I guess sea cucumbers are all right


Because of my previous trumpeting many of you may believe I scoff at anything non-mollusca. Untrue! I say! Indeed, I am friend of all invertebrate. My favorite books on my shelf is Barnes and Brusca & Brusca.

Just to prove I love all those squishy, squiggly, and slimey, I provide a link to the Sea Cucumber Expedition Blog (hat tip Jeff Ives). Tim Werner from the New England Aquarium is on a three week biodiversity trip to Madagascar. After your done loathing Tim for this, you should check out all of his recent discoveries inlcuding six foot sea cucumbers, two-foot sea stars, and “a hollow-stemmed gorgonian coral only eight inches tall that yielded over 100 individual crustaceans and represented at least seven species.”

Dr. M (1801 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (http://deepseanews.com/), a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

5 Replies to “I guess sea cucumbers are all right”

  1. Holy Brachyuran Bungalows Batman!!

    That would be the expedition to be on.

    (Staying away from any comments about the 6′ slender cucumbers versus 2′ stout ones…)

  2. How odd. What kind of holaxonian gorgonian is this, I wonder? Only a few are adapted for mud.

  3. Way cool!

    Peter, do gorgonians hollow out when they die? Maybe the crustaceans were colonizing dead gorgonian substrate.

    Anyways, if this is a common habitat for crustaceans this opens up some cool questions about habitat islands on a small scale.

  4. Tim sends his regards to you all, and I’m sure he’ll green with envy while you’re on your next expedition …

    I’ll let you guys know first if one of those inverts tries to eat him.

  5. Please send Tim some deep-sea love. I imagine the gorgonians are quite diverse there in Madagascar and around the Mascarene Shelf. Probably a life’s work to figure them all out!

    @ KZ Yes, some gorgonians hollow out. The temperate Primnoa reseadeformis comes to mind. Gorgonians skeletons can persist a while after a colony expires, too. Sometimes colonies are toppled by currents, slumps, or fishing gear and they can litter the seafloor, creating habitat. Living colonies can also support hundreds of individuals.

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