A juvenile saltwater croc photographed in Townsville, Australia
This week’s feature takes us Down Under to Townsville, Australia, to highlight the amazing portfolio of self-confessed marine megafauna junkie Matt Curnock. As part of a growing team of scientists who also take underwater photographs, Matt and his colleagues Tom Bridge, Ed Roberts, Julia Sumerling and Roxana Caha have built a substantial archive of images that they make available to conservation and management organisations for science communication and education purposes. When on land, Matt works for CSIRO, Australia’s national science research agency, and is involved in many important projects attempting to solve natural resource management problems through social science.
He is also a lead researcher with The Minke Whale Project, a team of multidisciplinary scientists and volunteers who study the annual aggregation of dwarf minke whales that visit the northern Great Barrier Reef each winter. Since completing a PhD on management and monitoring of the associated swim-with-whales tourism industry, Matt has spent nearly two decades studying and photographing these whales and now supervises students who are making exciting new discoveries.
Not surprisingly, many of the images Matt submitted for this piece were taken on home turf while working on various scientific projects. What I find most impressive is that he has chosen to focus on a particular style of photography that is perfectly suited to showcasing the very best of diving in Australia. His collection includes some outstanding wide-angle work of big fish and reefs, as well as a variety of giant cetaceans from other famous destinations such a Tonga and Dominica. As Matt confesses in his biography, he likes photographing the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef most of all, so let’s hope he continues to be an ambassador for the region for years to come, both with his excellent underwater photography and his important scientific work.
A large potato cod at the famous “Cod Hole” dive site, Ribon Reefs, Australia
A juvenile sperm whale shedding some skin in Dominica
A baby green turtle and its perfect reflection at the surface in Townsville, Australia
A vibrant coral reef above and below the surface at Kimbe Island, Papua New Guinea
Colorful bigeyes at the “Cod Hole” dive site, Ribbon Reefs, Australia
A minke whale “gulping” at the surface at Ribbon Reefs, Australia
A guitar shark at the Yongala wreck near Townsville, Australia
A humpback whale pirouetting in Tonga
A large bull shark taking the bait in Beqa Lagoon, Fiji
A flatback turtle hatchling in the Whitsundays, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Playing with underwater scooters in Cairns, Australia
Matt Curnock in his happy place!
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