UO biologist writes essay about 3 studies of ocean grazers

Image shows a magnified mucous screen

Researchers in the lab of UO marine biologist Kelly Sutherland have drawn attention to their research on the life and times of tiny mucous-mesh grazers such as salps and pyrosomes.

In an essay for The Conversation, Sutherland, assistant professor of biology in the Clark Honors College, summarized for everyday readers the details of a review paper she and her colleagues just published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

“Oceanographers are interested in how material moves through the ocean and how the process could be mediated by organisms,” wrote Sutherland in an essay published in The Conversation. “Mucous mesh grazers might be an overlooked piece of the cycle. The fact that they don’t capture all prey equally has important consequences for how carbon moves through the ocean.”

Sutherland’s essay describes the new technological tools her team used to pursue the research, which has been detailed in three earlier academic papers, and the significance of their discoveries.

Read the essay “Meet the ocean creatures that use a mesh of mucus to catch their food.”

Her piece has been subsequently republished online by Newsweek, Smithsonian and San Francisco Chronicle.