Sunday, April 14, 2013

From sea squirts to hula skirts: Finishing up marine invertebrates

This past week at Hatfield was successful even with the papers, presentations, and practicals.

Searching for critters

Ctenophores from the docks

 In between lectures about Marine Invertebrates, John Chapman and Silvia Yamada came and presented their interests, respectively, about the Japanese tsunami debris from 2011 and the invasive Carcinus maenas, the European green crab. 
On Tuesday we ventured to the docks in search of Ctenophores and Amphipods.
However, no box jellies were in sight at the docks.

The Whale Riders
Wednesday night’s Marine Invertebrate presentations were amazing and went swimmingly. Each group chose a favorite invertebrate to research and write about, as well as present the information in a creative and entertaining way. 
Puppet show!

Kelp Crab blues
Some of the highlights from this evening were musical stylings about Platyhelminthes (flat worms) and Pugettia producta (the Kelp crab), poetry, an entertaining puppet show for the Giant Pacific Octopus, a Whale Rider (Isopods) skit, cookie decorating for Decorator crabs, and fun and games for box jellyfish and the king crab, which was presented by our own Deadliest Catch fishermen.
Alexander's awesome use of technology to teach about the sea angel with fun and humorous animations

            At the end of this week, we were busy studying for our exam and a lab practical. Some students even participated in a species Jeopardy game to practice the Latin names. Otherwise we were hard at work in the library and lab before completing exams on Friday. We celebrated our first section with a potluck luau put on by the students.

Box Jelly Games
            Lately in the science world, there are promising horizons for a not-so-tasty tunicate. Tunicates or sea squirts are closely related to us Homo sapiens, as they are also in the phylum Chordata. When tunicates are in their larval stage they possess a notochord, dorsal hollow nerve chord, pharyngeal gill slits, and a post-anal tail before they settle down to a sessile state as adults. 

Our Fishermen!
Besides the sea pineapple, a tunicate delicacy in Korea for sushi and Kim chi, tunicates also have brought new and exciting contributions to the health world. Synioicum adareanum is found in sub tidal areas of Antarctica and possesses a polyketide amide that is potent at targeting melanoma cells, while not destroying normal cells. This is an important finding for cancer research and development for a worldwide health concern. Currently this polyketide amide is in the process of being synthesized so no more sea squirts will be exploited for this compound as a cancer treatment.


The ocean is full of potential for medical uses and other human services just waiting to be discovered, another reason for us to take care of our oceans.

Thank you Sally and Reuben for a great Marine Invertebrates Section! We look forward to studying fish.

Our Platyhelminthes song
Emily, Katie and Ellen

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