Spotted salamanders and green algae make for an odd couple, but they share a close bond that begins when the algae start growing in the salamander’s egg. Just because it’s an intimate arrangement, though, doesn’t mean it goes smoothly for both parties, a new study by Museum scientists shows. While salamanders seem to take the connection in stride, it leaves algae cells struggling to get by.
This rare “cellular roommate” relationship between two very different species—which you can learn about in this episode of the Museum’s Shelf Life web series—has intrigued scientists for decades. That’s in part because, while algae are known to form similar relationships with invertebrates like corals and cicadas, this is the only algae symbiosis that involves a vertebrate species.
“Science shows us the many ways that life is interconnected, especially on the microscopic level, where we see how many organisms depend on close contact with or internalization of other species for food, defense, or reproduction,” said lead author John Burns, a postdoctoral researcher in the Museum’s Division of Invertebrate Zoology. “But the relationship between this particular alga and salamander is very unusual.”
You gently placed yourself on the freshly cutgrass, responding
with a consumed hum. Your view was exquisite, the sun just touched the open
waters of the lake, and if you looked closely, you could see the ripples formed
from its touch.
The winds were something you would never forget, how the
simple kiss of its warm air blew your long strands of hair onto your petite
face. It was October. Placing your gaze
on the tree that hung low above your head, you started to count all the red
leaves. The more you counted, the more lethargic you got. Red was your favourite
colour, it expressed such a diverse set of emotions it simply fascinated you…One
may use it to express anger, or one can use it to portray excitement.
Ever since you were 7, with a passion for painting, you
would sign your name on every art piece you’ve made in red ink…to show the
emotion you felt while creating your piece…but it was up to the viewer to identify
whether you were joyful or resentful. You’ve always dreamed of being an artist,
imagining your work next to great artists like Da Vinci or Donatello, you
wanted to be remembered…and the way you wanted to be was for your refined red
“Do you wanna get going Y/N? Your momma’s gonna be angry
again” Jimmy whispered in your ear,
You lost count at 125, and thanked Jimmy for that. You
turned to Jimmy, who was focused on the horizon.
“Why are you whispering?” You replied…in a whisper. Jimmy
turned to you, giving you a warm smile,
“Because, It’s all so perfect, I don’t wanna ruin it” You
closed your eyes. He was right, the field you both rested on was quiet, the
leaves sang quietly on the trees, and the sound of cicadas followed. You’ve
always wondered what it would be like to live in a big city, or by the seaside…but
with your mother’s shortage of money, those dreams were as unrealistic as you
wanting to be an artist. Letting out a sigh, it was quiet again…that was until
Jimmy decided to clear his throat.
“We should get going” Jimmy said in defiance,
“But I don’t wanna” Your response came out as a child’s
“Me neither” Jimmy chuckled, propping himself up with his
“But we gotta.” Jimmy was right, the sky was setting and
your mom specifically asked you to be home before the stars came out.
“I can’t wait to be 18…so I can runaway” You said, wiping
the dust off your ripped jeans,
“Y/N, you’re only 12… and plus, you should be happy you got
both parents…consider yourself lucky.” Jimmy giggled.
You both walked out of the open field, and headed down the
trail you and Jimmy made.
“Bobby made fun of me again, he called me lobster boy” Jimmy
was never the one to open up about his feelings, but after years of reassurance
that you weren’t judgemental, he finally opened up.
You knew about his hands, and honestly, you didn’t care. You
don’t remember how you met Jimmy, but you were happy that you did.
“Tell him to stick one up his ass” You replied, rather
“A lady shouldn’t speak like that,” he continued.
“Well I’m no ordinary lady then?” Jimmy shook his head,
“No you’re not…but that’s why you’re my best friend” He
smiled, wrapping an arm around your shoulder,
“You’re really leaving Jimmy?” You promised him you wouldn’t
be sad, you promised him you would stay strong, but how could you stay strong
if he wasn’t going to be there with you along the way?
“Yeah…it sucks, I wish I could take you in one of my
suitcases” He said, embracing you closer into his hold,
“I think I could fit” You both chuckled, but it soon faded
into a mournful atmosphere. The walk stayed silent, usually the silence between
you two was always comfortable…but today, knowing that was the last time you
would sit under the same tree you went to for 3 years…it was languishing.
