New Stamp Series Features Edith Widder’s Deep Sea Bioluminescence Photographs

Deep sea comb jelly (Bathocyro fosteri) ©2018 USPS

A new series of U.S. Postal Service stamps features photographs of bioluminescent deep sea creatures taken by Edith Widder, founder of the Ocean Research and Conservation Association (ORCA). The images include a crown jellyfish (Atolla wyvillei), bamboo coral (Keratoisis Flexibilis), a marine worm (Flota), a deep sea comb jelly (Bathocyro fosteri), a midwater jelly fish (Atolla Vanhoeffeni) and a deep sea octopus.

ORCA, housed in a historic U.S. Coast Guard campus in Fort Pierce, FL, is a nonprofit corporation that is identifying toxic hotspots in the ocean using a technology called the Kilroy to track ocean pollutants to their source and collect valuable data to inform land-based decisions that affect coastal ocean health. (Learn more about the technology, ORCA Kilroy.)

Dr. Widder is an expert in bioluminescence who develops specialized equipment for making observations of deep sea life. Her inventions include a bathyphotometer called HIDEX, a deep sea light meter called LoLAR, and ORCA’s Eye-in-the-Sea (EITS) which can be deployed in deep water to automatically detect and measure bioluminescent organisms. Widder is also the creator of a system for photographing the giant squid, which she filmed in 2012 (watch the 2013 TED Talk of Widder explaining the discovery), an historic discovery that was detailed in the Discovery Channel series Midwater Mysteries.

The bioluminescent life stamp collection also includes photographs of gilled mushrooms (Mycena lucentipes) photographed by Taylor F. Lockwood and a firefly (Lampyridae) photographed by Gail Shumway. The new collection will be dedicated this Thursday, Feb. 22 at 11:00 a.m. EST in a ceremony held at Sunrise Theatre in Fort Pierce, FL. RSVP for the event here.

Followers of the U.S. Postal Service Facebook page can view the ceremony live at To learn more about the new collection and view more images, follow the hashtag #BioluminescentStamps.


Read Edith Widder’s feature article in the Aug. 2013 issue of Sea Technology in which she describes the technology behind photographing the giant squid: The Kraken Revealed.


“The first video recordings of a live giant squid Architeuthis dux filmed in its natural habitat were collected in July 2012 during an expedition off the coast of the Ogasawara Islands, 600 miles south of Tokyo, Japan. Although there have been other attempts to accomplish this feat, including two multinational efforts off New Zealand’s coast in 1997 and 1999, all previous endeavors have failed.” —Dr. Edith Widder

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