random-help asked:

What is your favourite animal?

I can’t really pick so I generally do a top five, which is:

  1. Millipedes
  2. Phasmids (especially Phyllium spp.)
  3. Sea Urchins
  4. Crabs
  5. Sponges

*Also sandpipers, gulls, beetles (esp. scarabaeids), auks, velvet worms, gastrotrichs, chaetognaths, other (non-crab) crustaceans, damselflies, moths, sengis, rotifers, sea spiders, siphonophores, bivalves, tusk shells, other echinoderms, ctenophores, webspinners, aquatic hemipterans, toad bugs, owlflies, poduromorph springtails, salps + larvaceans, characiform fish, procellariiform birds (esp. storm and diving petrels), and sandgrouse to name a few more :P….

He asked me about Taylor’s boyfriends and at that point I was so mad that I was almost yelling “DONT ASK ME ABOUT TAYLORS BOYFRIENDS ASK ME ABOUT TAYLORS CARRER OR TAYLORS KINDNESS OR HER CATS OR HER FEAR OF SEA URCHINS THATS ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW TOU DONT NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HER RELATIONSHIPS STFU!” I was so fired up and I would’ve kept going if the librarian didn’t come over and tell me to be quiet.

Images + GIFs : Deep-Sea Creatures

Continued: Last week we used GIFs to introduce some creatures that live at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, as captured on this live-stream for the past weeks. Here’s more! 

There’s a lot more photos and explanations where that came from.

Brought to you by: Researchers aboard the Okeanos Explorer who operated the sub; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) who led the expedition; and GIF-extraordinaire Rose.


Did you know that you can have a pet jellyfish without setting up an aquarium? All you need is an air plant, a sea urchin shell, and some fishing line. Or you can simply pay a visit to Petit Beast and adopt a pet jellyfish right away. That’s where LA-based designer and art director Cathy Van Hoang sells the utterly enchanting Jellyfish Air Plants that she’s been making for a few years now.

From an interview at Dearest Nature:

"When I discovered air plants and how hardy they were, I simply fell in love. I became an overly-enthusiastic air plant collector (hoarder), and our place was quickly becoming too densely populated. My boyfriend suggested that I start selling some of the plants in order to keep my collection from taking over our home and our lives. A couple photo sessions later, my Petit Beast shop was born!

The idea of turning air plants into jellyfish was an accidental one. I had the right ingredients to make them from the start. Sales really started to pick up and I was running out of space, so I started to hang them from the ceiling and voila. All of the positive responses I’ve been getting from people makes me very happy. I’m really glad that people are able to relate to them.”

Air plants come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, textures and colors. We think they’re awesome because they look like they come from alien planets and are also extremely easy to care for. Van Hoang has a great eye for pairing just the right plants with just the right sea urchin shells and sometimes even paints the shells to make the jellyfish even lovelier still.

Head over to the Petit Beast Etsy shop to check out even more of these delightful little planters. You can also follow Van Hoang right here on Tumblr at petitbeast.

[via Colossal]


Tiny glass rocketships?

Nope, just the larval form of sea urchins, called a pluteus (plural: plutei).

The pluteus swims and feeds using ciliated bands located on its arms and body (the pluteus’ arms are those projections that form the rocketship’s “base”).  

The pluteus serves as both a larval form and a sort of vehicle for the urchin. Over the course of several days, an urchin will begin to grow and develop inside the pluteus.

Then, when the time is right, the tiny rocketship will land onto an appropriate substrate (usually covered with algae and bacteria), and the young urchin will break out. The pluteus tissues then degenerate and are discarded or absorbed by the growing urchin.  

Video source: Plankton Chronicles

Reference: Hinegardner. 1969

                  Mazur and Miller. 1971.

A light microscope image of a purple sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus) egg after fertilization is shown here. The outer circle area is called the vitellien layer. Purple sea urchins may be found on rocky bottoms and grazing intertidal and subtidal waters. They feed primarily on algae and brown kelp.

Image credit: Dr. Douglas Chandler; from Arizona State University’s School of Life Sciences Ask a Biologist website

You know you are a marine scientist when...

  • You own more field clothes than professional clothes.
  • Your Keens are your most valuable pair of shoes.
  • You probably own a wetsuit for every kind of weather and water temperature (guilty, I own 5 wetsuits and a hoodie…).
  • You shake your head when you tell people you work in marine science and they say “so are you a dolphin trainer?”

  • The only fashion trends you care about are new scuba diving equipment.
  • You go full-on nerd when you can access a scientific paper for free.
  • You also go full-on nerd when your research gets published for the first time.
  • Statistics are your living nightmares.
  • Grants, grants, grants, grants…. grants!

  • You have an irrational obsession with the Cousteau family, Sylvia Earle and/or David Attenborough.
  • It’s very hard for you not to buy everything you see at the store that is ocean-related or that has a marine animal on it.
  • You get to spend time at sea or on remote islands with no access to the outside world or the Internet and actually enjoy it.
  • Chances are, you’ve been stung by fire coral, jellyfish multiple times, have had some urchin spines stuck in your leg, got bitten by damselfish or got weird rashes from who knows what was in the water?!

  • You often communicate using dive signs with your co-workers, even though you’re on land.
  • The sound of a biogeochemistry class doesn’t scare you away.
  • You usually have one favorite ocean species and get very fired up when people start arguing with you about it.
  • You have watched Blue Planet at least 20 times.
  • And The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. 

  • Similarly, you know every line from Finding Nemo.

  • You have inadvertently brought back wildlife home from the field, and only realized when you saw a little crab crawling around your bathroom floor.
  • You already have, or are seriously considering getting tattoos related to the marine life.
  • You get ridiculous tan lines in the summer doing field work.

  • One of your most acute fear is that something will get messed up in your tanks and will kill your live animals, i.e killing your dreams of a thesis. 
  • You have gone multiple days without a shower, and sometimes you’ve had to resort to a saltwater shower.
  • As a lady, your coworker are used to seeing you ‘au naturel’, because really, ain’t nobody got time for make-up while you’re in the field.
  • You think you are going to change the world… hey, maybe you will ;)