Symbiosis: the interaction of two or more organisms.
The Symbiosis Salon is an on growing body of work that explores relationships within the environment. These works on paper explore the intricate beauty and companionship of mutualism found within the environment. Mutualistic relationships within ecological science is an emerging field of diverse and abundant interaction.
Using art to explore ecology
A symbiosis of art and science has the potential not only to activate, but also to embellish one’s ecological imagination as an exploration of self as being (and not simply a being) in the environment. This process necessarily captures much of what counts as embodied learning (Wason- Ellam 2010). Since the body, according to Deleuze, is not simply the locus of sensory perception but also the capacity to affect and be affected, embodiment provokes a learner’s identification of the learner’s aesthetic and noemenal surroundings with an affective.
Tayatea: The Giant Freshwater Crayfish.
The Tasmanian giant freshwater crayfish (Astacopsis gouldi) is the largest freshwater invertebrate in the world. The species is only found in the rivers in northern Tasmania. It is listed as an endangered species on the IUCN Red List due to overfishing and habitat degradation. The tayatea requires pristine environments to survive without erosion or silted rivers.
The diet of the freshwater crayfish varies with age, but predominantly consists of decaying wood, leaves and their associated microbes. They may also eat small fish, insects, rotting animal flesh and other microbial detritus when available. A. gouldi is very long-lived, surviving for up to 60 years. It has previously been reported to attain weights of up to 6 kilograms and measure over 80 centimetres long; however, in recent years the majority of larger specimens are 2–3 kilograms. When fully mature the species has no natural predators due to its large size, while smaller individuals can be prey of platypus, riverblackfish and rakali.
The dispersal and migratory patterns of A. gouldi are largely unknown, but they are recorded to be most active during summer and autumn when water temperatures are higher, they are also known to walk over land. Tasmanian giant freshwater crayfish have extremely slow maturation rates, with females reaching sexual maturity at approximately 14 years of age, a weight of 550 grams and a carapace length of 120 millimetres. Males are thought to reach maturity more quickly at around 9 years, 300 grams and 76 millimetres carapace length.
Females mate and spawn once every two years in autumn after a summer moult, producing 224–1300 eggs proportional to its size. Gestation of the eggs takes about nine months, with females carrying the eggs on their tail through winter. After hatching in mid-summer, the hatchlings of about 6 millimetres attach to the female's swimming legs and will remain with the mother until a few months later in autumn. A long reproductive process means that females spend much of their life attached to their eggs and hatchlings.
Pollination was produced as part of the Laughing Waters Residency, in 2011. It explores mutually symbiotic relationships in the region, between invertebrates and flowering plants. It captures the complicated and complex plethora of diversity that is required to maintain the health of an ecosystem, both in floral and faunal composition. Pollination is a work on paper, using the mediums of watercolour, ink and resin to explore this idea. The resin was used as a way to portray the succulence and moist environment within the reproductive organs of a flower. Through a microscope, one is able to understand the important role of the flower anatomy to protect the precious reproductive structures that enable movement of microscopic sex cells into their final resting place of a zygote.
This image is a detail of the work which is 270 x 70 cm.
Kept in private collection.