About Jessica

Jessica’s Nature Blog is written by Jessica M. Winder who has a background of ecological studies in both the museum and the research laboratory, is passionate about the natural world right on our doorstep, enthusiastic about capturing its beauty through photography – wanting to open the eyes of everyone to the fascination of nature.   

Oysters etc. is a blog featuring Jessica M. Winder’s work on oyster shell variation and its causes, from her PhD studies,  and also from consultancy based archaeo-malacology research on marine mollusc shells from archaeological excavations.

Photographic Salmagundi is a web log with an assortment of photographs on all sorts of subjects, together with some digital art created by applying computer-generated effects.

COPYRIGHT STATEMENT © Jessica Winder and Jessica’s Nature Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including both text and photographs, without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jessica Winder and Jessica’s Nature Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  

Jessica can be contacted by e-mail at winderjssc@aol.com

Jessica M. Winder  

 

71 thoughts on “About Jessica

  1. Hi, Rob

    Thank you so much for your comments. I am very pleased that you like the blog. I get a great deal of enjoyment from walking the beaches, taking pictures and writing about what I find – as I guess you do too. I must have a look at your own blog.

  2. Hi Jessica,

    You left a comment on my blog back in February, which I’m sorry to say was ‘captured’ as spam, and I’m afraid I do a terrible job of reading through the things so marked, so I only saw it today. I’m *very* happy to have heard from you though, and sorry that I didn’t respond earlier.

    I had actually taken down the post about the survival of different oyster valves, as I had only used very small assemblages which I didn’t think was wonderful from a statistical point of view, and I’m now in the process of going through all the published reports I have with a view to trying again (the right valves ARE in the lead). I shall let you know when I’ve finished that. It’s also worth noting that aside from one Romano-British assemblage, the valves I had used were all from post-medieval contexts. Did you ever look over your results?

    I took a moment to look at a few of your pictures and was absolutely delighted by them. I try to visit the Dorset coast every couple of weeks, and have seen many similar sights to the ones you’ve captured so well here, and I’ll certainly be subscribing to your blog’s feed.

    Thanks for getting in touch.
    Matt

  3. Hi, Matt
    It’s good to hear from you.
    Back in February, I did have a look at some of the figures I had for better oyster shell right valve survival in archaeological deposits. I have a lot of unpublished as well as published data. The results did seem to confirm my original assertion. I will send you the information as soon as I can find it again – it’s at the bottom of the filing heap somewhere. Over time I have examined a substantial number of oyster shells from samples dating from a range of periods from Roman to Post-Medieval and ‘modern’ – so the data is fairly comprehensive.
    I am pleased that you like my nature blog. I really enjoy writing it. Thank you for your kind comments.
    I’ll contact you shortly with my oyster findings.

  4. Hi Jessica
    I keep stumbling across your blog and am most impressed.
    You take some wonderful pictures, just beautiful, but I also love the depth of your knowledge on all the things you look at… to me it’s just seaweed, but you actually know all their names!!!
    I’ll be returning for more

  5. Hello, Richard
    Thank you for your kind remarks. I simply love all these seashore things and taking photographs of them. When I see something interesting or new, I just have to know more about it. And then, of course, I want to “show and tell”.

  6. Hello,
    I was looking for information on some trace fossils I found near Richmond, Virginia, US and was pleasantly surprised to see your pictures of identical fossils, in what seems to be indentical matrix. Very exciting!
    To find what seem to be the same fossils thousands of miles away puts a lot of the earth’s story in better perspective. Keep up the good work.
    Thank you,
    Sincerely,
    Vicki Stephens
    Beaverdam, Virginia, USA

  7. Hello, Vicki
    I am so pleased to hear that you have found my blog useful. Thank you for your comments. It is very interesting to learn that similar trace fossils are found in Virginia too. Although most people are excited only by the perfect and removable fossils like shells and bones, it is also fascinating to find the tubes and burrows in which animals lived; and the trails and footprints they left behind.

