Deep Homology

Darwin referred to the products of evolution as ‘endless forms most beautiful’. Disparity (the word meaning “diversity of morphology”) can be classified: “All mammals have titties” is a valid biological statement. But within all this disparity lie unifying characters: all mammals have boobs, but they also have a backbone; frogs …

Parasites Affecting Insect Behaviour

Parasites need to have adaptations for colonisation, defeating immune systems and transmission. Often, parasitism involves very complex interactions between not-so-closely-related organisms. For example, the jungle-dwelling turtle ant above is infected by nematodes that gather and mate in the gaster (hind part of the ant). They deteriorate the cuticle of the …

Deep Sea Bonanza III: The Effects of Climate Change

There are two major threats to the oceans today: global warming (GW; AGW for anthropogenic GW specifically) and ocean acidification (OA; AOA for anthropogenic OA specifically). They are both tightly linked, but we’ll look at them individually first, starting with OA. Note: I can’t find an easy way to add …

Deep Sea Bonanza II: Life in the Deep Sea

There are no major organism groups that are exclusive to the deep sea, except the monoplacophorans (which were long though to be a fossil only group, but were rediscovered in the 1950s). Many groups are simply more common in the deep sea. These include the pycnogonids (sea spiders), echiurans and …