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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Look Ma...I am a Scientist!

So I was recently at a science conference in January...which is pretty much like other professional conferences from what I can tell in that it is awkward, in a large convention center with bad coffee, and you have to wear name tags like when you were on a field trip in first grade. You basically go around listening to talks (there was an awesome talk on Alligator penises...they don't have to worry about inflating their penises with blood because they have a lot of dense connective tissue which lets them have eternal boners... here is the link to the talk abstract), going to workshops, and attempting (poorly, in my case) to network and get 'connections' in the science community.

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Alligators don't need viagra

I also gave a talk, but unfortunately not on my worm stuff because my sample size of 8 worms kind of sucks... Cutting up worms takes time...I went to a talk where the girl said it took her 2 YEARS to do a study where she saw which females the males of a species preferred to seduce. Balls.

Anyway this is probably too long and boring for you to actually sit through and watch, but here are vids of *my* talk where I am talking about how squid have collagen in their mantle. This collagen acts like rubber bands to store and release energy when stretched to help squid quickly move...which they do by jet propulsion which is pretty sweet.
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The arrow shows the mantle
 Basically squid expand and contract their hollow muscular mantle (which are the calamari rings you get in a seafood restaurant) to bring water in to its hollow mantle cavity and then shoot in a tight jet stream to push the squid. 

Here is a sweet video of my advisor torturing a squid, making it jet several times:

These collagen rubber bands stretch when the mantle expands which stores energy that is released when the squid contracts its mantle and jets, this helps make the jets even more powerful. 
The red lines represent collagen fibers that stretch and store energy when the mantle expands, so when the mantle contracts water can be powerfully expelled in a jet.

The talk is kind of dry but if you are super bored and perhaps slightly drunk you might find it vaguely interesting. Plus you get to see me in some sweet tight pants that make my butt and legs look awesome. Thank you stairmaster and weighted squats!

Here are the links to my talk:

Hopefully next year I will have some sweet worm data to present!

Your favorite science nerd,

The 'Dirty' Scientist

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