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Latest Ascidiacea Stories

2011-08-02 14:11:11

An international team of molecular scientists have discovered that star ascidians, also known as sea squirts, have pacemaker cells similar to that of the human heart. The research, published in the JEZ A: Ecological Genetics and Physiology, may offer a new insight into the early evolution of the heart as star ascidians are one of the closest related invertebrates to mammals. The research team, led by Annette Hellbach from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Germany, expected to find...

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2011-07-05 08:00:47

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) researchers have filled an important gap in the study of tunicate evolution by genetically sequencing 40 new specimens of thaliaceans,  gelatinous, free-swimming types of tunicates. Their study was featured on the cover of the June issue of the Journal of Plankton Research. Tunicates are a phylum of animals closely related to vertebrates, with a firm, rubbery outer covering called a tunic, from which the name derives. "Thaliaceans have been...

2011-04-19 12:51:24

Animals that reproduce asexually by somatic cloning have special mechanisms that delay ageing provide exceptionally good health. Scientists at the University of Gothenburg have shown how colony-forming ascidians (or sea squirts) can activate the enzyme telomerase, which protects DNA. This enzyme is more active also in humans who attain an advanced age. "Animals that clone themselves, in which part of an individual's body is passes on to the next generations, have particularly interesting...

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2011-04-11 11:32:26

By Daniel Stolte, University of Arizona A filter-feeding sea animal holds the promise of unraveling the complex mechanisms underlying heart formation and developing new diagnostics for congenital heart defects Each year in the U.S., approximately 40,000 babies are born with a heart defect. Without the proper diagnosis and treatment, many of these babies would die before their first birthday, according to Dr. Scott Klewer, a cardiologist at the UA's College of Medicine. "We still don't know...

2010-07-30 16:10:33

Discovery of an evolutionary trait from our earliest ancestors could provide insight into the early development of human embryos Using the model organism Ciona intestinalis, commonly known as the sea squirt, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have uncovered the origins of the second heart field in vertebrates. Sea squirts are bag-like gelatinous creatures whose full genome has been sequenced--one that shares 80 percent of its genes with humans. Though its body is clearly...

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2010-05-14 07:35:31

An aggressive, invasive aquatic organism that is on the state's most dangerous species list has been discovered in both Winchester Bay and Coos Bay, and scientists say this "colonial tunicate" "“ Didemnum vexillum "“ has serious economic and environmental implications. Its propensity to foul surfaces of boats, fishing nets, water intakes, docks and buoys could make it costly to control, and its ability to smother shellfish beds and sensitive marine environments threatens other...

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2010-03-02 09:30:20

New model for testing anti-Alzheimer's drugs: At a pier near you Alzheimer's disease affects an estimated 27 million people worldwide. It is the most common form of age-related dementia, possibly the most feared disease of old age. There is no cure, and the available drugs only help to relieve symptoms without slowing progression of the disease. One of the characteristic changes in the brains of Alzheimer's patients is the accumulation of plaques and tangles; currently, the best hope for...


Latest Ascidiacea Reference Libraries

Vase Tunicate, Ciona intestinalis
2014-01-12 00:00:00

The Vase Tunicate (Ciona intestinalis) is a species of sea squirt widely distributed in Northern European waters. It has also spread to other parts of the world, where it is considered invasive. It grows in dense aggregations on any floating or submerged substrate, especially on artificial structures like pilings, aquaculture gear, floats and boat hulls. It is found in the lower intertidal and subtidal zones. Sea squirts have been long recognized as being possibly the closest invertebrate...

Atlantic Fire Ascidian, Pyrosoma atlanticum
2014-01-12 00:00:00

Pyrosoma atlanticum is a species of colonial tunicate found in temperate waters worldwide, usually between 50°N and 50°S. It is most plentiful at depths below 800 feet. It is found in colonies that are pelagic and move throughout the water column. In the evening the colony will move closer to the surface and descend back by dawn. Large colonies can rise and descend more than 2,500 feet in a single day. A colony of this species is cylindrical and can grow up to 2 feet long and 2.5 inches...

Sea Pineapple, Halocynthia roretzi
2014-01-12 00:00:00

The Sea Pineapple (Halocynthia roretzi) is an edible species of tunicate. It is known as the Meongge in Korea and the Hoya or Maboya in Japan. This creature lives in shallow water, usually attached to rocks and artificial substrate. It is adapted to cold water temperatures between 36 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, but prefer temperatures close to 54 degrees F. This creature is known for both its peculiar appearance, described by journalist Nick Tosches as “something that could exist only in...

Phallusia nigra
2014-01-12 00:00:00

Phallusia nigra is a species of sea squirt (tunicate) found in tropical seas around the world. It is usually found in shallow waters attached to any hard substrate. It is a solitary animal rather than living in colonies. Although the native range of this animal is unknown, the tropical western Atlantic Ocean, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean are possibilities. Like all ascidians, this species has a thick leathery envelope (tunic) containing cellulosic material. The tunic encloses a...

Painted Tunicate, Clavelina picta
2014-01-12 00:00:00

The Painted Tunicate (Clavelina picta) is a species of sea squirt (tunicate) in the genus Clavelina (known as “little bottles.”). It is found in the waters of Florida, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean. It often occurs in large clusters attached to black coral, sponges, and gorgonians. Colonies may contain hundreds of individuals. This animal, like all ascidians, is a sessile filter feeder. It is about 0.75 inches long and comes in a variety of colors, including reds, purples and yellows....

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Word of the Day
omphalos
  • The navel or umbilicus.
  • In Greek archaeology: A central boss, as on a shield, a bowl, etc.
  • A sacred stone in the temple of Apollo at Delphi, believed by the Greeks to mark the 'navel' or exact center-point of the earth.
'Omphalos' comes from the ancient Greek.
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