Some incredibly tiny sea creatures are known as the master builders of the sea. These little animals are able of building complex homes in order to provide protection and to capture food. What is even more interesting is that these structures are made out of a fluid that comes out of the little creatures’ heads.
These creatures, known as giant larvaceans, build a new home every time their old one gets torn down, so pretty much every day. Talk about perseverance!
Despite their tenacity and nerves of steel, some people tend to give some mean nicknames to giant larvacean’s homes. They call them “snot palaces” because they are essentially large houses made out of mucus-like fluid.
Giant Larvaceans are not just amazing to watch. They might also provide some helpful information for us. Experts from the building industry believe that mucus could prove highly useful in construction if the principles behind the home-building of the giant larvacean was understood. One of the experts looking into this process is Kakani Katija, a bioengineer affiliated with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California. Her team has recently released its findings on the snot palaces of this fascinating animal in Nature magazine.
These creatures are very small, measuring up to 10 centimeters, but their role in the ecosystem is crucial. They live in oceans all around the world and, according to some scientists such as Katija, they are the closest relatives to human beings without a backbone.
Boris Worm, a marine biologist affiliated with Dalhousie University, who was not part of the study on giant larvaceas, said that the creatures are almost like an alien life form. They are made almost entirely out of water, but they are a highly complex life form. They also help the environment, as they drop millions of tons of carbon to the seafloor, thus preventing global warming.
As our second lead editor, Anna C. Mackinno provides guidance on the stories Great Lakes Ledger reporters cover. She has been instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. If you see a particularly clever title, you can likely thank Anna. Anna received a BA and and MA from Fordham University.