Who is involved in this project: Ula Rademeyer

Description: 3D printed nudibranch models which can be hand painted (sculptures / desk toys)

Launch date: 11 October 2015


What is a Nudibranch?

Nudibranchs1 or “sea slugs” represent the mollusc2 phylum3, the largest marine phylum (class). Nudibranchs occur in seas worldwide and live at all depths of salt water. To me they represent the beauty of life under the sea. Nudibranchia (scientific name), means naked gills – it describes the feathery gills and horns that most wear on their backs.4 How to pronounce nudibranch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUB6TEIu0gg

Why Nudibranchs?

My first encounter with a nudibranch was at the Poor Knights Islands marine reserve in New Zealand while scuba diving off a live aboard boat along “magic wall” – see photos I took below. The well known scuba diver, Jacques Cousteau, rated those islands as one of the top ten dives spots in the world. Nudibranchs are tiny creatures and can easily be missed, but they are so colourful and interesting when encountered. I was hooked and just wanted to see more of them. I tried to take a photo and realised the skill needed for such a small subject, while fighting with the sea current and the need for good lighting to capture their true colours even at around 10 meters under water. I told people about my experience and not many knew about the existence of nudibranchs. They are better known as a sea slug, but not many are aware of the diversity of colour and variety. The fact that I could locate a book on “1001 Nudibranchs and Sea Slugs” meant my search would be never ending to meet them all. Only half the total number of nudibranch species has been discovered so far, despite this numbering an impressive 3 000 or so to date.5 This year two new nudibranchs were recorded in Norway.6

I have dived in two other marine reserves in New Zealand. The F69 Frigate wreck in Wellington and the Kapiti Island Marine reserve with a hole-in-the-wall underwater archway filled with jewel anemones. I have seen nudibranchs at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and also in Fiji. My aim is to make sure we get more marine reserves in New Zealand. I have seen the area before the Wellington region got its only marine reserve and I could spot a big difference myself in the marine life!

There are some types of nudibranchs in regions in the world that are endangered, but I look at the bigger picture of their food supply that is slowly disappearing with pollution, climate change and over fishing. I would like my children and their children to be able to meet the little beauties one day in the future too. Apparently they are not the easiest to keep alive in aquariums which means they would decline this way also when captured and are not easy to breed.

To make a difference I would like to create more awareness to protect their environment – New Zealand has a big coastline. I celebrate their beauty by making everyday products or art to show them off. I would like to bring awareness to the community that it is up to us to make a difference. Marine Protected Areas are established through consultation – have your say.7  The top things we can do as a society today is: Clean Up, Stop over fishing and create Marine reserves.

My background is in 3D Visual Effects. I trained as Graphic Designer and then made my way from 2D to 3D and ended up doing 3D Texture Painting on digital models on computer for movies. I worked on a number of films including The Hobbit and Avatar over the past eight years. I’m currently working from home while raising my daughter. Please check out my portfolio page of new products available. My expertise is in 3D modelling, texturing, product design, props, jewellery design, sculpture and art.

IMDb (internet movie database) for Ula Rademeyer: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2652723/


Underwater photos I took at my first encounter with nudibranchs in the Poor Knights Islands of New Zealand.


1 Nudibranch (sea slug)


2 Mollusc


3 Phylum



4 http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/nudibranch/

5 http://www.originaldiving.com/blog/nudibranchs-facts

6 http://www.scubapixel.com/blog/archive/2015/78-blog/blog-2015/20710-report-from-the- nudibranch-safari-2015

7 http://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/habitats/marine/marine-protected-areas/consulting-the-community/


Neville Coleman – 1001 Nudibranchs and Sea Slugs:


Documentary about Nudibranchs and Sea Slugs (three parts):




Nudibranch diet:


Poor Knights Island Marine Reserve and research:



Island Bay Marine Protection Centre:



Map for Marine Protected areas in NZ:


Marine Environmental Protection:


Marine Reserves FAQ:


Sea life Trust:


World Wildlife Fund: