Animation: Mixing of Cod, for University of Iceland & Science Advances

Þorskur varð að ufsa en reyndist vera þorskur
Þorskur varð að ufsa en reyndist vera þorskur

As much as I believe that hard work and diligence pays off, sometimes the saying “it’s who you know, not what you know” is most true. This animation work found me instead of the other way around, and trust me I’m grateful for it! Authors Einar and Katrin of the University of Iceland know my husband Matthew through some of their research (they thank him in this paper as a reviewer), and through him knew of my animation capabilities. When Science Advances asked them to provide multimedia to accompany a paper that would go to press in 48 hours, they asked me if I could help. Ironically, the video is not published with the paper itself.

Codweb: Whole-genome sequencing uncovers extensive reticulations fueling adaptation among Atlantic, Arctic, and Pacific gadids

I LOVE working on scientific content; I love the precision of it, I love learning new things, and I love the break from highly creative clients who tend to always want more. For this animation, I took a PDF Einar created, pulled it apart in Illustrator, and created basically a 15-second flow chart of cod migration set to royalty-free music (thanks, YouTube).

Fig. 1
Stylized topology of the classical phylogeny of Pacific, Arctic, and Atlantic gadids on a world map centered on the Arctic.

It was a fun rush job to keep me up past my bedtime, and another beautiful example that I can’t always anticipate clients’ needs. After making sure that all the fish images lined up exactly with their labels, Einar reminded me that some of the fish are physically larger than others, and I needed to re-size them for anatomical accuracy. Oops.

Additionally, I’m thrilled to have an animation of mine published in front of such a large audience; RÚV is like Icelandic NPR. I may not be able to read the article, but I created the animation in such a way that language is not needed, and the simplified view of cod migration is accessible to all!