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.