I’m not sure why, but something really caught me about this piece…
What would your favorite found-object sea-creature be?
I just saw this video from the Pawlik lab doing work done in the Aquarius habitat in the Caribbean. I just adore it. There’s something about the lighthearted sense of fund and enjoyment behind the soundtrack that syncs up with the work that’s being done that captures some of the essence of what subtidal work can be (even for those of us in colder temperate climes). Enjoy this research pastiche!
Pure awesomeness, that’s what. This year’s crop features a number of epic ballads, rap superstars, and more. I think I’ll highlight my current two favorites, but you should definitely go check out the whole bunch or go back and revisit last year’s (particularly Under the Boat (featuring K. Hovel)).
First off, we have the Lobster Rock Anthem, about Aplysia californica’s crazy chemical defense (pdf) against lobster predation. I think this group is fantastic – clever lyrics and great style.
And then the award for best costuming goes to…Key Mesograzers. A rhapsody on Hay et al.’s 1987 classic
Great work, all! Can’t wait to see what they cook up next year!
So, I’ve been getting some questions about how one can make their own Yeti-crabs-dance-to-music video. So here’s a quick guide for the interested folk who haven’t played around with audio or video before but want to try it out. So, here’s what I did, step-by-step, in 9 easy steps. All told, this took me, eh, 5 minutes.
1) Go and read Dancing for Food in the Deep Sea: Bacterial Farming by a New Species of Yeti Crab by Thurber et al. before anything else. You need to get into the yeti-crab mood first. What a fantastic piece!
2) Scroll to the supporting information and download this video. There are two others – one Kiwa puravida harvesting bacteria and another performing some displays. If you want to get adventurous, go with one of those. But really, stick with the original.
3) Open up iMovie. Import the Yeti Crab video as a new event. Then create a new project. Select the whole of the video and drag it into the new project. If you’re going to want to slow it down for a longer audio clip, double click on the video in the project screen to open the clip inspector, and change the speed.
4) Watch the video a few times. Find the Yeti Crab’s groove thang. If there was a comparable 10 second clip of music that would go with it (or longer, if you want to slow the clip down), what would it be? I was feeling a Calypso vibe. Doctor Zen felt they were doing The Safety Dance. Or maybe they’re clubbing. What do dancing Yeti crabs say to you?
5) Acquire the appropriate music through legal means. I purchased mine in iTunes. Make sure you have it in iTunes, though, for the next step. If your iMovie is older than iMovie ’09, see below before proceeding.
6) Back in iMovie, click on the icon that looks like musical notes. This will open up your sound library – part of which is your iTunes library. Find your new audio clip. Click and drag it onto your movie clip in the project frame. Voila, you have added music to your film. But is it the right part of the song?
7) To sync up your movie with the right section of music that you want, click on the cog on the music track and select Clip Trimmer. Drag the yellow bar at the start of the music to where you want it. The end will auto-adjust. Click done. You may want to trim your video clip or slow it down or speed it up to make sure the music and video sync.
8 ) Now, if you want, futz to your hearts delight. Change where the music starts. Play around with transitions, title screens, whatever. Or don’t.
9) Now upload it to youtube! (You do have a youtube account, right?) There’s a share menu which contains youtube to pipe it right in there. Make sure in the text to include the full citation and that the video was taken by Andrew:
“Thurber, A., Jones, W., & Schnabel, K. (2011). Dancing for Food in the Deep Sea: Bacterial Farming by a New Species of Yeti Crab PLoS ONE, 6 (11) http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0026243 for more! Video by Andrew R. Thurber.”
And now that you’ve made your first video in imovie, and seen how easy it is, go forth and make others! There are fewer better ways to communicate your science than video!
Several years ago, when the Yeti crab, Kiwa hirsuta was first described, the world looked at a crustacean for the first time and went, “AWWWWW!!!”
I mean, how could you know love crabs from the Kiwa genus? They have fuzzy arms! And are adorable! People immediately began paying tribute with plush toys of all manner and even decorative food arrangements.
