February 9, 1999
From: Brehan Miller
My professor in college wants us to find out why people are studying nudibranchs and why people look for them. The ones he found were in Lopez Sound (San Jose) and were 70 feet down in the sand. Can you please respond and tell me what the curiosity is about them?
firstname.lastname@example.orgMiller, B., 1999 (Feb 9) Why study nudibranchs?. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/547
I guess there is no short answer to such a question... but I'll give it a go. Firstly, to be a biologist you need to be fascinated by life in all its forms, and all its activities.
Why study nudibranchs? Have a look at some of the many examples displayed in the pages of the Forum to show their amazing diversity of shape and colour. Go to the the GENERAL TOPICS section and look at some of the many fascinating ways they have modified their bodies for defence and feeding.
Nudibranchs, and other related Sea Slugs, are snails which have, or are in the process of, losing the snail's key organ of defence - the shell. In many ways the evolution and diversity of Sea Slugs is driven by this loss. Three examples you should particularly look at are Solar powered Sea Slugs, the aeolid cnidosac, and Colour in Sea Slugs.
I don't know of any other group of animals which are so beautifully coloured and have so many fascinating stories to tell about their evolution and ecology. That's reason enough for me.
Perhaps some other participants in the Forum will let us know why they study nudibranchs.
If you can send a photo or drawing of the nudibranch your professor found perhaps someone can tell you something interesting about it. Could you also tell us where Lopez Sound (San Jose) is? California perhaps? The Worldwide Web certainly makes the world seem smaller - but not so small that I in Sydney, Australia can know where Lopez Sound is, or which of the many San Joses around the world is yours.
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