesia, part of the coral triangle, is the most biologically diverse undersea environment on Earth. David's video lights punctuate the bizarre and beautiful forms and colors of the night reef. On one night dive, the team is surprised by swarms of palolo worms, another creature of the Blaschkas' model, emerging from the sea floor in an annual spawning event. On the last night dive of the Indonesia trip, they add another species of cephalopod to the growing archive of footage, this time a stumpy cuttlefish. Until very recently, the general public would have rarely, if ever, encountered this tiny, reclusive creature.
At the Monterey Bay Aquarium, modern technology coupled with today's knowledge of biology and chemistry has resulted in successful captive breeding and display of stumpy cuttlefish and a variety of other marine life. This wouldn't have been possible even a few decades ago. It's an example of the speed at which we're progressing in both knowledge of biology and technological capability.
In Monterey, the living inspirations for many of Blaschkas' models thrive in artificial environments, allowing people to see living pieces of marine ecosystems from around the world. But as wonderfully presented as these pieces are, they are still only fragments of the tapestry that makes up ocean ecosystems in the wild. These ecosystems are experiencing extreme stress as complex checks and balances that have evolved over a millennia shift in response to rapid change in the sea.
David takes a crew to the Mediterranean in search of more matches to Cornell's Blaschka glass models. It's a key location to find and film the real things.
- Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka collected a lot of their specimens in the Mediterranean Sea.
- Overfishing, pollution, and onshore development have all taken their toll on the cradle of Western civilization. David selects two marine-protected areas in southern Spain to explore, hoping that they've provided sanctuary for undersea life. The team finds a rich assortment of many matches to Blaschka models. Every dive reveals colorful nudibranchs, cryptic cephalopods, and graceful anemones.
They explore a shipwreck that went down in 1855, about the time that Leopold Blaschka was on his ocean voyage. The Isabella, a two-masted brig was carrying a load of marble when she sank in a storm. She carried a tombstone that was never delivered, testament to an era in which the ship was lost. The wreck is coated in Mediterranean feather duster worms and snakelocks anemones, both subjects of Blaschka models.
A cuttlefish, also a Blaschka match, is perched in the sand as if waiting to guide them over the exposed timbers of the deck. In the protected Mediterranean locations, the team at last encounters the common octopus, a perfect match to the glass specimen at Cornell. Nearly every dive yields an encounter with at least one of these intriguing creatures.
Back in New York, Elizabeth Brill has clean Cornell's vulgaris. The body is cracked. And one eye was found loose in the bottom of the box in which it was stored. She gently installs the eye, but the larger crack is not fixable without further analysis. Drew and Elizabeth carefully add the partially restored glass model to the display case.
People of the Blaschkas' time were largely unaware of the dangers posed by technologies to come, dazzled by the wonders the modern age offered. The fossil fuel powered Industrial Revolution dramatically increased our ability to travel, to explore, and to communicate, paving the way for the digital revolution that continues to transform our lives. Fossil fuel combustion has also altered the temperature and chemistry of the sea. We're in a race between our newfound capabilities and the long-term damage that has been done to our biosphere. Change is the basis of natural selection, a process that most creatures can only respond to within instinct.
We're different, able to calculate, predict, plan, and innovate. We now have more trained and creative minds available to use our remarkable tools than ever before. The quest to document the living treasures upon which the works of the Blaschkas are based has just begun. But the results to date are encouraging.
There is still so much life, so much hope. It will take every mind, every hand, every heart, and all of our collective imagination. But we can-- we must imagine our way to a sustainable future for the ocean, ourselves, and generations to come.
DREW HARVELL: Well, thanks. I hope you all enjoyed that. It's such a privilege to have a film like that to be able to show that tells the story. And we're not finished.
Our goal-- he's shaking his head. Our goal is to go back and develop a 60-minute version of this that will be filmed in even higher resolution footage than this one. So this is the 20-minute version of the 30-minute one. But the project continues.
So now I want to go on and tell you a little bit more about the book because that's why you're here, for a book talk. And the way I've organized the book is a series of chapters. And each chapter is focused on a particular group of the models that the Blaschkas specialized in, so the anemones and corals, the rise of the glass-spun jellies. So the jellies were some of the most beautiful, spectacular of the Blaschka models.
There's a chapter on the sea slugs, which you already saw some of those in the film. And then the final chapter is kind of the summary to discuss, what do we actually know about the impacts to some of these invertebrates? So I kind of want to start with just one of the most complex of our models. This is a siphonophore.