So what could be better than a plain ole’ Yeti crab?
That’s right – marine ecologist, deep sea biologist, and all around good egg Andrew Thurber has discovered a new species if Yeti crab, Kiwa puravida that appears to be farming methane consuming bacteria living on the hairs on its arms. How does it farm them? It waves its arms around in the air (like it just don’t care!) – er, water – around of methane seeps. Then periodically scrapes the bacteria off of its arms as food. The waving action serves to amp up supply the bacteria with more methane and other compounds that otherwise would be limited due to boundary layer conditions around the crabs hairy arms. And it looks like they’re having a great time doing it. In fact….I couldn’t resist grabbing the creative commons video on the PLoS paper and, um, adding a soundtrack.
(I really really couldn’t resist.)
(OK, maybe I saw him give a talk on this a few months ago, and have been waiting this entire time for it to be published so I could put a soundtrack on this video. Maybe. Maybe definitely.)
OK, ok, aside from this awesome behavior, what I love about this paper is Andrew takes what could have been a neat behavioral observation with a hypothesis that makes a nice just-so story, and then he tackles it with some really hot science. He uses detailed fatty acid and isotope analysis that shows, definitively, that the Yeti crabs are getting their nutrition from the bacteria on their arms. The symbiosis is real and biologically important. It’s a compelling solid story that gives us a new insight onto the unique life that lives in the deep sea.
Moreover, as Thurber writes, if anything, it highlights how little we know about life in the deep sea. If we have only just discovered that Yeti crabs must dance in the deep to make a living, what other fascinating discoveries are out there?
Update: See Doctor Zen’s version Yeti crabs can dance if they want to (Safety Dance). Anyone else want to take a swing at it?
Thurber, A., Jones, W., & Schnabel, K. (2011). Dancing for Food in the Deep Sea: Bacterial Farming by a New Species of Yeti Crab PLoS ONE, 6 (11) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0026243
A fun undersea video with a fun soundtrack from Gary Hawkins who is generously providing me with some footage for my #SciFund video.
I may have to post more of his stuff in the future because it is AWESOME.
I can only assume that the authors of the every silly Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal have taken invertebrate zoology and were fascinated by the bizarre life history cycles of trematodes and/or spent some time hanging around with Armand Kuris and Kevin Lafferty at UC Santa Barbara. Why? Because of today’s brilliant comic (see below).
Update: apparently the author’s wife is IN the Kuris lab. Ha!
There have been a steady stream of articles over the years stating that now is the time for Science to embrace Crowdfunding. It is the wave of the future, they state. It will link people to science directly. Abandon the shackles of the NSF and NIH, ye meek and mild mannered scientists. The internet is your salvation.
And along with this hoopla comes a small handfull of science crowdfunding sites, but few success stories. There has been no large-scale well-advertised attempt at seeing whether crowdfunding really is a viable model for science.
Well, it’s time we change that.
Announcing the SciFund Challenge!
My co-conspirator, Jai Ranganathan of Curiouser and Curiouser, and I have decided to spearhead a large effort to recruit scientists to try and crowd-fund a piece of their science. We want to see, just how is crowdfunding for science different from normal funding? Can we harness the power of our social networks, the online science blogosphere, and maybe the larger public to fund science?
Honestly, we have no idea. But it’s worth trying, and, hopefully, we can do some interesting post-mortem analyses once the project wraps up. So go check out our project blog including a call to arms, how this will work, and our sign-up form.
So, I’m-a-gettin’ hitched in, what, just less that 6 weeks to a singularly lovely lady. As I determine the proper haute couture for the nuptials, I’ve begun to have fun with one piece in particular. Cuffilnks.
