Postscript, Autumn 2018

Visualizing an Ecosystem

By John F. Williams

Photos &  video by John F. Williams except where noted

Postscript, Autumn 2018

Visualizing an Ecosystem

By John F. Williams

Photos &  video by John F. Williams except where noted

Telling the story of a system as complex as the ecosystem we live in is a tall order. We are committed to tackling that, yet there is no established model for how to do it. We need to describe the details of the individual pieces, but that’s not enough. We also need to convey the nature of, and fundamental importance of, the innumerable relationships between things.

This diagram shows eating relationships between just a few creatures It’s not hard to imagine how the complexity grows very rapidly as more creatures and more types of relationships are added.

How can we leverage 21st century technology to convey those complex stories of our local ecosystems in a way that will be fun, inspiring, and informative?

Having found no really good model yet, we’re making it up as we go along, trying to blend related stories together, and learn to use today’s technology to take you where no reader has gone before!

You may notice that some photographs appear more than once, in different contexts, and that some topics are repeated in different articles and in different issues — that’s one way to address interconnectivity. We have also needed to oversimplify many things to get the major concepts across. We will continue to push the envelope when it comes to inventing new ways to tell such an impossibly complex story — and if you have any suggestions or ideas, please let us know!

why salish magazine?

I’ve worked in and around the ocean most of my life, and I spent over a decade filming underwater in Puget Sound — helping people who didn’t SCUBA dive see the amazing marine life here in the Pacific Northwest.

From 2005 to 2012 I produced the half-hour TV series (SEA-Inside: Pacific Northwest) with the same objective, but featuring short videos and photographs from a wide variety of people I met while networking with the underwater community.

This magazine has evolved to continue that tradition:

  • to help introduce our local residents (you and me) to our natural neighborhood, and
  • to include a wide variety of content contributors from our community in the process.

There are two main differences:

  • here we will tell in-depth stories about things that people can see first-hand, not just creatures that are hidden below the surface of our waters
  • instead of just video, Salish Magazine will also include prose, poetry, photos, art work, and 21st century interactive features that will help readers wrap their minds around the mysteries of nature in our Salish Sea region.

This is not an academic journal, but we put extra effort into ensuring that information presented here is correct. There are references at the end of each article so readers may continue to follow their interests. We tried to choose references that have reliable reputations and are fun to read.