Invertebrate Zoology, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Invertebrate Zoology, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History SI Dept. Invertebrate Zoology & affiliates NOAA/NMFS National Systematics Lab. and USDA National Parasite Collection. News from and about the NMNH Dept.
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Invertebrate Zoology & its affiliates: NOAA/NMFS National Systematics Laboratory and USDA National Parasite Collection.

Operating as usual

Here is undoubtedly a FIRST for the department! Allen Collin's recently described new species of cydippid comb jelly Duo...
06/23/2021
Four Recently Discovered Sea Creatures

Here is undoubtedly a FIRST for the department! Allen Collin's recently described new species of cydippid comb jelly Duobrachium sparksae was used in a SKIT by SETH MEYERS last night! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugdVQ9V_6sA

Late Night staffers Amber Ruffin, John Lutz, Tarik Davis and Ben Warheit deliver a special educational performance about four recently discovered sea animals...

One of the world's premier experts on echinoderms, Loisette Marsh at the Western Australian Museum in Perth passed on th...
05/25/2021

One of the world's premier experts on echinoderms, Loisette Marsh at the Western Australian Museum in Perth passed on the 20th of May at 92. She was a ground-breaking scientist and naturalist who leaves behind an amazing research legacy.

New slideshow from Gizmodo on Lion's Mane jellies, featuring images by NOAA and some comments from IZ's NOAA Fisheries A...
05/24/2021
The Lion's Mane Jellyfish Is Huge and Looks Out of This World

New slideshow from Gizmodo on Lion's Mane jellies, featuring images by NOAA and some comments from IZ's NOAA Fisheries Affiliate Allen Collins. https://earther.gizmodo.com/inside-the-dreamy-world-of-the-longest-jellyfish-on-ear-1846891158

I sincerely wondered if the otherworldly creature in the photo was real or computer-generated, perhaps for a sci-fi TV show. However, the photo is very real, as is the creature in it. This is the lion’s mane jellyfish, the longest jellyfish in the world.

For anyone who has experienced tired thumbs from forcing water through a filter at the end of a syringe to capture eDNA....
05/20/2021
Passive eDNA collection enhances aquatic biodiversity analysis

For anyone who has experienced tired thumbs from forcing water through a filter at the end of a syringe to capture eDNA. . . more passive methods can work well! https://www.nature.com/articles/s42003-021-01760-8

Bessey et al. present a method of passive eDNA collection from marine aquatic systems. This approach enables lower cost, high throughput sampling of aquatic environments and demonstrably collects high levels of eDNA for biodiversity studies.

Great shot of brisingid sea stars, unusual deep-sea asteroids that use small claw like structures called pedicellariae o...
05/08/2021

Great shot of brisingid sea stars, unusual deep-sea asteroids that use small claw like structures called pedicellariae on their spines to capture food from water currents!

Keeping our eyes on the stars. ⁠🌟

Brisingids are unusual sea stars found in the deep sea. They are different from typical sea stars because they use the spines on their arms as velcro to capture tiny prey as food. This group of brisingids was caught on camera in Rodriguez Seamount, off the coast of Southern California. ⁠

The summit of Rodriguez Seamount is a smooth, gently domed platform. Rough hills stand above the platform and consist of dense, degassed ‘a‘a flows that erupted on the surface. Rodriguez stood at least 70 meters (230 feet) above sea level and formed a small island before sinking at least 700 meters (2,300 feet) seven to 11 million years ago.

We've lost an important member of the IZ community, Mary E. Rice, who before her retirement served as Curator/Research Z...
04/30/2021

We've lost an important member of the IZ community, Mary E. Rice, who before her retirement served as Curator/Research Zoologist with IZ from 1966 to 2002. She enriched so many of our lives and she will be deeply missed. But her accomplishments will continue to inspire.

We are saddened to report that Smithsonian Senior Research Scientist Emeritus and former director of the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce, Dr. Mary Esther Rice, passed away yesterday at the age of 94.

Having joined our staff in 1966, Mary was one of the first female research scientists and curators in our Department of Invertebrate Zoology and she was the founding director of what is now the Smithsonian Marine Station at Ft. Pierce, Florida. This latter achievement brought to fruition her vision of establishing of a facility where scientists from the Smithsonian and beyond would acquire hands-on access to marine life and the means to pursue their specialized areas of interest.

Mary had a long-standing interest in the life histories of marine invertebrates with a special focus and passion for sipunculan worms which carried on well into her retirement.

Mary’s vision and commitment to mentoring has enabled multiple generations of scientists to pursue knowledge and provide invaluable contributions toward a better understanding of our natural world.

