Fossil Friday #13 – Tunicates

Colourful tunicates! Credit: Nick Hobgood If you have even had the chance to see or feel a tunicate, you’ll know they’re weird little creatures. At first glance, the tunicate resembles a sponge, with an exhalent and inhalent opening. They’re often found in similar environments, encrusting rocks, ships, and docks. Like sponges, many species of tunicates are also colonial, colourful, and generally unassuming, which is why you may not have noticed, or even heard of, tunicates. Despite…

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Fossil Friday #12 – The Black Turban Snail (AKA the Greatest Snail There Ever Was)

I’ve been rather quiet on my blog this past year, in part due to an intense workload down in California, studying for my candidacy exam (I passed, phew), the usual suite of conferences and writing, and of course, life. But I’ve also been doing a lot of thinking and reflection on how to be a better science communicator. This year was an immense year of growth for me both as a scientist, and as a…

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I’m a #reallifescientist

It’s been a while since my last blog post, and I’m about to deviate even further from my normal routine by sharing a rather personal post. OK, a very personal post.  But as someone who values science advocacy and outreach, I feel this post is nonetheless important to share with both the general public, and young aspiring scientists. I think one of the triggers that has caused me to write this post has been this…

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Fossil Friday #11 – Crinoids: the Ocean’s Feather Dusters!

The modern ocean is full of scary, disgusting, bizarre, awesome, and adorable organisms (multiply that by several thousand times, and you can cover prehistoric oceans too). While crinoids might not strike terror into your heart, they are pretty strange animals, which are often mistaken for plants at first glance (the name crinoid means “sea lily”).  I personally find them somewhat adorable (living, swimming feather dusters?  I mean, come on). Fossil and modern crinoids.  Image credit:…

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Fossil Friday #10 – Bryozoans!

Bryozoans are the coolest little animals you’ve never heard of.  And when I say little, I mean really little.  As I tell my students, if you aren’t using a microscope, you’re missing the point.  You can’t really see anything without a scope. Each of these contains hundreds to thousands of individuals.  Image credit: http://www.kgs.ku.edu/Extension/fossils/bryozoan.html There, that’s better.  Notice the scale bar.  Image credit: https:/ectoprocta.wordpress.com/ Otherwise know as “moss animals”, these tiny little critters are mostly…

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