Inspired by educational videos of the mid-20th century, we paired four poets with four expert scientists to tell tales of intriguing symbiotic relationships that exist in nature. Part three of our series appreciates the unique harmony between two very different species under the sea.
Poet: Nicky Beer | Scientist: Dr. Heike Wägele, researcher specializing in algal biology
Director & Animator: Chelsea Myers
Art Designers: Chelsea Myers & Becca Sullinger
Original Score: Mike Danger
Narrator: Marc McKee
Audio: Tim Pilcher
Producers: Camellia Cosgray, Paul Sturtz & David Wilson
The sea slug melibe engeli / devours the green / body of the algae with gusto, / devours even the algae’s dreams / of being forest, of being its own / green continent. / Uniting with the infinite branches of the slug’s gut, / the algae embeds / itself into the very cells / of the animal, often thriving / there for generations. / The algae claims / the slug’s sunlight, / turning that warmth / into shared sugar, / enough to nourish both / entirely for many months. / And so they drift in this embrace, / a new dream together / in the ocean’s endless sleep. / Isn’t this the world / we hope to recover: / growth without destruction, / consumption without cruelty / or annihilation? / If we dive deep enough, / will it come back to us?