helmer Joseph

DESCIENCE GOES UNDER THE SEA by Scientist Sarah Lemer from Team Abyss Moana

Luxuriant underwater landscape of Bocas del Toro, Panama. Infinite species of marine invertebrates interact together and share space: starfishes, brittle stars, sea urchins anthozoans, sponges, tunicates and annelids.


 Many scientists know the struggle of having to explain their research to non-scientists, and let’s be honest - some of us are better at it than others. We all know how it feels when a friend, a relative or a complete unknown inquires about the nature of our professional activity. We also know that we are only given one shot to tell the story right, and it has to be captivating and meaningful, or we loose the listener’s attention in one second. After all, who wants to listen to the details of our last failed overnight experiment in the lab? Or the –only exciting to us- new methodology we are applying and how our last result (mysteriously) doesn’t seem to be reproducible? Not even our grandma!

In a sense, I am lucky to work in a field that most people can easily connect to, “Evolutionary Biology of Marine Invertebrates”, or just “Marine Biology” for friends and family. However, past the excitement of listening to adventurous fieldwork stories, encounters with wild marine creatures and dives in dream locations, comes the one question that people can’t help but ask: ‘so … what is your work good for?’ That’s when I regret I don’t work in cancer research where obviously nobody doubts about the usefulness of it!


It can be somewhat challenging to convince the novice of the importance of evolutionary biology because it has no direct application to our everyday life. My colleagues and I do not develop new technologies or improve human health. What we do is more basic, yet important: we try to understand the world around us, how it evolves in time and space, how we evolved with it and how all living things connect to each other from a biological and genetic point of view.

I focus on marine invertebrates (i.e. boneless animals) because they have been around for a very long time and thus are deeply connected and very well adapted to their environment. By studying these animals, we are provided with valuable insights on species evolution processes and… didn’t we all come from the oceans at first?

Marine invertebrates play essential roles in the various marine ecosystems available out there. They can actually be an ecosystem by themselves, like coral reefs, which create shelter, protection and nutrition for tons of other animals (including us humans!). They can also function as “ocean cleaners”, such as mussels, oysters and clams, which are constantly filtering the water. By using next generation sequencing tools, I seek into well-hidden genetic signatures of the past history of these species. Getting to know how they shaped the environment and how changes in the environment affected them, allows us to infer on how actual or future environmental changes will affect the fragile marine biodiversity. But most importantly, it will help us to better protect it! 


So let’s go back to the difficult task of explaining research to the public. In my collaboration with my designer, I experience something unique. Helmer listens carefully while I explain my research to him over and over again. I quickly realized he had a very special way to interpret was he was hearing: he visualizes my research in terms of shapes, colors and assemblages that he can relate to. I feel like he is translating my words and sentences into design, fabric and texture. Boneless animals became a fluid piece of fabric wrapped around a body, coral reefs were converted into colorful stacked pieces of embroideries and phylogenetic relationships became an accumulation of patterns and interconnected glass tubes – a whole new world!

And then I started dreaming… Next time someone asks me what my research is about and what it is good for, maybe a bright and colorful garment –a beautiful piece of art could help me explain it in a very intuitive way!

Team portfolio:


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Disney NOT moving forward with Tron 3

Time to riot “Tron” fans, “Tron 3″ is on its way out the door!

While fans may have been excited hearing news that Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde were returning for “Tron 3,” it turns out the film was never officially greenlit. An exclusive report from The Hollywood Reporter, revealed that Disney is no longer moving forward with “Tron 3.”

Disney has chosen not to move forward with a third installment in the sci-fi series, sources say. While sources say the project was never officially greenlit, earlier this year it seemed that things were moving ahead with Tron:Legacy helmer Joseph Kosinski returning to direct and stars Olivia Wilde and Garrett Hedlund reprising their roles.

It can be speculated as to why Disney is not moving forward with “Tron 3,” but many are assuming that the underwhelming performance of Tomorrowland could be the culprit. With the success of so many of their films, “Tomorrowland” could have been the film that made Disney lose their confidence and refuse to take the risk on “Tron 3.”

Despite their loss in confidence, many fans may disagree with Disney’s choice. The original “Tron” was a cult classic and “Tron: Legacy” was not necessarily a box office slump. The film grossed $400 million worldwide but despite the financial success, Disney may have felt their time and money would be better spent on a project other than “Tron 3.” With their acquirement of both Star Wars and Marvel, Disney could have their hands full.

I admit that the last “Tron” film wasn’t the greatest, but in my opinion it was a visual splendor. I’m not sure where the plot would go with “Tron 3″ and would suspect it to be a bit more dry, but nonetheless I was still interested in seeing the film. But despite my opinions, I’m sure Disney weighed their options based on a bunch of analytical data presented to them by actuaries and financial analysts which may have ruled in favor of box office failure. Even with that said, I think many fans will be extremely disappointed to hear this news.

What do you think? Did Disney make a smart choice or a blunder?

BREAKING: It’s Game Over for TRON 3

BREAKING: It’s Game Over for TRON 3

Although previous reports suggested that Walt Disney Pictures had plans to move forward with TRON 3, The Hollywood Reporter now brings word that the planned return to the Grid will not be happening. Both Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde were set to reprise their respective roles as Sam Flynn and Quorra with TRON: Legacy helmer Joseph Kosinski back at the helm. Sadly, the studio has elected not to…

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Disney Cancels Tron 3

Disney Cancels Tron 3

Tron 3 has been canceled. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney has pulled the plug on the sci-fi sequel. While the studio is said to have never officially green-lit Tron 3, production was gearing up to begin this fall, likely in Vancouver. Tron: Legacy helmer Joseph Kosinski was expected back to direct and Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde were to reprise their roles as Sam Flynn and…

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Disney Cancels Tron 3

Disney Cancels Tron 3

Tron 3 has been canceled. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney has pulled the plug on the sci-fi sequel. While the studio is said to have never officially green-lit Tron 3, production was gearing up to begin this fall, likely in Vancouver. Tron: Legacy helmer Joseph Kosinski was expected …read more Via:: IGN Movies

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