You were steps from his home that was now just a house
“My mom’s gonna miss you” He said, breaking the silence,
“She really likes you.”
“Tell her I’m gonna miss her too, and that I wish her the
best of luck at her new job” You replied.
“Oh! I got you something!” Jimmy said, before running back
into his house. You waited with a smile as you heard him shuffle throughout the
“Here,” Jimmy said breathlessly as he jumped the last step.
He placed a small box in your hand that had your name on it written on the bow.
“Open it!” Jimmy’s outburst made your heart jump,
“Jeez, do that again and I wont be able to do anything!” You
retorted, grasping at your heart, dramatically.
You pulled out the ribbon and removed the top of the box.
In it was two necklaces’, connected with a broken heart
charm. The gold letters that were engraved were;
“Best Friends Forever”
Jimmy took one half of the heart and put it around his neck,
“See, now if we wear this forever we can find each other…eventually”
Jimmy took the other half and motioned you to turn around; speechless you did
what he asked.
His hands snaked around your shoulders and placed the
necklace on your neck.
“Do you like it?” Jimmy asked from behind you.
You turned around,
“I love it, thank you so much!” You ran to Jimmy and wrapped
him in an embrace, feeling his arms instantly hug you back,
“I’m really gonna miss you Jimmy” You said, finally letting
the tears fall freely down your cheeks,
“And I’m gonna miss you more” Jimmy whispered, kissing your
“Why are you whispering again?” You asked, pulling away from
“Close your eyes” He instructed.
Hesitantly, you closed your eyes. The sudden silence made
you curious, and wondered if Jimmy left.
“Jimmy?” You called, as the urge to open your eyes grew. The
The heat from a presence hit your skin, and hands cupped
your cheeks, in less than a second your lips were connected with his. His hair
tickled your forehead, and his breath warmed your skin. Butterflies danced in
your stomach as you felt the kiss slightly deepen. Slowly, he pulled away.
It felt as if those butterflies reached up your throat and
held your tongue, because you were rendered speechless.
“Always remember me ok?” He said, removing his hands from
your skin, but not before slowly grazing it with his thumb.
“Okay” You whispered, feeling his touch finally leave your
skin for good.
“A freakshow?” Your friend snarled,
“Why would you wanna go to one of those?” You couldn’t answer,
you didn’t know yourself as to why you wanted to go…but nevertheless you wanted
“Because, now c’mon! It’ll be fun” You flashed her a toothy
grin as you waved the tickets in her face.
“Alright fine” she groaned, grabbing one.
“Even though you’re 25 you’re an ass driver” Your friend
said, getting out of the car,
You ignored her remark and jogged to her,
You handed your tickets and made your way to the almost vacant set of seats.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, everything you’ve heard is true, all
that has been advertised is here, under this tent”
A lady, who was in fact Jimmy’s mother, stepped on stage and
recited her speech as if practised for hours. The sight of his mother brought
memories back, you longed to know how Jimmy was doing.
The sound of your friend’s laughter distracted you from her
“Stop laughing” You warned,
You turned back to Ethel on the stage,
“From jungles untamed to forest enchanted. From the Dark
Continent to the spice-laden lands of India. Astounding mistakes of nature, are
gathered here, for your amusement and your edification”
“See” Your friend said,
“They want us to laugh,” she snorted; you ignored her lack
of decency and remained focused on the show.
The show was filled with acts of the underestimated,
and laughter’s filled the air from their cheesy yet humorous jokes.
“Now, for our next performer—lobster boy!” Your longing to
know how Jimmy was soon became short as he walked on stage.
Out of all the ways you could of reunited, at a coffee shop,
on the streets or even at a park…you reunited with Jimmy darling at a freak show—and
he was one of them.
His juggling act was enthralling; he concentrated on the
baseballs as he added more. With a strong finish, he gave the crowd of four a
His eyes, leaving the floorboard to your eyes, brought the
same feeling in your stomach as the first time he kissed you. Shock was evident on
his face, he stayed frozen, consuming the same matter you were.
