Research Subjects

Some marine organisms serve science not as the raw materials of medications, but in the lab. As the subjects of basic research, they have pointed to entirely new understandings of biology and new types of treatments. §

Sea urchins have enlarged our understanding of embryology. This urchin is releasing 20 million eggs that will be used for research. §
photo © Eric Davidson, California Institute of Technology

Squids make news in neuroscience because they have the animal kingdom's largest single nerve cell. The giant axon makes them prime models for studying how nerve impulses travel--with applications for research on Alzheimer's disease. §
photo © Roger Hanlon, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston

Octopuses, with advanced eyes and brains, serve as models for studies of short- and long-term memory and learning mechanisms. §
photo © Roger Hanlon, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston

Sponges as research subjects contributed to our understanding of the mechanisms of human diseases and how to combat them. This species, Teichaxinella morchella, has shown potential in antibacterial research. §
photo © John Reed, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution

California sea hares, Aplysia californica, have revealed basic molecular mechanisms that govern behavior, because the few and large neurons of the animal's nervous system could be partially mapped, and then related to specific behaviors. §
photo © Randy Morse/Tom Stack and Associates

Smooth dogfish, the shark Mustelus canis, was used in research that uncovered the cause of gout, a form of arthritis, and led to production of effective drug treatments for it. §
photo © Photo Researchers, Inc.

Ocean Planet Exhibition Floorplan

gene carl feldman ( (301) 286-9428
Judith Gradwohl, Smithsonian Institution (Curator/Ocean Planet)