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

Federal Lab Tech (molecular genetics) job available at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center https://www.usajobs...
09/29/2020
Biological Science Laboratory Technician

Federal Lab Tech (molecular genetics) job available at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/579934400

The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) is a research institute of the Smithsonian Institution (SI) dedicated to ecological and environmental research and education.  Research and education at SERC cut across traditional disciplinary boundaries to investigate interrelationships....

Oh the lowly sponge. . .behold. "the sponge’s diagonal reinforcement strategy achieves the highest buckling resistance f...
09/23/2020
Mechanically robust lattices inspired by deep-sea glass sponges

Oh the lowly sponge. . .behold. "the sponge’s diagonal reinforcement strategy achieves the highest buckling resistance for a given amount of material" "with implications for improved material use in modern infrastructural applications" https://www.nature.com/articles/s41563-020-0798-1

Computational analysis and mechanical testing demonstrate that the skeletal system of a marine sponge has, through the course of evolution, achieved a near-optimal resistance to buckling.

09/20/2020
NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research

Dumbo Octopus video! by our friends at NOAA Okeanos Explorer!

TGI #OctopusFriday: This dumbo octopus was observed resting on the seafloor within the Pacific's Phoenix Islands Protected Area at ~1,535 meters depth before it took off, gliding through the water as if flying, propelled by the fins behind its eyes.

100 million year old ostracod intercourse! https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-09/caos-1ar091520.php?fbclid=IwA...
09/17/2020
100-million-year-old amber reveals sexual intercourse of ostracods

100 million year old ostracod intercourse! https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-09/caos-1ar091520.php?fbclid=IwAR369d3jbV4sMF4aWMYqpUrW-D_KiwjPt3QhzjxgAEw8WRiuk2zeZd3MXQY#.X2IVsvGJ_Dc.facebook

Dr. WANG He and Prof. WANG Bo, from the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NIGPAS), and their collaborators presented exceptionally well-preserved ostracods with soft parts (appendages and reproductive organs) from mid-Cretaceous Myanmar amber (~100 mi...

100 corals in our dept. have been digitized and made available with educational information! Done in conjunction with  @...
09/09/2020
Corals | 3D Digitization

100 corals in our dept. have been digitized and made available with educational information! Done in conjunction with
@Smithsonian3D and @thehydrous
https://3d.si.edu/corals

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and Digitization Program Office, in collaboration with The Hydrous, a non-profit organization whose mission is to create ‘open access oceans,' worked to digitize and create online experiences for a collection of coral and reef-dwelling specime...

Also meet Alex Makogon (@AlexH2Ocean), a young student enthralled by animal diversity, and who is studying at Coastal Ca...
08/31/2020
Intern Spreading the Animal Love

Also meet Alex Makogon (@AlexH2Ocean), a young student enthralled by animal diversity, and who is studying at Coastal Carolina University. https://nmnh.typepad.com/no_bones/2020/08/intern-spreading-the-animal-love.html

Hi! My name is Alex Makogon. Welcome to a part of the internet where you get to read about the incredible discoveries on our planet. For the next couple of months, I will be an intern with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History to bring you “no-spine” chilling stories...

IZ has a couple of brand new virtual interns, both early on in their respective careers. Check out an introductory No Bo...
08/31/2020
Intern at the Intersection of Biology and Art

IZ has a couple of brand new virtual interns, both early on in their respective careers. Check out an introductory No Bones post by Jenny Shi, who is interested in the intersection of art and biology. https://nmnh.typepad.com/no_bones/2020/08/intern-at-the-intersection-of-biology-and-art.html

Hi! My name is Jenny and I’m a new intern working with Dr. Allen Collins and Dr. Karen Osborn! I’ll be making art pieces based on new research and cool things in the invertebrate zoology department here at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. I am an incoming freshman...

