endangered avenger

You know Iron Man, but do you know Iron Snail? That’s right. The scaly-foot snail, native to hydrothermal vent ecosystems, has scales that are iron-coated. But…that’s not why they’ve been in the news lately. They are the first animal to be listed as endangered due to the threat of deep-sea mining. Deep sea biologist Julia Sigwart, Queen’s University Belfast, led the project to get these snails listed as endangered. Learn more in today’s comic: endangered avenger

Learn more about this badass but endangered snail here.


100 weeks, 100 invertebrates


That’s right, I’ve drawn 100 invertebrates over the past 100 weeks! Today’s comic: one hundred invertebrates is a compilation and celebration of all my previous comics. I’ve included invertebrates from the previous 99 comics I’ve drawn and added a bonus 100th invertebrate that will be featured next week. I’ll send some interviews with invertebrates swag to whoever posts the first comment that correctly locates and identifies the mystery invertebrate. Need help? Check out the complete collection of past comics to start crossing invertebrates off your list. Happy invertebrate-ing!

Also, I’m really proud to have continued this project for 100 straight weeks, even through multiple field seasons, my PhD General Exam and grad school stress. These comics have let me keep art in my life even through the stress of getting a PhD. But it has also been a lot more than that. I’ve shared comics with folks in science at every level including professors, teachers, grad, undergrad and high school students, as well as those who don’t think about science everyday including friends, family, neighbors and others. I’ve helped people learn new things but mostly I’ve learned a whole lot myself. Comics have enabled me to connect with other scientists, learn about their research and take on the challenge of translating it for the general public. It’s been a great experience. And hopefully I’ve been able to convince a few folks that invertebrates are cool and important along the way! To the next 100!

To all the fans, thank you so much for the support and keep your spineless excitement coming!


bubblegum corals

Did you know there’s bubble gum in the ocean? No? Well then, it’s time to get out of your bubble and check out these deep water corals! I learned about these cool animals last week from Dr. Anna Metaxas, Dalhousie University, who studies populations and distributions of bubblegum corals off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada. Learn more in today’s comic: bubble bust.

Learn more about bubblegum corals and if your feeling ambitious, check out Dr. Metaxas’ paper.



Who doesn’t love a good Beatles parody? These bryozoans certainly do. Learn more about baby bryozoans and their great quest for the perfect kelp blade to settle down on before becoming adults in today’s comic: kelp quest.

It’s also about time I did a comic on the bryozoan, Membranipora membranacea, since part of my dissertation is dedicated to research on them. Learn more about these cuties and their kelp preferences.




What? Let me explain. Pink fragile sea urchins (genus Strongylocentrotus) really put the “strong” in Strongylocentrotus. Research done by Friday Harbor Labs Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Kirk Sato, shows that differences in natural environmental oxygen and pH conditions can cause differences in urchin skeleton strength. Learn more in today’s comic: “Strong”-ylocentrotus.

Learn some fast facts about the pink urchin …And if you are feeling really “strong”, check out Kirk’s paper.


sneaky snack

You know the saying…”slow and steady wins the race”… or the snack. That might be true for sea slugs…sometimes. Dr. Jim Murray (CSU East Bay) studies the neurobiology and sensory systems and behavior of the sea slug Tritonia tetraquetra and how they chemically detect their prey.  Learn more in today’s comic: sneaky snack.

And watch this Tritonia attack its prey…s…l…o…w…l…y…