And it's just been restored by Corning Museum of Glass. And I just would like to kind of point out how unbelievably complex these models are. There is actually nobody on the planet who can make a piece like this today. And so technically, there's some capability. But to actually have the mastery of understanding the biology and the nature at the same time, these are just unparalleled works of art.
Now they began by copying some of the taxonomic works of the day. So this is an etching by Gauss. And these were some of the original inspirations. So the Blaschkas started with sea anemones based on the Gauss watercolors.
And this is one of those. And I really love it because this is the glass model here. And then this is the exact living match that we found at my lab at Friday Harbor Labs, so same species, stomphia coccinea.
Now maybe it sounded like a good idea at the start to try to go back and find all of the living matches. The Blaschkas made over 800 of these models. And there's been all kinds of little pitfalls along the way.
One of them is this issue of an exact species match. Because as you can imagine, the species names have changed in about 2/3 of these. So one of the first jobs was to go back and figure out what the modern species names are so that we can find their matches in nature.
And this is a project that my colleague, Jim Morin helped with who's more of a systematist than I. And then we put our students to work researching all these names. So we were able to solve that problem and then go back and find quite a few of these.
The other thing is though, many of them were one species 150 years ago. And now they are three species today. And so it's kind of a continuing challenge.
But anyway, here are some of the beautiful anemones that are in that chapter, including this-- if I can go back-- the snakelocks, which you saw in the film, that David found in the Mediterranean. This is one of the stunning ones that's now on display at Corning Museum of Glass. And then this is Metridium senile. And one of the chapters in the book kind of talks about the hunt for finding this guy underwater. Now it's not that uncommon, but we wanted to find it in its natural habitat at about 60 feet on rock walls in the San Juans looking kind of like this beautiful glass version of it.
And one of the reasons I like to talk about this is not only because it was a pretty exciting dive that we did but also because this species is pretty famous to the Blaschkas. And I just want to read a little bit about the correspondence that we have. So we have hundreds of letters that the Blaschkas wrote to their suppliers, to other scientists like Haeckel. And I'll just tell you about how they actually did this.
Now in the Blaschka work, it's called Actinoloba dianthus, which is now this Metridium. And he reveals in his letter the method of successful shipping. So he's requesting from a marine lab that the animals were packed moist but without seawater in marine algae and then, in 1865, sent through the mail. And so I'm going to just read-- pretty amazing-- an excerpt of his request to Mr. Haeckel [INAUDIBLE] circa July 1880.
Then I request you to send me, when it is possible for you, an amount of fresh plumose anemones, Actinoloba dianthus. These may be big or small, of various color, whatever it is possible. And I prefer the most when they still find themselves on the very same substrate as where they were found. I would love if you would try to send me by mail a number of Actinoloba dry, I mean with no water, only wrapped in moist algae and packed in a can or in a keg. If possible, please add a few Tealia crassicornis as well.
And so we have quite a bit of other descriptions of that as well. So that's that Metridium. So this is another example of using some of these in this first chapter, this group, to talk about issues of climate change.
So there are a number of different kinds of corals in the Blaschka collection. This is a sea fan coral, which is actually the group that my lab has worked on for about 25 years. And then this is another species of coral.
And so this is an article-- a blog that I wrote to kind of popularize and communicate more widely the big impacts we've had from coral bleaching this year. And maybe some of you have heard about this. This is one of the warmest years on record. And it's caused unprecedented impacts on coral reefs. And so again, this was a chance to kind of communicate this more widely.
And these are just some of the other glass models in this group of the corals and the anemones. Some of these are pretty amazing. Soft corals, these are eight-tentacled corals shown here.
The other thing that the Blaschkas did is before every glass model, they did a watercolor. And so we have this-- what I think is an amazing collection of these watercolors that they did. So here's the one that matches that glass one that I just showed.
So this piece is a particular favorite of mine. And the reason I love it is that it shows biologically the linkages between those anemone-like Cnidarians and the jellyfish. And it shows just perfectly that this is the same animal.
And here it's budding off. It's the polyp form that's attached to the bottom. And here it's budding off its medusa or its jellyfish.
And the other thing the Blaschkas did-- this is the original size. So this is the actual size of this critter. It's about that big. And then they made a blow up that's about that big. So they just-- every detail was vital to them.
