Posts

January 15, 2015

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12:04 PM | The weird sizes and exotic shapes of nematode worms
FACT: We study evolution in nematodes by constructing trees out of their penis size. Ok, well a “penis” in male nematodes is actually a hard copulatory spine called a genital spicule–males physically pry open the female’s vulva–but you get the idea. What better way to open a blog post about the story of size? Marine nematodes are […]
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4:49 AM | Adventure Time on Great Gull Island
Particularly diligent readers of this blog may have noticed a couple of changes last week to its About and Research pages, for the first time since I finished my master’s in Seattle and moved to Long Island. In that time, … Continue reading →

January 14, 2015

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6:50 PM | Growing Large on Jelly
The following post is authored by Caroline Schanche as part of the Sizing Ocean Giants project. This post originally occurred on the Story of Size Would you convert to a diet of cucumber? Could you do what the leatherbacks have done? None of us can really imagine surviving solely on foods such as cucumber or […]
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6:50 PM | Growing Large on Jelly
The following post is authored by Caroline Schanche as part of the Sizing Ocean Giants project. This post originally occurred on the Story of Size Would you convert to a diet of cucumber? Could you do what the leatherbacks have done? None of us can really imagine surviving solely on foods such as cucumber or […]
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4:11 PM | EnviroHack 2015, a two-day data jam
EnviroHack, organised by the British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC) and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) will take place in London in February. The NERC-funded 'hackathon' event will provide an exciting opportunity to collaborate and create value from environmental data sets.EnviroHack 2015 ©Raw data collected by environmental scientists will be available for 'hackers' to explore in new ways. For example, integrating atmosphere, soil, river and ocean data from different […]
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3:58 PM | GEBCO_2014 Grid released
The General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO) is pleased to announce the release of its latest global terrain model at 30 arc-second intervals — the GEBCO_2014 Grid. The British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC) maintain and distribute bathymetric grids on behalf of the GEBCO community.The grid marks a significant update to the previous release (the GEBCO_08 Grid) and benefits from contributions from numerous data providers and mapping programmes. The updated regional […]
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3:30 PM | Why isn’t the Giant Isopod larger?
What I want to discuss, and I use this word specifically as after 10 years contemplation I seem no closer to an answer, is why the Giant Isopod is, well, giant? Mosely noted in 1880 Other [animals] attain under them gigantic proportions. It is especially certain crustacea which exhibit this latter peculiarity, but not all […]
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3:30 PM | Why isn’t the Giant Isopod larger?
What I want to discuss, and I use this word specifically as after 10 years contemplation I seem no closer to an answer, is why the Giant Isopod is, well, giant? Mosely noted in 1880 Other [animals] attain under them gigantic proportions. It is especially certain crustacea which exhibit this latter peculiarity, but not all […]
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6:09 AM | Designing exercises with the right amount of guidance as well as the right level of difficulty
An example of one topic at different levels of difficulty. Designing exercises at just the right level of difficulty is a pretty difficult task. On the one hand, we would like students to do a lot of thinking themselves, and … Continue reading →

January 13, 2015

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3:11 PM | (Bird) Food for thought
At this time of year I tend to get through the post a steady trickle of catalogues, reminding me of the mailing lists to which I still need to unsubscribe. Qutie a few of these are wildlife related, with a good chunk given over to the £200M wild bird food industry. For a while now I’ve felt rather uneasy about the excessive commodification of what should be a simple act - attracting birds to the garden just to enjoy their company.... Read more
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12:00 PM | Sizing Ocean Giants: The Paper!
I am elated to announce the publication of Sizing Ocean Giants, a tome on the sizes of everything from Giant Barrel Sponges and Giant Isopods to Great Whites and Sperm Whales.  You want Giant Oarfish?  We got them!  You want Leatherback Turtles? We got them too? And we’ll throw in a Colossal Squid as a bonus. […]
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12:00 PM | Sizing Ocean Giants: The Paper!
I am elated to announce the publication of Sizing Ocean Giants, a tome on the sizes of everything from Giant Barrel Sponges and Giant Isopods to Great Whites and Sperm Whales.  You want Giant Oarfish?  We got them!  You want Leatherback Turtles? We got them too? And we’ll throw in a Colossal Squid as a bonus. […]