I mean, if you’re going to go Tux (and I do so love a good tuxedo), cufflinks are a must. But what kind of cufflinks should a gentleman marine biologist wear? Why, sea-creature themed, of course. I began my search looking for ascidian themed cufflinks and studs. Sadly, no jeweler, even on etsy, has yet decided to imortalize the beauty of a Ciona intestinalis or the distinctive star-shaped patter of Botryllus schlosseri for one to wear on their French cuffs. So I began to search further afield. I’ll give away the ending right here, I’m going with these urchin cufflinks by Ashley Childs actually cast from urchin tests, but, I thought you all might be interested to see some of the lovely, beautiful pieces I found along the way.
Phylum Echinodermata, Class Echinoidea
While the ones I’m going with are cast from tests, it is not for lack of trying to find cufflinks made from actual tests. I’ve long coveted these made from small urchin tests found washed ashore. Sadly, they are only available in pink, green, and brown, and won’t match anything else color-wise at the wedding. (What, I used to be in theater, so design is very important.)
So, cast or inspired it is. I really liked these urchin-styled cufflinks by David Yurman, but, sadly, silver, which clashes with the purple & gold thing we’re going for. Also, these slightly more abstract urchin ‘links were awesome, but, likewise, silver. (See also this great ring by the same artist).
So, gold (or, rather, plated). I thought these were elegant and lovely, but Tiffany and waaay too pricey for me. Similarly, these were great, and had a maching studset, but, a little plain. So, if I was going to go urchin, I was going to go with the cast piece.
Phylum Echinodermata, Various Classes
That said, I was not quite ready to give up on echinoderms. On a bit of whimsy I tried searching for some Sea Cucumber ones. No dice. Sand dollars turned up a few interesting natural or cast ones. I’ve never studied sand dollars, though, so…I continued looking. What about Pycnopodia? No dice for the multi-armed beast. However, I did turn up some cool Pisaster-like ones as well as a few more abstract. There were even a few made from beach drift (I hope) (and that person’s store is full of similar neat stuff), but nothing really caught me like the urchin test cufflinks.
Phylum Mollusca, Class Gastropoda
What about getting out of Echinoderms all together, and going with mollusks? Surely, there must be many gastropod-inspired cufflinks out there. And there are! Many are just ho-hum plain seashells, though. Some, though, are exquisite, such as these conch shells, which really could do for any whelk biologist. Or these silver lovelies by Danielle Meshorer which reminded me of nothing so much as our Californian Lithopoma. There were also some great ones made from actual shells.
Phylum Mollusca, Class Cephalopoda
Now, like a good nerdy marine ecologist with slightly steampunkish leanings, the question begs: why not cephalopods. Indeed, I just finished reading Kraken, and do annually celebrate Cephalopodmas. A search for squid cufflinks can turn up a lot, but many of them are cameos or kinda kitchy. Instead, what really impressed me in cephalopods was Octopus cufflinks. This particular version with a hole in the head popped up all over the place, and is really rather stylish. Or you can find this set with a matching tie pin. Or even get into something a little more abstract. I liked them, but, eh. As I’ve never studied cephalopods, I felt like I should be true to my roots.
Phylum Arthropoda, Class Malacostraca
I have, however, spend a lot of time with crabs and lobsters. Crabs also made a lot of sense as I am a boy Baltimore bred. The crab cufflinks out there are all very classy, if I do say so. I think my favorites just featured claws. Some where very cool and artsy. Other’s more steampunky. But nothing that really grabbed me. Similarly while there were some wonderful silver and gold lobsters out there (and some quite pricey!), nothing really said, yes, I am what you want on your wrist when you say “I do.”
So, really, it came down to urchins. I mean, nothing says commitment like the commitment of a ravening spiky beast gnawing through an entire kelp forest. That takes desire, work, perseverance, and a lot of love…of kelp. An apt metaphor, no? Well, at least my future wife will get a chuckle out of that one. I hope. And given the elegance, whimsy, and biological accuracy of the urchin test cufflinks, I think it’s where I’m going to go. But for the rest o’ ye, enjoy what I’ve listed here, and if you’ve found anything that you feel is truly amazing, please, post it! Also, I’m still looking for studs…
I realize, I have been remiss as of late posting awesome science related videos. So….