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LIKE BEES, MARINE MICRO INVERTEBRATES ARE POLLINATING SEAGRASS.

Researchers at the National Autonomous University of Mexico found something big! Seagrass reproduction was believed to rely exclusively on currents and tides, but now new evidence show that seagrass in the mexican waters -and surely in other parts- is pollinated by marine invertebrates such tiny crustaceans and bristle-worms.

Based in experimental evidence researchers demonstrated that marine invertebrates are pollinators of Turtlegrass (Thalassia testudinum). Since this kind of animal-seagrass interaction was practically unknown, cientists had to invented a new term: zoobenthophilous pollination.

- Different microfauna - crustacean larvae (a,b and c) and polychaeta (d) - with pollen grains. The bars represent mm.

Seagrass are one of the most productive ecosystems in the world. These environments are found in shallow salty waters in many parts of the world. Despite they are often confused with algaes, actually are related to the flowering terrestrial plants.

Hear that? Sound is a crucial part of marine ecosystems and can help organisms communicate and identify the whereabouts of mates, offspring, predators and prey. 

Groupers, like this marbled grouper in Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, are known to produce low-frequency “booms” that are loud enough for passing scuba divers to hear. A grouper makes this sound by contracting its sonic muscle, which in turn causes its swim bladder to contract and expand. These booms are usually made during courtship and spawning events. 

(Photo: G.P. Schmahl/NOAA)

This sinuous sea jelly is brilliantly crafted by Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka. Composed of hundreds of individually lampworked parts, this model underwent extensive cleaning before it could be displayed in the Fragile Legacy exhibition. 


Blaschka Nr. 207 

Halistemma punctatum (1885) 


All models in the Fragile Legacy exhibition were crafted by Leopold Blaschka and his son, Rudolf, in Dresden, Germany. Cornell purchased 570 Blaschka models in 1885; this model is on loan from Cornell University, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.