  8. Hi Jessica,
    I have just looked through your wonderful photos on your website and now found your blog. I’m amazed at how we are drawn to the same subject matter, but find it interesting that you have a natural science background while mine is in the social sciences. Maybe I’m a closet naturalist and don’t know it.

    Are the sea creatures, flotsam and shells all from Dorset? I would think the New England and England coasts would have similar beings, but not all are familiar to me.

    Thank you for your nice comments on my blog. Keep up your good work of capturing the beauty and detail around you.
    Lynn

  9. Hi, Lynn
    Thank you for your kind comments. We do seem to be drawn to the same kind of subject matter, don’t we? I think that most of my pictures are what you might call ‘documentary’ – although sometimes the abstract patterns, colour, and textures form themselves into images that are a bit more artistic. Your own compositions with the skilled capturing of the light both transmitted and reflected are masterful.
    I photograph the seashores in two areas. One is the World Heritage Site called the Jurassic Coast, which is where I live in Dorset (the sea is the English Channel). The other is the Gower Peninsula in South Wales which has the Atlantic Ocean washing its shores. It is interesting to see the similarities and differences between the natural history of the two places here in the UK – and between this side of the Atlantic and yours. I did not realise that you lived in New England but could see, for example, that the crab and some seaweeds in your photographs looked unfamiliar.
    Thanks for looking at my blog and website. I look forward to visiting your site again soon.

  10. Now this is a proper natural history blog – I love it. It makes me wish I was doing something a little more worthwhile myself!

    Mr White

  11. Pingback: Some Unusual Sea Glass « Searching for the last piece

  12. Thank you for creating the link, Ian. That’s very kind of you. Funnily enough, I have examples of calcareous tubes on a great range of objects, including a hub cap that washed up as flotsam (how did that get in the sea?) but I have never found them on beach glass. I’ll have to really keep my eyes open next time I’m at my favourite haunt for collecting beach glass.

  13. I’ve been a bit busy lately….. but I’ve just uploaded a new photo onto Sea Glass Lovers site, now you’ve prompted me!

  14. Hello Jessica.
    thank you very much for the information about the creatures that causes holes in the seashells.
    i’m a Seashell collector, and some of my specimens had theese holes and calcareous tubes. thanks to you, now I know why.

    Greetings from Argentina.
    Ezequiel.

  15. Thanks, Ezequiel. I’m happy that you were able to find the information you needed in my blog.

  16. Dear Jessica,

    my compliments to your outstanding blog. I have taken the freedom to place some links on my pages about sea shells. I am very glad I found your blog!

    Kind regards from Germany,
    Robert

  17. Dear Jessica

    My name is John and as I am only four years old, my daddy is writing this note. My daddy is from England (and knows many of the places you have photographed) and my mummy is from America. We live in Long Island, NY.

    I just want to say how much I love your pictures. I may be small but I am a budding geologist. I collect things – particularly rocks, pebbles, shells, pieces of wood and leaves – whenever I leave the house and am learning lots about the natural world.

    Your pictures really help me to understand how things came to be in the world I live in, and my daddy discovers things anew through my eyes. Thank you. I shall be a regular visitor.

    Love,
    John

  18. Thank you, Robert. You are very generous. I am pleased to hear you like my blog and have placed some links to it on your own mollusc site. Sorry for the delay in acknowledging your comment but I have been away on holiday.
    Best wishes

    Jessica

  19. Hello, John

    Thank you so much for writing to me and telling me how you like my pictures. I am delighted to hear that you are an enthusiastic naturalist even at such a young age. I am glad that you are finding the information that you need in my blog.

    It is interesting to learn that your Daddy is from England and knows many of the places I have visited – I wonder what part of the country he comes from.

    I am sorry to have taken so long to reply to your message but I have been on the Oregon coast in the US. In fact, I have been busy all summer – out and about taking photographs of all the wonderful natural things I have seen around me – lots of stones, sea shore creatures, seaweeds, and sunlit seas. I will soon be writing articles for the blog again to tell you all about them.

