Salps in the water of the Pelagos Sanctuary.

In many ways, salps are fascinating organisms.

Biologically first of all. Their gelatinous appearance and their evolution in open water are reminiscent of jellyfish, yet salps are closer to simple invertebrates. With a heart, mouth and muscles, they feed by pumping sea water and filtering planktonic particles.
These barrel-shaped pelagis organismes, wich can measure from a few milimetres to more than thirty centimetres, aggregate with their congeners to form long colonies, sometimes with astonishing shapes : long ribbons of several metres or spirals, as in this photograph taken in the Mediterranean in the Pelagos Sanctuary. Another particularly remarkable and fascinating fact : their ability to coordinate their muscular movement to propel themselves together.
Beyond their physical characteristics, salps have an important place in the balance of marine ecosystems. They are filer feeders, they feed on the move, and therefore play a role in the purification of ocean ecosystems. When their faeces and corpses sink, it contribute to the sedimentation of carbon; they would therefore have a significant impact on the absorption cycle of CO2 by the waters and sea bed. (*Wikipedia)
For the photographer, they are a challenge as well as a visuel delight : their texture and transparency make them complex to photograph, but in the right light, their strange grace and surreal allure make for some quite magical images.