NMNH Crustacea curator and former IZ department Chair Waldo Schmitt had more than crustaceans on his mind. Even got to t...
08/27/2020
The saga of Waldo Schmitt, the crustacean biologist obsessed with building a commuter rail subway in DC

NMNH Crustacea curator and former IZ department Chair Waldo Schmitt had more than crustaceans on his mind. Even got to testify to Congress.
https://ggwash.org/view/78849/the-saga-of-waldo-schmitt-the-crustacean-biologist-obsessed-with-building-a-commuter-rail-subway-in-dc-2

Prior to World War II, there were even more commuter rail lines leading into DC than there are now. Most of them ended at Union Station, just like they do today. But in the 1940s a man named Waldo Schmitt proposed a commuter rail subway to bring workers closer to the center of downtown, and to conne...

NEW genera and species of Antarctic brittle stars! by Research Associate Christopher Mah and Professor Masanori Okanishi...
08/26/2020

NEW genera and species of Antarctic brittle stars! by Research Associate Christopher Mah and Professor Masanori Okanishi at the Misaki Marine Biological Station in Japan. They report 4 new species and one new genus, including two multi-armed forms, which are unusual for brittle stars.

This paper was based on material present in the NMNH Invertebrate Zoology echinoderm collections. Collected by the US Antarctic Research Program in the late 1960s!
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12526-020-01080-w

Professor John Pearse a marine biologist and invertebrate zoologist, known widely throughout the field has died at age 8...
08/06/2020
Influential marine biologist John Pearse dies at 84

Professor John Pearse a marine biologist and invertebrate zoologist, known widely throughout the field has died at age 84 on July 31st in Monterey, California. John Pearse trained many generations of scientists and authored many lasting and significant contributions to the field. Much of his work was done on echinoderms, but he published on a wide range of animal groups across the world. An obituary issued from UC Santa Cruz is here:
https://news.ucsc.edu/2020/08/pearse-in-memoriam.html?ref=share

A leading authority on marine invertebrates and intertidal ecology, Pearse was a beloved teacher and mentor to generations of marine biologists.

Interesting study by NW Yeung, J Slapcinsky, JR Kim, Ken Hayes and IZ'a own Ellen Strong describes "the first new extant...
07/20/2020
Overlooked but not forgotten: the first new extant species of Hawaiian land snail described in 60 years, Auriculella gagneorum sp. nov. (Achatinellidae, Auriculellinae)

Interesting study by NW Yeung, J Slapcinsky, JR Kim, Ken Hayes and IZ'a own Ellen Strong describes "the first new extant species of Hawaiian land snail described in 60 years"! Makes one wonder how many "new" extinct species from Hawaii have been described in the past 60 years.https://zookeys.pensoft.net/article/50669/

Recent surveys of Oahu’s Waianae Mountains uncovered a small, previously undescribed species of Auriculella that is conchologically similar to the three members of the A. perpusilla group all of which are endemic to the Koolau Mountain Range. However, sequence data demonstrate that the perpusilla ...

Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History
07/17/2020

Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History

In a new study published today in Current Biology, Smithsonian research zoologist Karen Osborn and collaborators describe their discovery of the first ultra-black coloration in aquatic animals. They showed that 16 deep-sea fish species absorb all light that hits them, simply by manipulating the size, shape, and packing of the pigments within their skin cells. The mechanism is completely different from the few other known ways that animals make themselves ultra-black or how we manufacture ultra-black coatings. This could mean a new way to design the materials used in things like telescopes, cameras and camouflage gear.

The blackest fish the team tested, a species in the Oneirodes genus, reflected only 0.044 percent of light shone at it, blacker than ultra-black butterflies and about the same as the blackest feathers on Birds-of-paradise. In comparison, black construction paper reflects about 10 percent of light. This super-effective light absorption allows these fishes to appear virtually invisible against the dark backdrop of the deep sea and escape detection from both predators and prey.

Here, we show the second blackest fish the team found, the Pacific dragonfish. The Pacific dragonfish has a bioluminescent lure that they use to attract prey, and if not for their ultra-black skin and transparent, anti-reflective teeth, the reflection of their lure would scare prey away.