Standing up, you watched Jimmy jump from the stage down to
the audience floor.
“Jimmy?” You called, allowing the smile you tried hiding to show on your face.
“Y/N,” he replied, your heart began to race as he stopped in
front of you.
“It’s really you” He said with a chuckle,
“i’ve missed you,” your heart warmed from his expression of emotion, it reminded you of how much he trusted you.
“I see you’ve been doing good, lobsterboy” You teased,
“Well juggling isn’t the only thing I can do with my hands” he pointed out, wiggling his eyebrow,
“You’re disgusting” You giggled,
“Call me what you want” He smirked. In less than 5 minutes, you were both in deep conversation, talking about absolutely everything.
“Do you still have that necklace?” He asked, eyeing your chest.
“Not on me no, but it’s in my room…and my eyes are up here” You said, lifting his chin with your finger.
“Me too” He smiled, it was a smile you missed, and it was the only smile that could make you feel better, in any situation.
“Hey,” Jimmy said,
“Close your eyes”
From the moment you closed your eyes, you felt his lips
softly touch yours, a feeling you almost forgot. His hands cupped your face,
pulling you closer. You felt like you were 12 again, on his lawn, and kissing
Jimmy for the first time. You remembered that day…the singing of the leaves,
and the sunset that ended that day so beautifully. You remembered counting the
red leaves with Jimmy by your side, and the promise Jimmy made you make, which
you undeniably kept.
He pulled away,
“I’m sorry, but I needed to do that” He chuckled as his thumb grazed your cheek—like
“God, you’re so beautiful,” he breathed out,
“I can’t say I love you, it’s been 13 years since I last
loved you…but stay with me in my tent for a couple of days, meet everyone so
they can finally meet the girl I’m always talking about.”
“Fuck, who am I kidding? 13 years later and you’re still on
my damn mind. You were the only one who cared for me, and treated me like a
person…anyone would fall in love with someone as pure as you.”
Jimmy held your hand,
“Please stay? They’re nice people, and they would love you”
“Anyone would” he added.
The show ended minutes earlier, you missed everything after Jimmy’s performance. You felt whole again with Jimmy, it felt as if he was in fact the other piece to your heart, and now you had the chance to see for yourself.
“Okay” You replied, giving him a warm smile,
“But what’s with the whispering again?” You giggled, inching
closer to him. Jimmy quickly pecked your lips,
“Because it’s all so perfect…I
don’t wanna ruin it”
DHV HWDC IM SORRY I’M SICK AND I APOLOGIZE THAT THIS IMAGINE IS TRASH XO. It took longer to write than expected and I’m sorry again :’( hope you enjoyed!
You should’ve used that escape rope while you still could..
Giratina: “..You’re too tall.”
Okay, I’m going to be honest, I’m not feeling the best at the moment. I’m just thinking about a lot of things and I’m trying stay in a good mood but unfortunately, it’s not easy. Anyways, here, have a Giratina cicada blocking a Rayquaza.
Sorry it’s not much, maybe in a few days I’ll get it together.
Ever since Jimin was a little boy he loves going to his window at night and just staring up at the stars. There was just something so magical about the bright little lights that cast across the sky once the sun sets.
It was something that never ceased to fascinate him. What was going on out there? Why was he here? What charged those bright lights up in the sky and why can’t he reach out and just grasp them in his tiny hands forever?
He heard others preaching about God, and how he created the sun, stars, and the moon. How God made everything in his life possible but Jimin had such a hard time grasping the concept of one spiritual being creating such a complicated universe, one which expanded millions of miles out to no end whatsoever. How? It was something he never thought of, seemed too illogical to him. But he never brought it up, letting his mother talk to him about how God created light and that’s why it now shined down upon them.
Jimin was a good kid. He got good grades in school and he did his chores. He stayed up until 9pm doing homework and when he was done he would take a shower and get ready for bed. Yet, there was something just nagging at his brain telling him to go out. And maybe it was the telescope his father had bought for him for his 18th birthday last week.
He fought against it, telling himself that staying out until 3am was a school night and he had to be up a ready in the morning. So he readied himself for bed, taking off his glasses and slipping under his covers.
