Signing-off on Megavertebrate Week

The core idea behind Megavertebrate Week was to identify neritic species that can be found in the deep sea, in order to make that “deep-sea connection” for people outside our typical readership. It worked.

We hit the list serves for C Turtle and for MarMam. We made the blog rolls in Germany and Russia. We introduced you to many marine animals that you already knew, like the sea turtles, whales, elephant seals, and penguins, and we showed you how these marine megavertebrates spend a good part of their daylight hours diving well below 200m. The marine megavertebrates we profiled are all denizens of the deep.


The remarkable thing is that we still don’t understand why these animals dive. Many questions remain unanswered. But one thing is clear- most of these species are endangered and threatened. In order to protect fully them we will need to understand why and how they dive, and which resources they draw upon, so that commercial and recreational fisheries don’t out-compete megavertebrate populations for food.

This week’s postings were personal victory for the DSN writers, too, because we never once mentioned polychaetes or hairy snails, or deep sea corals even. We had to seek professional help, of course, but by doing so we introduced you to several laboratories and young researchers around the country and around the world who are doing important scientific research about the adaptations of air breathing animals foraging in the deep ocean. We barely scratched the seafloor, though. You can only fit so much into a single week.

DSN founder Craig McClain was extremely happy with the way things shaped up.

“Hit rates this week are through the roof”, he wrote. “Yesterday set an all new high for us [1700 visitors]. … The write ups [ from the guest authors] are well written and insightful. I especially appreciate the attentiveness to commenter’s questions. … We also seem to have won a ‘thinking blogger award’. I guess I have to take down the ‘Never Won a Blog Award’ blog award.”

Megavertebrate Week will likely return for years to come. Some new weeks could also be forthcoming. Jelly Week, perhaps? Or Fish Week? How about Wreck Week? We dunno. CK is looking for a Microbe Week. That’s very bold. Let us know what you would like to see.

In a way, it’s easy reporting on the world’s largest environment. There’s always something happening. If not, there’s always something about to happen. You know what I mean? ; )

Thanks a lot for reading and thanks for your comments. Stick around this summer for much, much more. Field season is just getting started!

Peter Etnoyer (406 Posts)

PhD candidate at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi and doctoral fellow Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies.





17 comments on “Signing-off on Megavertebrate Week
  1. we never once mentioned polychaetes or hairy snails, or deep sea corals even. We had to seek professional help, of course,

    Seems to be a common ScienceBlogs characteristic. PZ Myer’s obsessiveness on squids, pirates, and zebra fishes (hey, don’t knock a fish just because it swims in funny water), are well known.

    Let us know what you would like to see.

    Well, if you feel that squids and octopuses are cornered by Pharyngula, that’s out. OTOH, it could draw away a prepped crowd.

    And admit it, we can’t get enough cephalopods, can we?

    [And perhaps you can then unravel the deepest mystery with those suckers - what is the preferred plural of octopus? Firefox dictionary didn't like the elegant octopi for some reason.]

  2. we never once mentioned polychaetes or hairy snails, or deep sea corals even. We had to seek professional help, of course,

    Seems to be a common ScienceBlogs characteristic. PZ Myer’s obsessiveness on squids, pirates, and zebra fishes (hey, don’t knock a fish just because it swims in funny water), are well known.

    Let us know what you would like to see.

    Well, if you feel that squids and octopuses are cornered by Pharyngula, that’s out. OTOH, it could draw away a prepped crowd.

    And admit it, we can’t get enough cephalopods, can we?

    [And perhaps you can then unravel the deepest mystery with those suckers - what is the preferred plural of octopus? Firefox dictionary didn't like the elegant octopi for some reason.]

  3. we never once mentioned polychaetes or hairy snails, or deep sea corals even. We had to seek professional help, of course,

    Seems to be a common ScienceBlogs characteristic. PZ Myer’s obsessiveness on squids, pirates, and zebra fishes (hey, don’t knock a fish just because it swims in funny water), are well known.

    Let us know what you would like to see.

    Well, if you feel that squids and octopuses are cornered by Pharyngula, that’s out. OTOH, it could draw away a prepped crowd.

    And admit it, we can’t get enough cephalopods, can we?

    [And perhaps you can then unravel the deepest mystery with those suckers - what is the preferred plural of octopus? Firefox dictionary didn't like the elegant octopi for some reason.]

  4. we never once mentioned polychaetes or hairy snails, or deep sea corals even. We had to seek professional help, of course,

    Seems to be a common ScienceBlogs characteristic. PZ Myer’s obsessiveness on squids, pirates, and zebra fishes (hey, don’t knock a fish just because it swims in funny water), are well known.

    Let us know what you would like to see.

    Well, if you feel that squids and octopuses are cornered by Pharyngula, that’s out. OTOH, it could draw away a prepped crowd.