Smithsonian NMNH has a forthcoming Ocean DNA Initiative, and among other things it addresses how to take advantage of th...
04/25/2021

Smithsonian NMNH has a forthcoming Ocean DNA Initiative, and among other things it addresses how to take advantage of the current wave (and coming tsunami) of eDNA studies. Several IZ researchers are part of this far reaching initiative, which is being led by IZ's Chris Meyer, and we can expect to hear a lot about its activities going forward.

In the meantime, check out this write up about recent work led by former IZ Fellow Cheryl Ames (with NMNH Research Collaborator Aki Ohdera, IZ's Allen Collins, and others). This study describes a portable system that allowed researchers to identify jellyfish in the field in nearly real time.

https://ocean.si.edu/ocean-life/invertebrates/tracking-down-ocean-species-go-using-edna

Smithsonian NMNH has a forthcoming Ocean DNA Initiative, and among other things it addresses how to take advantage of the current wave (and coming tsunami) of eDNA studies. Several IZ researchers are part of this far reaching initiative, which is being led by IZ's Chris Meyer, and we can expect to hear a lot about its activities going forward.

In the meantime, check out this write up about recent work led by former IZ Fellow Cheryl Ames (with NMNH Research Collaborator Aki Ohdera, IZ's Allen Collins, and others). This study describes a portable system that allowed researchers to identify jellyfish in the field in nearly real time.

https://ocean.si.edu/ocean-life/invertebrates/tracking-down-ocean-species-go-using-edna

04/12/2021

Strange eyes, stranger brains: exceptional diversity of optic lobe organization in midwater crustaceans – new in Proceedings B this week: https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rspb.2021.0216

Nervous tissue is one of the most energetically expensive tissues to build and maintain, therefore neural arrangements in a given animal group are typically highly conserved. Here, the authors report results of divergent evolution in the visual brain of hyperiid amphipods, a relatively small group of crustaceans that possess an unusually wide diversity of compound eyes. They show that the structure and organization of hyperiid optic lobes has not only diverged from the crustacean neural ground pattern, but is also highly variable between closely related genera. The findings demonstrate a variety of tradeoffs between sensory systems and even within the visual system alone, thus providing evidence that selection has modified individual components of the central nervous system to generate distinct combinations of visual centers. The results provide new insights into the patterns of brain evolution among animals that live under extreme conditions.

Interesting study published in PNAS. "dip in species richness around the equator ... has become more pronounced as the c...
04/07/2021
Global warming is causing a more pronounced dip in marine species richness around the equator

Interesting study published in PNAS. "dip in species richness around the equator ... has become more pronounced as the climate has warmed, especially for pelagic species. " https://www.pnas.org/content/118/15/e2015094118

We use distribution data on 48,661 species to show that marine biodiversity has been responding to climate warming at a global scale. We show that marine species richness levels off or declines in latitudinal bands with average annual sea surface temperatures exceeding 20 °C. This results in a dip ...

More gorgeous blackwater diving imagery! Featuring many invertebrates! https://ocean.si.edu/ocean-life/fish/blackwater-d...
04/04/2021
Blackwater Divers Illuminate Sea Life at Night

More gorgeous blackwater diving imagery! Featuring many invertebrates! https://ocean.si.edu/ocean-life/fish/blackwater-divers-illuminate-sea-life-night?fbclid=IwAR0MlacttZmBOUPPK1j6jz6nyEUzRvlmKGXpKyQb5p4hxLfGOhzoa7DQB70

slideshow Blackwater Divers Illuminate Sea Life at Night Blackwater diving is a recreational form of scuba diving that occurs during the dark of night. Descending into the epipelagic zone (0-200 m), divers sweep lights to illuminate organisms, many of which have risen from the deep ocean to feed und...

An ongoing effort by many museums and the basis of several research programs! https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/...
03/27/2021
Scientific Specimens Are Going Online, But Much Remains Hidden In Storage

An ongoing effort by many museums and the basis of several research programs! https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/03/27/977512208/scientific-specimens-are-going-online-but-much-remains-hidden-in-storage?fbclid=IwAR3jUB93Y2ml01VQxSgBShw_YMm1jDnkP46oOQZkGdPqqekG4ffy4bQ8yyI

From fish in jars to rare seeds and microbes, hundreds of millions of biological specimens are stored around the U.S., and caretakers are trying to make them accessible for future research.

03/06/2021
Parasitic Nematodes!

Department postdoc showing off parasitic nematodes inside its insect host!

MORE Parasite stuff!
03/04/2021

MORE Parasite stuff!

