Horse shoe crabs on beach

The humble animal who saves the most human lives

Credit for ‘most lives saved’ must go to the Atlantic horseshoe crab Limulus polyphemus. The American Horseshoe Crab is a unique and valuable marine invertebrate. In 1950, while searching for medical cures, scientists isolated a bright-blue blood a clotting agent, conagulogen, that binds to fungi and endotoxins from the horseshoe crab. Horseshoe crabs do not have haemoglobin in their blood, but instead use hemocyanin to … Continue reading The humble animal who saves the most human lives

cone snail

Cone Snail Venom Could Inspire Fast-Acting Insulin For Diabetes

Forget slow and steady. For the cone snail, it’s fast-acting chemistry that wins the race.Researchers have now shed light on the structure of a speedy insulin that cone snails use to paralyse prey. You don’t want to mess with cone snails. These undersea predators stun prey with a harpoon-like appendage that injects venom, or they release immobilising venoms into nearby water. For decades scientists have … Continue reading Cone Snail Venom Could Inspire Fast-Acting Insulin For Diabetes

Humpback Whale flippers solve helicopter air flow problems

We’ve all seen movies of humpback whales playing in the sea. The most obvious feature is a nice symmetrical tail slapping the water as it dives. But we also see an awkward-looking flipper emerging as it breaches the water. That flipper fin has white lumps along its edge – lumps called tubercles. Still, it seems so crudely made. But it’s not what it seems. It’s actually a highly mobile … Continue reading Humpback Whale flippers solve helicopter air flow problems

The Great Benguela Current

  Ocean Currents The sea is subject to the transport of enormous masses of water moving continuously in one set direction. These large ‘rivers’ of water in the sea are ocean currents so important to the navigation of ships, the climatic conditions of continents and the fisheries of the maritime countries. The current systems of the sea may be grouped into (a) those produced by … Continue reading The Great Benguela Current