    Best wishes

    Jessica

  20. I appreciate your focus (play on words intended) on the abstract in nature: excellent! And you’re so prolific; I’m impressed that you can post so often, with so many photographs and such extended text. Two weeks ago, at

    http://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com

    I began a blog devoted to the photography of nature in central Texas. Where you deal mostly with the maritime world, I document primarily the native plants of my region, and sometimes inevitably the small creatures that live on them. My goal is to make botanical “portraits” in the same spirit as the portraits we make of people. It’s so much fun, as you must know from all your photography.

    I’m also interested in words, and I just learned a new one from your blog: spalting. It seems to come from the provincial verb spalt, which the 1913 Webster’s Dictionary defined as ‘To split off; to cleave off, as chips from a piece of timber, with an ax’.

    Nice to make your acquaintance.

  21. Thank you so much for leaving the comment. I am pleased that you like the photographs and accompanying text. I spend a lot of my time observing natural history phenomena – and reading up about the subjects I photograph in order to understand them. However, I am just an amateur photographer using a bridge camera. Your own photographs of nature, in your new blog http://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com/, are truly superb and reflect your consummate skill as a photographer and your technical expertise with the sophisticated equipment. Your botanical portraits are stunning.

    In English vernacular use, the term spalt or spalting is used specifically by woodworkers and wood-turners to describe the abstract and highly decorative black patterns in the timber caused by certain fungal infections. [See, for example, http://www.hiltonhandcraft.com/Articles/Spalting_a_Fungus_Amongus.asp%5D. Left to natural processes of decay, the damage caused by these fungi would eventually result in the wood decaying, breaking, and splitting or splintering off.

    Thank you, for writing to me and taking an interest.

    Jessica

  22. Thank you so much for sharing the details and the big picture of nature in the way that you do. Sometimes I cannot even find the words for the stunning beauty I find… in nature and other’s blogs!
    Thank you for letting us see what you see!

  23. Thank you, Starbear. You’re very kind……but I think you underestimate your own ability to communicate how you feel about the spirit of nature. Your WordPress blog is perfect evidence for the special way you think and talk about nature and capture it through excellent photographs. Well done!

  24. Hi Jessica,
    I am doing a project for school about the jurassic period. I discovered your website and funny enough my last name is Winder as well! I wonder if we are somehow related.

  25. Hi, Reagan. I hope you found the posts on Jurassic things, like rocks and fossils, useful for your project. There seem to be a lot of Winders around, especially in the United States. I wonder if we are somehow related? I guess it would be rather difficult to find out.

  26. Hey Jessica, nice work :) I’m a student studying natural forms as part of my fine art A level…I am required to study the texture and forms of objects as you have done; the qualties of you subjects have come through brilliantly. What camera have you used for the pictures of driftwood? I’m looking to invest in one and it seems whatever you are using would fit my needs.Please email me if you have time :) x-x-eve-x-x@hotmail.com

  27. Thanks for the message. Sorry for the delay in replying but I have been abroad for several months on urgent business. My camera is a Panasonic Lumix FZ100, with x 24 zoom and 14 megapixels.

  28. Hi Jessica,
    Fab stuff here – I came across you whilst trying to discover what beetle bores holes into driftwood so that it looks almost lace like. I also walk but I collect stuff and make sculptures. I’ve come across driftwood with beetle burrow patterns like you describe and wonder if it is the same beetle?

  29. Hello, Juliet

    I am pleased to hear you like my Blog. Thank you. It sounds as if you do some really interesting creative work with your driftwood sculptures. The beetle tunnels under the bark of driftwood that I photographed were caused by a terrestrial beetle before the wood went into the sea. The lace-like tunnels that you describe in your driftwood could be caused by marine invertebrates like shipworms or gribbles (also described in my Blog). Maybe you would like to send me by e-mail some pictures of the lace-like damage so that I can try and identify which type of creature was responsible?

