Jialing is an underwater photographer specialized in taking images and videos of marine zooplankton at night. Currently she is also a grad student at the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology at Columbia University in New York City. She had published her works of photos and films under different pseudonyms including “homoplankton”, “浮仔fufu”. (She just wasn’t prepared for people to know her real name, but these names refer to the same person).
Jialing is obsessed with the surface ocean at night. Minute creatures known as zooplankton lurk in the deep during the day and migrate for hundreds to thousands of meters to the surface waters at night. This migration occurs every night, everywhere at the surface ocean. Such migration pattern facilitates the transport of organic matter into the deep and plays an essential role in global carbon cycle. However, while most people know about sharks, dolphins, whales and jellyfish that made their way to movies and encyclopedias, an average person might never have heard about siphonophores, salps and pteropods. Jialing had chances in college to examine some zooplankton field samples under microscope and became fascinated with the delicate morphology and startling diversity of the creatures living in the world often neglected by human vision. Upon graduation, she decided to bring these creatures to the public. And this time, she had the ambition to document the zooplankton in their natural habitat as a scuba diver with a macro camera.
She believes the fundamental way to involve the public in conservation is to instill a sense of biophilia, a sense of sincere respect for nature from projects that combine biology, ecology and art, regardless of the knowledge background of the target audience. Such feelings themselves might not exert an immediate impact on policy-making and resource management, but it cultivates the essential mentality of awe and wonder for nature in future conservationists.
In 2019, Jialing initiated the education project Homoplankton that aims to capture the aesthetics of morphology and behavior of those under-represented zooplankton species.