That lasted about 5 minutes before the boy was springing out of his bed and putting his glasses back on. Quick to slip on a pair of shoes and grab the bag that contained his telescope he quietly made his way out of his house.
Jimin walked down the dead street of the night, making his way towards the large open field behind an old abandoned school. The sound of cicadas filled the air and crickets chirping as he walked through the tall grass and found his favorite rock to sit on and began to set up his telescope.
After a few minutes of adjusting the legs and getting it to stay in a steady position he took the lens cap off and peered down to look through. and it was a bit blurry at first until he began turning the knob, focusing and zooming in on the stars above.
It was just absolutely mesmerizing.
Surely Jimin wasn’t a genius, but he knew there was just no way what his parents said made any sense. How could someone- spirit or not create something to vast and full of individual uniqueness? Every being on earth being remnants of stardust seemed more logical, because essentially everything in the universe is just mere stardust isn’t it? Personally Jimin found being called stardust was much more pretty than God’s children anyway.
Jimin didn’t know how long he had already been there, just gazing up at the stars above him, but he made sure to remind himself to bring a notebook next time, wanting to map out the constellations that were visible to him right of now.
Jimin only wished he had someone to share his passion with. Or rather he already had someone he wanted to take on these nightly stargazing trips on but…
His name was Jeon Jungkook. The guy Jimin has been crushing on since freshman year and his heart was completely taken over buy this one Jungkook. Jimin was pretty sure Jungkook only acknowledges him because he is nice to everyone though, that boy was too popular to waste his time one someone like Jimin. At least that was what he thought.
“What are you thinking about?” he heard a voice next to him, which caught Jimin off guard. His startled body turning to see Jungkook lying down on the grass next to him, staring up at the sky with a soft smile on his face. His handsome face turning to look at Jimin for a moment.
“W-What are doing here?” Jimin asked, actually almost creeped out by his longtime crush just being right there without him knowing.
“What do you mean why am I here? Don’t you want to look at the stars together?” Jungkook asked, giving Jimin his full attention.
Jimin found himself blushing, blinking at Jungkook who seemed to think this was just completely normal.
“Well I- I mean…” Jimin started but could barely get the words out. Looking down and fumbling with the sleeves of his pajama shirt.
Jungkook’s laughter filled the silent air around them, it was small but full of life and kindness. Not meant to make Jimin feel embarassed or that he was being laughed at.
“You’re so cute…” He said, making Jimin’s cheeks heat up even more and the lenses of his glasses began to fog. Quickly taking them off and wiping at them, but didn’t bother to put them back on as he heard Jungkook shifting from where he was sitting on the ground.
Once Jimin looked back up Jungkook was kneeling on one knee, tilting his head a little to look at Jimin with a hint of curiosity to his eyes. “Can you do me a favor?” Jungkook asked.
Jimin stared at him for a moment before nodded, making Jungkook smile that bright smile once more. The other’s hand reaching out to ruffle his hair a bit, “Wake up.” He said.
Jimin furrowed his brows in confusion. Wake up?
“Come on, Jimin, wake up.” He said again.
Jimin was so confused and-
His eyes opened, revealing a very brightly lit room. His classroom. Oh…it was all a dream then, huh?
“You awake?” Jimin heard and blinked his tired eyes a bit before looking up at seeing Jungkook there, hovering above his desk. He felt his cheeks began to heat up, pushing back in his chair to stand up as he scrambled for his things to shove into his bag.
“Yeah- yeah I am, thanks Jungkook.” He said and zipped his bag up to just go home already.
“No problem, I wasn’t just going to leave you for a janitor to find.” He said with a smile that made Jimin’s heart absolutely melt.
“Anyway, I’ll see you tomorrow, Jimin, get some sleep tonight okay?” Jungkook added as he began to walk backwards towards the door. Jimin nodded and like that Jungkook was gone out the door, on his way home.
Jimin finished to grab his phone and notebook he had been doodling in during class and saw something written in the corner that made his pouting lips turn up into a bright smile.
“Jungkook 984-xxx-xxxx also you like space a lot don’t you? I like Star Wars if that counts for anything, text me :,)”