    And admit it, we can’t get enough cephalopods, can we?

    [And perhaps you can then unravel the deepest mystery with those suckers - what is the preferred plural of octopus? Firefox dictionary didn't like the elegant octopi for some reason.]

  5. we never once mentioned polychaetes or hairy snails, or deep sea corals even. We had to seek professional help, of course,

    Seems to be a common ScienceBlogs characteristic. PZ Myer’s obsessiveness on squids, pirates, and zebra fishes (hey, don’t knock a fish just because it swims in funny water), are well known.

    Let us know what you would like to see.

    Well, if you feel that squids and octopuses are cornered by Pharyngula, that’s out. OTOH, it could draw away a prepped crowd.

    And admit it, we can’t get enough cephalopods, can we?

    [And perhaps you can then unravel the deepest mystery with those suckers - what is the preferred plural of octopus? Firefox dictionary didn't like the elegant octopi for some reason.]

  6. we never once mentioned polychaetes or hairy snails, or deep sea corals even. We had to seek professional help, of course,

    Seems to be a common ScienceBlogs characteristic. PZ Myer’s obsessiveness on squids, pirates, and zebra fishes (hey, don’t knock a fish just because it swims in funny water), are well known.

    Let us know what you would like to see.

    Well, if you feel that squids and octopuses are cornered by Pharyngula, that’s out. OTOH, it could draw away a prepped crowd.

    And admit it, we can’t get enough cephalopods, can we?

    [And perhaps you can then unravel the deepest mystery with those suckers - what is the preferred plural of octopus? Firefox dictionary didn't like the elegant octopi for some reason.]

  7. we never once mentioned polychaetes or hairy snails, or deep sea corals even. We had to seek professional help, of course,

    Seems to be a common ScienceBlogs characteristic. PZ Myer’s obsessiveness on squids, pirates, and zebra fishes (hey, don’t knock a fish just because it swims in funny water), are well known.

    Let us know what you would like to see.

    Well, if you feel that squids and octopuses are cornered by Pharyngula, that’s out. OTOH, it could draw away a prepped crowd.

    And admit it, we can’t get enough cephalopods, can we?

    [And perhaps you can then unravel the deepest mystery with those suckers - what is the preferred plural of octopus? Firefox dictionary didn't like the elegant octopi for some reason.]

  8. I always thought that Cnidaria were REALLY cool. They have weird breeding cycles and kickass microscopic harpoons which strike with the force of a hundreds (or maybe thousands?) osmotic pressure atmospheres which are locked in their harpoon cells (do I remember correctly? maybe I forgot)

    Also, there are those weird deep deep sea spider-looking invertebrates which crawl the ocean’s deadlands and wastelands all alone and for astonishing distances. I’d love to read about those.
    Everything deep sea is really cool because they are so different from anything around here.

    That’s it. Thank you for the megavertebrate week, it was really fun reading.

  9. I would definitely LOVE to see a Jelly Week–they’re some of my favorite macroscopic marine organisms and make for fantastic art and science. Craig could tap Connor at MBARI for terrific photos and stories.

    P.S. I’m working on a list of potential topics and guest writers for Microbe Week…I can even mix microbes with invertebrates (vestimentiferan worms! chemosynthetic clams!) and vertebrates (angler fish!) so as not to scare away macro-centric readers.

  10. Also, a Megamarine Biologists’ Week would be nice to read. Species distribution, breeding habits, feeding habits, a bit about their interesting anatomy, etc etc…

    Seriously, a week in a marine biologist’s life. Wouldn’t it be interesting?

  11. Real World Monterey Bay? See what happens when you put 5 biologists in an apartment together for a month. Watch them fight over the espresso maker.

  12. I think Cameron had something like that in the works a few years back, with auditions and everything, but the boat sank in the final stages of pre-production.

  13. Is that the metaphorical boat sinking or did a boat really sink? lol

    The Marine Biologists Week is kind of an interesting concept, theres no shortage of them! I have several presentations on Darwin, Linneaus and Huxley that I give that can be modified to highlight their marine biologist attributes.

    Of course, I love the idea of jelly week and microbe week too, How about Fish week?

  14. Both! Apparently, a boat really did sink. I was told the thing was decorated in faux leopard and shag, like an MTV show, but somebody failed to pay the art department. I guess the show went down with the boat…

  15. Word on the street is that Real World Marine Biologist morphed into Cameron’s deep-sea IMAX movie once funding tightened up.

    I vote in favor of Marine Biologist Week, but we’ll have to come up with a better name, like “Drs. Downunder” or “Week of Deep Thinkers”.

    I reiterate Wreck Week as a good idea, and give props again to CK for Microbe Week. Wow. What a challenge. I think she can pull it off to our amazement. Saw her speak once, and she does make microbes fun…

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