  30. I sent an e-mail, but I’ll post here too. Over the last weekend the shimmering luster of the wild ostrea lurida I was collecting for dinner caught my eye. It was particularly evident near the shell lips of a few of the shells. Once the shells dried they lost the color and appeared whitish, but the color was evident when they were wetted. I oiled one and was able to bring back the green/purple/gold coloration but not the luster. Does the European ostrea ever show like this?

  31. Thank you for your question. From what I have read, I can tell you that the Pacific or Olympian Oyster (Ostrea lurida Carpenter) which grows wild along the North-West Pacific coast of America (in the 1960’s it was found from Charlotte Bay in British Columbia to San Diego Bay in Southern California), is extremely variable in colour. It can be anything from white to black-purple and may have purple-brown or yellow stripes. This species also lacks the outer dull brown thin periostracum layer which is present in so many other bivalved mollusc species, for example, mussels. The specific name of lurida may indeed be a reference to its greatly varying colour.

    Wet shells always look more interesting than dry ones, and the moisture enhances the details of the texture and the vibrancy of the colours. I find that photographs I take of shells on the beach as they wash ashore are always better (more colourful and textural) than when I take the shells home to photograph – a problem that I often overcome by spraying the shells with water before I take the photo at home.

    Around the edges of the shells is the active growth zone. The shell has two basic layers – both created by the fleshy mantle that envelops the oyster animal within the shell. The outer layer of shell is formed from an organic matrix of a proteinaceous substance called conchyolin on which calcium carbonate crystals are arranged more or less at right angles to the direction of growth. This layer tends to be more opaque and dull. The inner nacreous layer of the shell is formed from crystals that are arranged rather like over-lapping tiles parallel to the direction of growth – it is this layer that is truly pearlescent – mother-of-pearl.

    As the shell is being constructed, the nacreous layer is usually formed first and consolidated afterwards by the thicker outer layer. The area of new growth, the growth shoot, rapidly formed during warmer weather, can frequently be seen around the edges or lips of the oyster shell. If growth is very fast, then the growth shoot may be translucent and composed entirely of nacreous material.

    The shell of the European oyster O. edulis can vary in colour naturally during life but I don’t think it would be as colourful as lurida.

    I hope this helps to explain what you have been observing in the shells of oysters that you collected for your dinner.

  32. Dear Jessica,
    I am flabbergasted at all this beauty in one place.
    I jsut discovered your blog and I shall visit often.

  33. Dear Jessica – Just have to agree with others here that this is a wonderful collation of information and images – everything about the shoreline and intertidal zones and small creatures – it’s just beautiful to read and so obvious why it has absorbed you as a researcher.

  34. Hello Jessica, I’ve just discovered your inspirational blog, whilst trying to identify sea gooseberries, which I saw yesterday whilst walking along Three Cliffs Bay beach.
    I’ve been coming to the Gower Peninsula for many years but have been living here since April.
    I’ve seen many of the things that you’ve photographed and it’s nice to learn things about them that I didn’t previously know.
    Whiteford sands has always been a place for finding the unusual and unexpected, from dead animals including ponies and seals to unexploded bombs!
    May even find you there one day! :-)

  35. Thank you, Ray. I’m glad you find the blog interesting. Say “Hello” if you see me among the debris on the strand-line or sitting in a rock pool photographing limpets.

  36. Jessica thanks for visiting my blog post ‘Stone’. From reading your interesting profile, I can see how you were drawn to those amazing geological abstracts.

  37. hi Jessica
    love your ‘pebbles with holes’ post
    i used to wear one on a silver chain round my kneck, found on the shore on Lismore (off Oban) Argyll & Bute. It was black with fine white lines, beautiful and mysterious, don’t know where it is now
    Thanks for visiting my ‘connections’ post, best wishes, Liz

  38. Hello, Liz. Thanks for looking at the pebble post. Pebbles with holes in them seem to excite the curiosity of all who find them. In four years of blogging, that particular post has received more views than any other via the search engines.
    I really love your paintings. They are not only aesthetically beautiful but they are redolent with atmosphere and evoke an immediate emotional response. I look forward to seeing each new work.
    Best wishes, Jessica.

