You guys remember Sharon Shattuck, right? She's the documentary filmmaker responsible for "Parasites: A User's Guide" and a frequent collaborator with Radiolab. The recent "Loops" Radiolab episode featured a segment on the ultimate fate of a dead whale: how its body becomes not only a feeding ground but an ecosystem all its own. To help us envision this particular loop of life and death, Sharon created this lovely video detailing the stages of whale decomposition via puppets. Let's watch:
Beautiful, isn't it? If you've seen the excellent BBC/Discovery documentary series "Blue Planet," you got to witness actual footage of a whale fall, with hag fish and other scavengers creeping in to feast on a dead grey whale. You can catch that episode right here on Netflix Streaming, but we should also check out the wonderful time lapse segment from "Life" in which nemertean worms and sea stars consume a dead seal pup. Incredible: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HG17TsgV_qI]
I also wrote the piece "Scene Analysis: Sea Creatures of Antarctica" on this segment for the Discovery Channel, interviewing series producer Neil Lucas.