Join us in geeking out over this trailer for TEDxHeraklion — an event held in an aquarium(!!) in Crete.

It has all the things: fish, coral, a very serious man sitting at a desk in front of fish and coral prepping invitations to the event with a real wax envelope seal.

It is paired with a soundtrack created by event team members, featuring only traditional Cretan instruments. A+. Good one, TEDxHeraklion.

Watch the whole video here»

May I have this dance? Photographer Shawn Heinrichs photographs models swimming alongside endangered ocean-dwellers, an effort to raise awareness and hopefully save their lives. 

Shawn fell in love with the ocean and its denizens after he took up scuba diving 20 years ago, a passion that led him to marine habitats all over the world. But as he traveled from sea to sea, he quickly began to realize that not everything underwater is rosy. Particularly, he was struck by the plight of the whale shark and the manta ray, two endangered species — one targeted for its fins and the other oft-mistaken for a stingray, a deadly lookalike.

Shawn took up photography (and film-making) in hopes to connect people with these animals most never see face-to-face. As he says in his talk at TEDxBoulder:

Art is such an essential tool in halting the destruction of these threatened species. By connecting people with the beauty and vulnerability of these animals, we ignite a new level of curiosity and passion for them.

Because, ultimately, it is the human connection that is central to conservation. Without it, our efforts will ultimately falter, but by harnessing it, we can change the world.

Above, photos from his work with manta rays and whale sharks showing the potential for real connection between human and animal. For more information on his work and conservation efforts, watch his entire talk here.

The story of the sea turtle: TED-Ed animates this evolutionary miracle

Sea turtles. Is there anything cuter than them? If you ask me, the answer is definitely no. If you ask other TEDx staffers, the answer might be yes, but don’t trust them. Sea turtles are super cute. 

But more than just cute, sea turtles are extremely fascinating. They are contemporaries of the dinosaurs (making almost any aquarium Jurassic Park), evolutionary superstars (in this case, slow and steady really did win the race), and total troopers (baby turtles have to make it past seabirds, crabs, raccoons, and a host of other roadblocks in their mad dash to reach the sea — and the trouble doesn’t stop there).

Sea turtles are a legitimate miracle, according to marine biologist/TEDxOrlando speaker Scott Gass. With so many obstacles to face on the road from birth to adulthood, it’s a wonder that these swimming dinosaurs carry on.

But they do, and you can learn how in this wonderful animation from Scott and TED-Ed, in which you can see the only thing cuter than baby sea turtles — ANIMATED BABY SEA TURTLES!

(Photos: Luca5)

What do dolphins do for fun? They make underwater vortexes, of course.

Diver and dolphin lover Scott Gass was working at Sea World in Orlando, FL, when he noticed something interesting: One of the youngest dolphins, a female named Calypso, had discovered a new game. She had learned to create giant, malleable bubble rings (technically air-injected, torus-shaped vortexes) that she could push around, swim through, pop, and spin like a wheel.

This was an amazing feat, one that Scott and his colleagues call “walking on the moon rare” for dolphins, documented in only a handful of dolphin populations in the world. But for Gass, the most fascinating thing about the bubble rings was that Calypso wasn’t the only dolphin who started blowing bubble rings — adults from across the pod watched the youngster and joined in.

In a talk you just must watch,
Gass gives us the story behind this wonderful dolphin-bubble-creation, with mesmerizing footage of Sea World’s dolphins playing with their homemade bubble vortexes. (It’s super cute. Trust us.) He even provides some deeper meaning, taking a cue from his dolphins to remind us that you’re never too old to learn from the young. Here’s Gass at TEDxOrlando:

(Photos — Top: Simon Griegg (xrr); Middle: Scott Gass; Bottom: Colorado_Al)