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Stunning Image: Hidden Groves of the Florida Keys

national parks, mangrove forests, biscayne national park
(Image credit: Matt Stock/U.S. Department of the Interior)

A new art exhibit at Biscayne National Park is highlighting the beauty and struggles of Florida's mangrove forests.

The exhibit, called "Hidden Groves," is the latest show in Biscayne National Park's visitor center gallery, which has become a popular showroom for nature lovers. "Hidden Groves" features artwork by award-winning photographer Matt Stock and runs until Feb. 24, 2013.

The "Hidden Groves" exhibit features 12 pieces taken in Biscayne National Park and nearby areas of the Florida Keys. Stock's technique, inspired by a Renaissance technique called sfumato (perhaps most famously displayed in Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa"), involves taking photos from dozens of angles under varying lighting conditions. He then combines the images into a single composition.

Mangrove forests are among the most productive and biologically important ecosystems on the planet. These forests thrive in salty, swampy coastal areas such as the Florida Keys, where they are often the first line of defense against hurricanes. But mangrove forests around the world are disappearing, due to human activity and frequent severe storms.

Inspired by the beauty of Biscayne National Park and South Florida, the Dante Fascell Visitor Center Gallery provides a space for artists to display their work and, hopefully, inspire the public. Past exhibits have included color and black-and-white photography, oil, acrylic, pastel and watercolor paintings, drawings, collage and sculpture.

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Brett Israel was a staff writer for Live Science with a focus on environmental issues. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from The University of Georgia, a master’s degree in journalism from New York University, and has studied doctorate-level biochemistry at Emory University.