"A team has been working to modernize the US National Parasite Collection since it arrived at the Smithsonian in 2014. These particular worms are the species Ascaris lumbricoides collected from a pig in Taipei in 1957. If you think these worms are a tight fit for the jar, then you might be surprised to learn that all of these worms came from the intestine of the same pig." - Anna Phillips, Curator of the US National Parasite Collection Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History #ParasiteWeek2021

More on the National Parasite Collection housed in our department!
03/04/2021

More on the National Parasite Collection housed in our department!

We regret to inform the passing of one of the world's foremost crustacean experts, Alain Crosnier who worked heavily wit...
03/04/2021

We regret to inform the passing of one of the world's foremost crustacean experts, Alain Crosnier who worked heavily with the French ORSTOM and the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle (the French National Museum of Natural History). He collaborated with NMNH crustacean scientists such as Ray Manning (seen below) among others. More on his life below http://www.marinespecies.org/news.php?p=show&id=8697

We regret to inform the passing of one of the world's foremost crustacean experts, Alain Crosnier who worked heavily with the French ORSTOM and the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle (the French National Museum of Natural History). He collaborated with NMNH crustacean scientists such as Ray Manning (seen below) among others. More on his life below http://www.marinespecies.org/news.php?p=show&id=8697

03/03/2021
Live Tapeworm

From our resident parasitology Curator Anna Phillips' parasite files! This striking video of a bird tapeworm! #WormWednesday part of Parasite Week 2021!

From postdoc Kelly Speer! Consider the parasites!
03/03/2021
Why We Need to Save the Parasites

From postdoc Kelly Speer! Consider the parasites!

Parasite extinction will have lasting and far-reaching consequences for biodiversity, and subsequently for humans.

Parasitology is rockin' it on NMNH social media this week! Go check it out on Twitter!
03/03/2021

Parasitology is rockin' it on NMNH social media this week! Go check it out on Twitter!

It's #ParasiteWeek2021 and three of our experts—Jimmy Bernot, Anna Phillips, and Kelly Speer (L-R)—will be taking over our social media platforms to teach you about everything from their natural history to why their conservation (yes conservation!) matters.

Excellent new paper on jellies of the Baltic, by Jaspers, former IZ intern Nick Bezio, and Hinrichsen. "For the Baltic S...
02/22/2021

Excellent new paper on jellies of the Baltic, by Jaspers, former IZ intern Nick Bezio, and Hinrichsen.
"For the Baltic Sea we can conclude that non-indigenous gelatinous zooplankton species are on the rise and represent a matter of concern due to their high abundances and novel grazing impact on ecosystem level." https://www.mdpi.com/1424-2818/13/2/57

Excellent new paper on jellies of the Baltic, by Jaspers, former IZ intern Nick Bezio, and Hinrichsen.
"For the Baltic Sea we can conclude that non-indigenous gelatinous zooplankton species are on the rise and represent a matter of concern due to their high abundances and novel grazing impact on ecosystem level." https://www.mdpi.com/1424-2818/13/2/57

IZ's Chris Meyer describes OceanBiocode, an Ocean Shot -- "defined as an ambitious, transformational research concept th...
02/05/2021
Meyer Chris of Smithsonian NMNH describes an "Ocean Shot" concept for the US UNDecade: OceanBiocode

IZ's Chris Meyer describes OceanBiocode, an Ocean Shot -- "defined as an ambitious, transformational research concept that draws inspiration and expertise from multiple disciplines and fundamentally advances ocean science for sustainable development" for the US UNDecade. This collaborative concept is to create a comprehensive DNA sequence library for all marine species. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQ3X49HQurs&feature=youtu.be

Meyer Chris of Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History describes OceanBiocode, an Ocean Shot -- "defined as an ambitious, transformational research co...

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Comments

Can anyone identify this? To my untrained eye it looks like part of a worm, found it in my bathroom sink. This specimen is between 1/8 and 1/4 inch long.
This is a spawning helmet urchin. From the Seattle Aquarium.
What are the kinds of invertebrate?
The Importance of Natural History
Worth a re-posting... "While standing in line for a job interview during WWII, she overheard that men standing in the next line were going to get paid much more than those in her line. She then switched lines and became a spot welder, rather than a typist."
Former SI PhD students hit the big-time;-)
OK, these are not invertebrates but the invertebrate story is much more scary!
#ICYMI For some of us, everyday is jellyfish day. ;-)
And this is how passionate some of us are about documenting meiofauna!
Thanks Maikon Di Domenico and Ulf Jondelius for reminding of a wonderful shout-out for beach MEIOFAUNA by E.O. Wilson and Robert Krulwich. No offense to E.O. but there are not just 14 phyla in the sand; there are more than 20.