2008 Photo Contest, Nature, 3rd prize

Paul Nicklen

National Geographic

01 January, 2006

A bowhead whale cruises the ice edge. With life-spans of up to 200 years, bowheads are among the largest and longest-living animals on earth. They feed on minute creatures such as amphipods. Without ice, this food source will lose the surface on which they live out most of their life cycle, endangering the whales' survival. Ice is the very essence of the ecosystem of the Artic. Sea ice - frozen seawater that moves with the ocean currents - provides an important habitat and resting place for many animals. In recent years satellite pictures show a dramatic reduction in Artic ice cover, which reached a record low in 2007. Many attribute the situation to global warming.

About the photographer

Paul Nicklen

As a young boy, Paul Nicklen, a Canadian-born polar specialist and marine biologist, moved to Baffin Island and spent his childhood among the Inuit people. From them he learned t...

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