Nature Blog Network

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Cool New Backyard Visitor!

One of the joys about moving, and there are but few, is discovering the new critters inhabiting your property! My wife found this Spinybacked Orbweaver hard at work in our yard yesterday.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Zoanthid Histology

I uploaded some histology of a new zoanthid for collaborators in Japan to look at. Flickr is a great tool for sharing images and now I've found a work-related use for it! I don't have anything labeled but the descriptions for each image tell you what it is. The blue globby things are forams. Zoanthids are known to incorporate sand and sediment into their body wall to make them more rigid. As you can see from some of the cross sections, the mesenteries have very weak musclature. The staining protocol I used is called Masson's trichrome. Red stains for acidic tissues, like muscle fibers, while blue stains for basic tissues, such as connective tissue.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wear your Invert

We made our annual pilgrimage to a shopping mall the other day to visit the Apple Store (Closed for renovations!) and the tea store. On our way out Tammy spied some cool earings hanging in a small shop. What caught her eye from outside the store was the blue heron Cloisonné earrings. Once inside though she fell for the Monarch Butterflies. Today when I got home she showed me the creators website Tammy was psyched that they had nudibranch pins and earrings!

Actually they have a nice collection of marine and terrestrial invertebrates.

A persfect gift for your invert lover (take that however you need to!) or for yourself. Of course if you insist on having relations with a porpoise, Bamboo has you covered there too. But seriously wouldn't you rather wear a nudi?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Deepest Cuke

A WHOI summer student fellow, holding one of the deepest sea cucumbers ever found, recovered from the Mariana Trench. Stunning to think of this little echinoderm living 9,000-11,000m down with pressures of 16,000psi or more. Image copyright WHOI.

The deep exploration buzz online lately has justifiably been about the hopefully avoidable, premature retirement of the JSL manned subs – read up on the issue at Deep Sea News, then SIGN UP to try and save them – but there is another vehicle out there right now that deserves some praise: Nereus.

Out of Woods Hole, Nereus is an ROV designed from the ground up to go to the absolute depths of the oceans. On the 31st of May, it went all the way to the bottom of the Challenger Deep, the deepest spot in the oceans at 10,902m. Nereus is now the only currently operating vehicle to explore the Mariana Trench and only the third in history to have done so: the manned Trieste in 1960 and the ROV Kaiko in 1995-1998. Read more about the technological hurdles involved in designing and building Nereus, along with it's maiden voyage to the bottom of the seas. The very bottom.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Circus of the Spineless #39 Is Up!


Bug Girl's Blog is the host of this months Circus of the Spineless! Marine inverts represent with bivalves, crayfish and jellies. Also plenty of insects and arachnids for your viewing pleasure as well. Enjoy some fine nature writing and photography!