And then I really love showing this watercolor because it does show really nicely the release of these little jellyfish that are budding off and then how they're released when they go. So remember, they made this as a teaching collection. This was to teach-- and sent to Cornell as an invertebrate biology teaching collection.
The other thing that's really interesting about the Blaschkas is their relationship with the other scientists at the time. So they actually copied quite a few of the Challenger, which is another exhibition here currently ongoing at Mann. So they copied some of Haeckel's Challenger drawings. And what you can see here is one of the matches for that, this rosacea cymbiformis and shown here in the Haeckel original Challenger report.
And I want to just read to you again a couple of the letters between the Blaschkas and Haeckel. So we know from the letters-- and now I'm reading from my book here. We know from the letters that both Leopold and Rudolf wrote to Haeckel that the Blaschkas admired and followed Haeckel work closely.
The influence first appears in some of the Blaschkas' because watercolors of anemones, which copy the exact forms of watercolors by both Haeckel and Philip Henry Gauss. Haeckel included a photograph of a Blaschka glass model in his book Nature as an Artist. So this is a letter written by Leopold Blaschka from Dresden on the 11th of July 1877.
And it reads, Highly esteemed Mr. Professor, after I diligently copied and studied all that was necessary from the books by [? Agassiz ?] and Milne-Edwards that you kindly lent me, I return these to you at the same time by mail and, again, I most kindly thank you for all your obliging complaisance. It enabled me, indeed, to execute my new catalog more completely and only limited to scientific models. Again, most kindly thanking, greeting, and with all respect. Yours devoted, Leopold Blaschka.
And then Rudolf, the son, displays the same respectful, eager charm in his continuing correspondence a few years later. Again, it's highly esteemed sir, on receiving your favor, I thank you most kindly for your pleasing and clarifying answer. Your announcement that you intend to come to Dresden next summer and to visit us as well pleases us very much. And we request you to grant us the honor of your attendance certainly.
Of your splendid work, Das System der Medusen, is the first volume already in our possession. And we do rejoice in being able to order immediately the second volume when it is published. Because your works are, for our aims in replication, both in description and in figures the most excellent and suitable of all books.
And then there's a paragraph of thanking. Again, friendly thanking and hoping that we see you soon in person, I remain with friendly greetings from my father and myself. With most excellent respect, your devoted Rudolf Blaschka.
And so it's just a window into another time. These are not really the kinds of letters that we're writing anymore. But I could spend days reading them.
And then here's another example of, again, the same species. This is a physophora magnifica. Again, that's that most spectacular of glass. And you can see here that same species was found and then documented by Haeckel in his other book, The Developmental History Embryology of the Siphonophores.
The Blaschkas also went on-- and I won't show all these. But they actually made these little developmental sequences. They show in glass-- and you can see them in our building in Corson Hall-- the larval siphonophores and then the developmental sequence all the way through.
Again, these are some of the siphonophores, which were certainly some of the ones the Blaschkas did admire some of the most. And I was going to just-- if I can find this-- I think I've taken my-- so again, the siphonophores, a lot of these are bioluminescent. And one of the original inspirations for this whole project was when Leopold was becalmed at sea.
And again, I'm going to read you just a little bit of his moment of just insight and excitement about these models. We are on a sailing ship in the Atlantic Ocean, immobilized because of the calm. It is a beautiful night in May. Hopefully, we look over the darkness of the sea, which is as smooth as a mirror.
In various places, there emerge all around a flash-like bundle of light beams like thousands of sparks that form true bundles of fire and of other bright lighting spots as if they are surrounded by mirrored stars. Their emerge is close before us, a small spot in a sharp greenish light, which becomes ever larger and larger and finally forms of bright shining sunlight figure. A second one develops, a third, 10, 100.
Bright lighting circles formed strangely formed figures with in-between places in a glowing light. It is as if they wanted to lure the enchanted observer into a realm of fairies. And so they obviously-- Leopold was just so inspired by nature and his experiences with it.
Again, here's a match here of our polyorchis, which is a very common medusa that we have in the San Juan Islands. And here's the watercolor version of that. This was done, actually-- since this is a Cornell group-- this picture was taken by [INAUDIBLE] who was an honor student, a Cornell undergraduate and then went on to become the coordinator for the research apprenticeship program that we run and has done a lot of these beautiful photographs of our Blaschka matches for me.
Again, here's another match. This is a Pelagia noctiluca. Let me just go back. Shown here in the watercolor and then the living one that I found in the Mediterranean when we were there.