  39. I just discovered your blog. A few months ago I started attending a Parent/Child nature preschool with my son who is now 15-months old. It’s so exciting to see him explore the beauties of nature and to encourage his curiosity. Thank you for sharing your adventures. I look forward to following your blog!

  40. Thank you so much for your comments and for following the blog. You are certainly starting the right way to engage your son with the beauty and wonder of the natural world.

  41. What a wonderful resource. Thank you for putting together such lovely photos with very informative text. I’ll enjoy exploring this – and my kids will love it too!

  42. Hi, My name is Nathan and I am currently doing Photography as an A Level. I am doing research on the topic ‘Natural World’ which is what I have chosen to do for my exam in April of this year.
    At the moment I am studying the topic ‘Natural World’ and I have chosen to do a Photographer research paper about you and your photographs. It would be really helpful if you could please tell me what camera functions, techniques and what camera you use when taking your photos as the information would help a lot when I come to writing my paper.
    I have read through your blog and am really fascinated with the photos you have taken and the research that you have come up with too. I, myself love paleontology and have visited many places and have learned a lot from those experiences. Your blog has taught me a lot of new stuff as well and I look forward to future updates.
    I hope you can help me as it would be much appreciated.

  43. Hi, Nathan. Thank you for writing to me. I am pleased that you have found the posts interesting. I have sent a full reply to your enquiry by e-mail. Good luck with your A Level Photography. Best wishes, Jessica.

  44. Hi Jessica we met in the Post Office Dorchester this week when I told you of the unusual shells I had seen at Ringstead. Great to see your photos of the Goose Barnacles and to learn about them, thankyou. Barbara

  45. Hello, Barbara. Glad you found the site and the goose barnacle information. They are weird looking things aren’t they? You’d never guess they were barnacles.

  46. Just stumbled upon your site. I also have a fascination for the dynamic ripple patterns. You mention Chaos Theory, there is also an inherent ‘musicality’ as we can see complex ‘ringing tones’ in the forms of the ripples themselves, which are continually modified by the shifting structure of the underlying sand as the water flow and ripple tones modifiy their shape. Interestingly as the tides are a product of cosmic forces, notably the gravitational effects of the moon and sun, poetically we could refer to these ‘ripple tones’ as ephemeral expressions of the ‘music of the spheres’… I also have a collection of these patterns on video mainly from around the Gibralta Point (UK) area, where I have also created some environmental sound art projects.

    I’m currently doing a review of research papers on this subject, which is equally fascinating. And I also fascinated by various mathematical / physics / acoustics modeling of these flow patterns, which seem to occur over a vast range of scales.

  47. Thank you so much for telling me more about these ripple patterns on the beach. I will have to spend a bit of time absorbing and understanding your musical ideas which are quite new to me. I will visit your site again to learn how you are getting on with your investigations into the science behind these flow patterns.

  48. Dallas,

    You might be interested in spontaneous pattern generation (you can Google that phrase).
    I found it interesting when researching patterns in Nature some years back. That concerns all sorts of patterns, including temporal ones – which are obviously closely related to what humans call music.
    Here’s an example:
    ‘Dynamic pattern generation in behavioral and neural systems’
    G Schoner, JA Kelso, 1988
    Abstract: “In the search for principles of pattern generation in complex biological systems, an operational approach is presented that embraces both theory and experiment. The central mathematical concepts of self-organization in nonequilibrium systems (including order parameter dynamics, stability, fluctuations, and time scales) are used to show how a large number of empirically observed features of temporal patterns can be mapped onto simple low-dimensional (stochastic, nonlinear) dynamical laws that are derivable from lower levels of description. The theoretical framework provides a language and a strategy, accompanied by new observables, that may afford an understanding of dynamic patterns at several scales of analysis (including behavioral patterns, neural networks, and individual neurons) and the linkage among them.”

    Mike

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