One (charismatic) species at a time

I love it when a really good discussion gets going on Twitter. But so often 140 characters just isn’t quite enough. Particularly after you start to include a group of people. I’ve been participating in just such a discussion over the past few days. We’ve been discussing the podcast series “One Species at a Time" published by the Learning + Education group of the Encyclopedia of Life. 

The discussion has been about why we focus so much on vertebrates, and often forget to tell the stories of invertebrates, microbes - oh, and plants. After bantering back and forth for several days a challenge was issued from EoL. Name 10 things we’d like them to cover in their podcasts and they’ll see what they can do. So here’s 10 to start with. What do you think?

1. Gigantocypris - ostracods that look like giant swimming rice bubbles. Along with their friends Bathynomis - enormous ostracods that wouldn’t look out of place in Dr Who.

2. Onychophorans - velvet worms. Just because of their texture.

3. Poriferans - sponges. Just because they’re everywhere. And because you can put them through a sieve and they will just reform. Or is that just a myth?

4. Euphausiids - krill. Because they’re often described as ‘microscopic plankton’ but they’re not always tiny.

5. This one was going to be vestimentiferan worms - tube worms that live around deep sea hydrothermal vents. But they’ve beaten me to it with an episode on Riftia

6. Symbion pandora - they live on the mouthparts of Norway lobsters and belong to a phylum only erected in 2010. Have a look here for a report.

7. Cave dwelling slime microbes. Mmm.

8. Sepia apama - giant cuttlefish with amazing colour displays and mating behaviour. Possibly a bit too charismatic for this list!

9. Pentastomid worms - tongue worms. Because parasites need our love too. 

10. the other favourites - salps, coelenterates and nudibranchs. Cheating a bit to get all 3 of those in one dot point, hey?