It was a little bit of an adventure because my son came with me. We were on a trip already in Italy. And Nathan came along and said, OK, I'll come diving with you.
And so we were kind of hunting around. And then I found these medusae. And I was so excited. I'm like, it's a match. And I'm trying to photograph it.
Meanwhile, Nathan disappears. Is he in the room? I hope he's not here. Nathan disappears. And so I had to kind of truncate my photography to go find him and make sure he was OK. But it was a fun dive, nonetheless.
So again, some of the other jellies. This is one of the really unbelievably complicated ones that some of the glassmakers at Corning have been trying to actually make. They have one that's kind of close to that.
And then I want to show you some of the mollusks, so the snail relatives. Here is, again, an exact match of this species, Doto coronata. This time nudibranch is about that big. OK, so very small and yet intricately produced. The glass model, though, is about that large.
This is one of my favorite matches. Again, this is one that we found at Friday Harbor, the Aeolidia, sometimes called the sea mouse, which eats anemones. And here's just a beautiful match to this in glass. Pretty hard for some of these to tell the difference between the glass and the living invertebrate.
Here are a few more of the nudibranchs. The Blaschkas focused almost entirely on soft-bodied invertebrates. So that would be things like anemones, jellyfish, and these soft-bodied mollusc like the sea slugs.
This is one of the matches that, actually, David and I found when we were in Indonesia. It's just really extravagantly colored nudibranch with these green stripes and orange rhinophores, is what they're called, and these red-twinged gills. Kind of an amazing critter. And then these are just a few of the other nudibranchs that we found on that trip that you saw a little bit of in the film.
And then this, of course, is our model of octopus vulgaris. This is the one that Elizabeth Brill restored. And it's accompanied by a whole range. So one of the fun things for me within this group is just the diversity that the Blaschkas show. So we have all different forms of cephalopods, octopus, cuttlefish, and squid all here shown in glass.
And now these are some of the harder ones to find matches in nature. So we've only found a few of these. But we're continuing to look.
Unfortunately, some of the ways we find them-- I mean, this looks a little grim. But don't be too sad. Because the fact that we find a match like this in a fish store in Italy means that it's pretty common in nature. And so even if we can't go out and see it because it's a deeper species, we know that they're pretty plentiful.
The cool thing about these Italian fish markets, they actually have the species name written right here. So it really made my job easy to go. And our first visit to this fish market, there were about 10 Blaschka matches that were perfectly identified to species. And this glass piece sits in our case over in Corson Hall.
Just a reminder that it's been a pretty big project to restore the glass. So this is the condition that some of them were in like the sea cucumber, pretty dusty and dirty. And then this is what it looked like after it's cleaned up and restored. This one was in a little bit worse shape, but beautifully restored, again, by Elizabeth Brill.
So Cornell has the largest collection in the world. So we have over 570 glass models. And there's still several hundred to be restored. And Corning Museum of Glass has now stepped up to help us and have been restoring, have restored about 100 this year. So we will have our entire collection back.
It's just that beautiful. It's just an unbelievable critter. I haven't seen this one alive in nature. I'd love to see this.
So that ends the formal things that I want to say. But I would really be happy if you had questions. Yeah.
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Cornell University is one of a handful of academic institutions with a collection of breathtakingly beautiful glass invertebrate models created by the 19th century father-son glass-sculpting team, Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka. In her new book, A Sea of Glass (University of California Press, 2016), professor of ecology and evolutionary biology Drew Harvell documents an amazing journey guided by the Blaschka's brilliant artistry.
Working from drawings made in the course of ocean-faring expeditions of the day, over their lifetime the Blaschkas created over 10,000 intricate, life-size sculptures of marine life as it was found in oceans not yet touched by climate change and other large-scale human activity. Over 150 years later, A Sea of Glass takes readers on the voyage of a lifetime, recounting discoveries made in rarely seen underwater environments populated by of some of the most surprising and ancient animals on earth. Harvell's quest: Learning how the astonishingly beautiful creatures rendered so brilliantly in glass by the Blaschkas over a century ago are faring in the beleaguered oceans of our 21st century world.
In a book talk given at Mann Library Oct. 27, in conjunction with Mann's special fall 2016 exhibit program, "Exploring a Sea of Glass: A Celebration of Art, Biology and History Through the Works of Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka," Harvell presents some of the wondrous sights and sobering lessons of her exploration.