So, in IZ, not everyone works exclusively on invertebrates. Take for example this fascinating study just published by Ka...
07/16/2020
In the deep sea, scientists discover one of the blackest materials ever known

So, in IZ, not everyone works exclusively on invertebrates. Take for example this fascinating study just published by Karen Osborn and colleagues. Check it out to learn more about how some fishes can be so black in the black depths of the ocean.
https://www.inverse.com/science/ultra-black-fish-discovery

Ultra-black deep sea fish absorb nearly all the light that hit them, making hiding in open water a possibility.

NMNH post highlights the team efforts (much that happens in IZ) necessary for new species to be described. Science does ...
07/14/2020

NMNH post highlights the team efforts (much that happens in IZ) necessary for new species to be described. Science does not take place in a vacuum.

Last week in the journal Peer J, a **team** of scientists from NOAA and the Smithsonian introduced the world to the “E.T. sponge,” officially named Advhena magnifica. And we mean TEAM. To discover and describe a species requires a cast of experts who have to do an incredible amount of work, all in the name of discovering whom we share this planet with.

We thought we’d give you a peek behind the research and list all the different jobs and tasks that went into describing this particular deep-sea sponge. Various people had to: plan an expedition; pilot and crew the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s #Okeanos research vessel; pilot a remotely operated vehicle (ROV); control a high-definition camera; run a live-feed and chat-room with shore-based scientists; recognize that this was an interesting specimen; collect the animal; process the animal on board; keep associate collection data with the sample; ship the specimen to the Smithsonian; move the animal to an archival jar for long-term storage; create a permanent record for it in our collections; host a visiting researcher and sponge expert; examine the specimen carefully; run a microscope facility; compare it to all other similar specimens; write and edit a manuscript describing the species; illustrate the animal; submit it to a scientific journal; revise the manuscript; associate all images and videos with the collected specimen, and publish the manuscript.

All this work for one species. Why? There are many ways to answer that, but in the words of lead author Dr. Cristiana Castello Branco, “Sponges are one of the most diverse and abundant groups of organisms on the bottom of oceans, and they have huge impacts in the marine ecosystem. Many are large and provide structure in and around which other organisms live. Sponges are filter-feeding animals capable of maintaining the balance of micro flora and fauna and have important roles (as transformative agents) in the nitrogen and carbon cycles in the oceans. As sessile animals, they produce chemical compounds to defend themselves, which has importance to the pharmaceutical industry. So, the study of deep-sea sponge biodiversity provides a necessary basis for future environmental management decisions as well as bioprospecting studies.”

Invertebrate Zoology has lost one of its greats. Henry Reiswig, who described more than 150 sponge (probably a few other...
07/07/2020
Obituary of Henry Michael REISWIG | Earth's Option Cremation & Burial Services

Invertebrate Zoology has lost one of its greats. Henry Reiswig, who described more than 150 sponge (probably a few others) taxa has passed away, continually working. He will be missed, but his many contributions will live on. https://earthsoption.com/tribute/details/2385/Henry-REISWIG/obituary.html#content-start

Henry “Mike” Reiswig, 83, of Saanichton, B.C., died peacefully on July 4, 2020, doing something he loved: working in his lab, doing his science. He was born July 8, 1936, to parents Alex and Lenore Reiswig in St. Paul, Minnesota, but grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, along with his sister A...

Check out the impact of the mega-journal Zootaxa. Clarivate metrics suggest that more than one quarter of all new animal...
07/06/2020

Check out the impact of the mega-journal Zootaxa. Clarivate metrics suggest that more than one quarter of all new animal taxa, and new nomenclatural acts appear in this journal of incredible importance to the study of animal biodiversity. http://www.organismnames.com/metrics.htm?page=tsj

Written by NMNH Associate Rebecca Helm, and former IZ Postdoc. A nice reminder that the sometimes dreaded jellyfishes pl...
06/16/2020
You might hate jellyfish. But almost everything in the ocean depends on them (and we do too)

Written by NMNH Associate Rebecca Helm, and former IZ Postdoc. A nice reminder that the sometimes dreaded jellyfishes play crucial roles in ocean ecosystems.

We fear the humble jellyfish so much that we deploy shredders to keep the ‘jellypocalypse’ at bay. But jellyfish are misunderstood: they’re crucial to ecology and the economy – we need to completely reimagine ocean conservation.

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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.