January 12, 2015

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10:53 PM | The superhero like swimming of Manta rays
Watch the video above and you will better understand the high I am still experiencing after a week of fieldwork.  I traveled to Mexico to study the size of whale sharks, but now that I am back I find my thoughts lingering on Manta ray swimming.  You may not see it in the video above […]
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10:53 PM | The superhero like swimming of Manta rays
Watch the video above and you will better understand the high I am still experiencing after a week of fieldwork.  I traveled to Mexico to study the size of whale sharks, but now that I am back I find my thoughts lingering on Manta ray swimming.  You may not see it in the video above […]
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9:59 PM | Sharks and lasers, not just for evil geniuses
In midsummer 2009, under the intense Mexican sun, a whale shark, MXA-182, arrived at Holbox. He is injured. A nasty cut nearly severs his right pectoral fin. His fin eventually heals, but a hole completely through his fin still persists. The hole’s shape earns MXA-182 the nickname of Keyhole. In 2009, Keyhole is at Holbox […]
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9:59 PM | Sharks and lasers, not just for evil geniuses
In midsummer 2009, under the intense Mexican sun, a whale shark, MXA-182, arrived at Holbox. He is injured. A nasty cut nearly severs his right pectoral fin. His fin eventually heals, but a hole completely through his fin still persists. The hole’s shape earns MXA-182 the nickname of Keyhole. In 2009, Keyhole is at Holbox […]
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7:19 PM | The mysterious case of the missing manta bits
This spectacular picture has been doing the rounds of my Facebook network lately, of a Mr Bell at AMNH working on a manta ray specimen in 1917:   Woah, right?  Helluva fish.  Well, hold your horses there, Tex.  It’s actually a model.  I was a bit suspicious that the specimen was just so…perfect…so I dug around […]
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7:19 PM | The mysterious case of the missing manta bits
This spectacular picture has been doing the rounds of my Facebook network lately, of a Mr Bell at AMNH working on a manta ray specimen in 1917:   Woah, right?  Helluva fish.  Well, hold your horses there, Tex.  It’s actually a model.  I was a bit suspicious that the specimen was just so…perfect…so I dug around […]
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11:34 AM | Steam-powered spinning top
How changing the state of water can drive motion. Somehow over the holidays we ended up playing with a lot of toys related to the change of state of water, or the expansion of air. First, over the next couple … Continue reading →
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9:05 AM | Sleuthing the Largest Snail
Earlier this year, I spent a few days tracking down the world’s largest snail. It is my own contribution to the Sizing Ocean Giants project. The Australian Trumpet shell, Syrinx araunus, is generally agreed to be the largest living snail. Shell lengths at the high end usually range around 2.5 feet (~0.75 meters). My goal had […]
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9:05 AM | Sleuthing the Largest Snail
Earlier this year, I spent a few days tracking down the world’s largest snail. It is my own contribution to the Sizing Ocean Giants project. The Australian Trumpet shell, Syrinx araunus, is generally agreed to be the largest living snail. Shell lengths at the high end usually range around 2.5 feet (~0.75 meters). My goal had […]

January 11, 2015

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10:55 PM | Whale Sharks and Giant Squids: Big or Bu!!$hit?
The bubbles around me clear and as I regain my visibility my first thought is how wide is the mouth coming for me. Five feet? Six Feet?  Will my whole body fit in there?  As the whale shark closes the distance between us mouth first, I’m focused entirely on the size of the beast. It’s […]
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10:55 PM | Whale Sharks and Giant Squids: Big or Bu!!$hit?
The bubbles around me clear and as I regain my visibility my first thought is how wide is the mouth coming for me. Five feet? Six Feet?  Will my whole body fit in there?  As the whale shark closes the distance between us mouth first, I’m focused entirely on the size of the beast. It’s […]
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7:46 PM | The Nubbly Bits of Blue Whales
The following post is authored by Catharine Chen as part of the Sizing Ocean Giants project. This post originally occurred on the Story of Size. Adapted from Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling. Long, long ago, there was a Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus) who ate everything in the ocean but a small fish. Fearing for his life, the fish […]
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7:46 PM | The Nubbly Bits of Blue Whales
The following post is authored by Catharine Chen as part of the Sizing Ocean Giants project. This post originally occurred on the Story of Size. Adapted from Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling. Long, long ago, there was a Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus) who ate everything in the ocean but a small fish. Fearing for his life, the fish […]
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4:54 PM | Integrating Research and Outreach Through Massive Ocean Animals
With 5 stunning Duke University undergraduates, I participated in an experiment, one in which science outreach and research were not separate spheres. “Time to put away the research and do some outreach.” “I don’t have time for outreach because I’m doing research.” Instead, I believe that effective science communication, from the scientists themselves, must be based on a […]
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4:54 PM | Integrating Research and Outreach Through Massive Ocean Animals
With 5 stunning Duke University undergraduates, I participated in an experiment, one in which science outreach and research were not separate spheres. “Time to put away the research and do some outreach.” “I don’t have time for outreach because I’m doing research.” Instead, I believe that effective science communication, from the scientists themselves, must be based on a […]
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2:30 PM | It’s Size Week At Deep-Sea News
This week at DSN we are dedicating to size. Actually, I’m dedicating it to size. Since I am the grand poobah in charge, everyone else has gone along.   Why size? First, me a superteam of students and scientists are authors of a paper coming out Tuesday at PeerJ, the culmination of the Sizing Ocean Giants […]
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2:30 PM | It’s Size Week At Deep-Sea News
This week at DSN we are dedicating to size. Actually, I’m dedicating it to size. Since I am the grand poobah in charge, everyone else has gone along.   Why size? First, me a superteam of students and scientists are authors of a paper coming out Tuesday at PeerJ, the culmination of the Sizing Ocean Giants […]

January 09, 2015

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11:25 AM | Enigma
My friend F and I used to send each other coded messages. Without ever telling each other what cipher was used, though – figuring out how to decipher the message was the main source of entertainment, the actual content of the … Continue reading →
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