Lifecycles, by Manvir Singh

posted by Casey Dunn / on December 23rd, 2011 / in lifecycles

We are pleased to present our first pamphlet – an illustrated guide to the lifecyles of some fascinating organisms. These lifecycles were selected and illustrated by Manvir Singh, a student in Casey Dunn’s Invertebrate Zoology course at Brown. Manvir is also the author of The Evolutionist’s Doodlebook.

Lifecycles is released under a creative commons license, and available for download at archive.org. If you’re interested in purchasing a printed tabloid version of this pamphlet (11.25″ by 15″), contact manvir_singh@brown.edu.

CreatureCast – Anglerfish

posted by Casey Dunn / on December 20th, 2011 / in Podcast (Student Contribution)

Lara Crystal, from Casey Dunn’s Invertebrate Zoology (Biol 0410) course at Brown University, tells the story of how anglerfish find, and keep, a mate.

The hand-drawn animations were photographed at the Brown University Science Center. Audio was recorded at the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts. Music used by permission of North America.

CreatureCast – Tardigrades

posted by Casey Dunn / on December 15th, 2011 / in Podcast (Student Contribution)

Katherine Hadley and Jonathan Leibovic, from Casey Dunn’s Invertebrate Zoology (Biol 0410) course at Brown University, sing a song about tardigrades. They composed the song, performed it with friends, and made the animation.

The hand-drawn animations were photographed at the Brown University Science Center (http://brown.edu/academics/science-center/). This video is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license.

CreatureCast – Resurrection Fern

posted by Casey Dunn / on December 15th, 2011 / in Extremophiles, Plants, Podcast (Student Contribution)

Rebecca Haumann describes how some plants deal with drought by completely drying out.

This is the first in a series of episodes made as final projects in classes at Brown University in the fall of 2011. The classes were Plant Diversity (Biology 0430), taught by Erika Edwards, and Invertebrate Zoology (Biology 0410), taught by me.

This episode was made by Rebecca Haumann in Erika Edwards’ Plant Diversity course. The hand-drawn animations were photographed at the Brown University Science Center (http://brown.edu/academics/science-center/). It is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license.

CreatureCast – Passing Cloud

posted by Casey Dunn / on September 7th, 2011 / in molluscs, Podcast, SquidCast

Male kangaroos kick at each other. Male elephant seals gore each other with their large canine teeth. Male Giant Australian cuttlefish also undergo intense competition for females, but besides physically grabbing and biting each other, they also showcase a brilliant pattern on their skin.

Dr. Roger Hanlon who studies cephalopod camouflage at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA  describes the mesmerizing “passing cloud” pattern and the purpose behind this agonistic display.

Animation and Audio Editing by Natividad Chen and Kimberly Ulmer. This podcast is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license.

Gelatinous animals

posted by Casey Dunn / on May 31st, 2011 / in Comb Jellies, Jellies, Siphonophores

Our friend Steve Haddock at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute has posted a video called “There’s no such thing as a jellyfish.” It surveys a broad diversity of animals that are clear and squishy, and explains why there is no one group called “jellyfish”. Many different groups of animals, from stinging cnidarians to swimming snails, have independently become free swimming, gelatinous, and transparent.

CreatureCast – Hollow Trees

posted by Sophia Tintori / on May 20th, 2011 / in Development, lifecycles, Parasites, Plants, Podcast

Here is a little plant that starts it’s life high up in the tree tops, where it can find more light than the dark understory of the rainforest. As it grows though, soon getting enough water becomes limiting factor, and the plant will drop a shoot to the ground.

Matt Ogburn, a graduate student in Erika Edwards’ lab at Brown University, describes this little plant, the strangler fig, and explains how it eventually grows to take over the whole host tree and strangle it to death.

Artwork and editing by Sophia Tintori. Original score by Amil Byleckie. Thanks to Jo Dery for use of her studio. Video released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license.

Postdoc position available in the Dunn Lab

posted by Casey Dunn / on May 19th, 2011 / in lab

A postdoc position is available in the Dunn Lab. The postdoc will develop new methods and tools to address key challenges in constructing phylogenies with many genes and many taxa, and will build phylogenetic trees for several on-going projects. Click here if you are interested in applying.

CreatureCast- Life on a Lobster Mouth

posted by nchen / on May 9th, 2011 / in Arthropods, lifecycles, Podcast (Student Contribution), Symbiosis

Symbion pandora is a microscopic animal that lives exclusively on the mouth-parts of lobsters. When we think of a life-cycle, we usually think of a baby growing into an adult, a female mating with a male, and then the female giving birth to a baby. But as Symbion pandora demonstrates, this isn’t always the case. Symbion pandora undergoes both asexual and sexual reproduction. Its life cycle is especially interesting because the timing of its sexual reproduction matches the moulting of its lobster host. This allows Symbion pandora to move from the lobster’s old shell to its new one, a remarkable solution to the problem of a temporary home. First described in 1995 by Peter Funch and Reinhardt Kristensen, Symbion pandora’s life-cycle provides insight on the incredible diversity and range in the ways organisms grow and reproduce.

Video and narration by Natividad Chen. The background music is a compilation of Bach’s Cello Suite 1 Prelude and Bach’s Flute Sonata 2, both played by Felipe Sarro.  This podcast is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

CreatureCast – Antarctic Krill Love Dance

posted by Sophia Tintori / on March 7th, 2011 / in Arthropods, lifecycles, Podcast, Science & Art

This is a really nice video that was published in the Journal of Plankton Research this past February, as a part of this article about krill.

Even though krill make up a large fraction of the living mass of the ocean (and are also the food for large charismatic sea mammals), many aspects of their biology is unknown, including the way they reproduce. Recently Dr. Kawaguchi and his colleagues filmed the process happening near the sea floor, which was surprising because krill are notorious for living their lives swimming around up higher in the water, far from the floor.

The footage that the researchers collected was a bit chaotic (above, left), and so they gave it to Lisa Roberts, an animator (and CreatureCast contributor), to illustrate the process. She traced the motions of the crustaceans from the videos, and also practiced the moves with some shrimp from the market (above, right).

The original video footage from the deep sea is also really nice to watch, and can be found here, at the Journal of Plankton Research website.

The animation at the top of the post, and the drawing at the bottom, were made by Lisa Roberts and released under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial Share-Alike 3.0 license. The soundtrack to the animation is by Graeme Ewing.