Tuesday, October 20, 2015

1 System and 3 Organism Superpowers

Calcium Sulfate Crystals in Jellyfish

  • The way jellyfish can tell direction is from tiny calcium sulfate crystals that roll around inside pockets lines with tiny hairs.  Based on the stimulation of those hairs as the jelly swooshes around, it gains a sense of which end is up and which is down due to gravity. 
  • Humans have a similar system in the ear, with calcium crystals in the inner ear moving over hairs to give the sense of acceleration or gravity. 
  • Jellyfish have been studied in space since the early 1990's!!! With a focus on the development of these structures in zero gravity. 
Jellies in Space Article 

AMAZING Jellyfish Superpowers

  • Jellyfish have been around for 500-700 million years! The oldest dinosaurs date back about 230 million years. 
  • Some jellies have the ability to completely renew it's cells when in danger. Immortality!
  • They have a network of nerves, but no heart or brain. 
  • The box jellyfish has one of the most dangerous venoms, with 15 tentacles and 5,000 stinging cells on each one, a sting can kill a human in minutes. Apparently the pain from one of these stings is enough to kill you before the venom does, however sea turtles are immune and eat these badass jellies. Article on Box Jellies
  • The box jellyfish may also be the only organism to see 360 degrees, with 24 eyes-two of which can see color. 

Biofluorescent Turtle!!!

  • A hawksbill turtle was discovered by chance near the Solomon Islands off Australia with the ability to reflect blue light into a spectrum of green, red and orange!
  • David Gruber, the marine biologist who discovered the turtle, speculates the red may be from biofluorescent algae, but the green is from the turtle itself. 
  • This is the first known reptile to exhibit this ability!

The Snottite

  • A snottite consists of cave-dwelling colonies of bacteria that live off volcanic sulphur. 
  • These bacteria create a biofilm micro-environment in which to thrive in the harshest cave environments on Earth. 

Phylum Loricifera 

  • Loricifera is a multi-celled organism capable of living without sun or oxygen in deep ocean sediments.
  • They also don't rely on mitochondria (like most organisms) for energy, they use hydrogenosomes, which are membrane cased organelles used to compartmentalize energy from metabolism.
  • Motochondria use oxygen for energy and hydrogenosomes are an equivalent which uses hydrogen for energy. 

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