Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sea grape symbionts - parasites turned mutualists

The research project that I'm working on involves a symbiotic protist found in sea grapes, which are a family of sea squirts, or ascidians - sessile, filter feeding invertebrates which turn out to be close relatives of vertebrates (they're also chordates). Carl Zimmer, a science writer at the NY Times and other publications, has just blogged about a paper just published by one of my advisers, Mary Beth Saffo, and collaborators. The paper has been a long time in the works, so it's gratifying to see that it's gotten some publicity already. It's interesting how these things work, though - he found out about it because he was visiting the same marine biology station where she was doing some field work. There's plenty of serendipity in science communication, on top of the inherent general interest of the work itself.

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