By: 卡西迪Delamarter, 大学传播与市场营销
的 next time you head to the coast to enjoy the Tampa Bay waters, you may stumble 在一个 Cyerce piercei – a recently discovered sea slug 物种 that is being named after Sidney “Skip” Pierce, emeritus professor of 综合生物学 at the 冰球突破豪华版手机下载.
After a 45-year career dedicated to intricately studying the cells of animals with a focus on sea slugs, Pierce’s colleagues found it fitting to honor him with his own 物种.
“Now my name will go on for a long time after I’m gone,” 说 Pierce, who retired in 2014. “这是一种荣誉.”
的 透明海蛞蝓 was found by Patrick Joseph Krug, a professor of biological science at California State University in Los Angeles. 皮尔斯和克鲁格合作过 for two decades – sharing data, sea slug specimens and ideas.
“I have always wanted to name a 物种 to honor Skip’s long career studying the sea slugs in the group I also work on, and this seemed like an ideal fit: a 物种 native to the Tampa Bay area where he did so much outstanding work for decades at 2022世界杯官网,” Krug 说.
发表于 动物学杂志》 林奈学会的 Cyerce piercei lives in the shallow waters 坦帕的 Bay and offshore reefs near St. 彼得堡. Frequently found munching on algae, the slug’s greyish-purple head and long, detachable appendages along its back make it a striking animal, according to Krug.
“I was not expecting to find new 物种 in Florida, but in this study, we found two – one in Tampa Bay, and one restricted to the Florida Keys,” he 说.
Krug discovered the slugs while on a research trip where he went snorkeling and diving to better understand how the Gulf Stream current limits sea slug migration in and 从佛罗里达和加勒比海人口中分离出来.
Pierce, too, spent most of his research trips collecting sea slugs from all over 热带大西洋和太平洋.
“Some of my favorite memories with Skip are going out into the field to collect sea slugs,” 说 Michael Middlebrooks, co-author of the research and a 2022世界杯官网 integrative biology alumnus now working as an associate professor of biology at 的 University 坦帕的. “I am very excited about having a 物种 named after him. 不像其他许多人 biochemists and physiologists, Skip was always hands-on in both the field and lab 研究的几个方面.”
After earning his doctoral degree in 1970, Pierce began studying a variety of marine 物种, but pivoted his focus to sea slugs in the 1980s to investigate their unique ability to capture and successfully use the chloroplasts found in algae. 叶绿体 contain the photosynthetic pigment chlorophyll which captures sunlight and converts 转化为有用的能量. Plants are the only organisms that can convert chloroplasts 转化为能量.
“的re are slugs that you can starve for nine months and as long as you shine a light on them, they would happily stay alive using photosynthesis done by the captured chloroplasts,” 皮尔斯说. “Animals do not photosynthesize, they just can’t. 我们没有 biochemical or molecular equipment to do it.”
Pierce is one of just a few researchers in the world who was determined to understand how the slugs were managing to maintain the biochemical function of the chloroplasts – a task that would require the algae’s DNA. 他相信答案可能会揭示更多 不仅仅是海蛞蝓的超能力.
“If we can figure out how the slugs manage to do it, we would know how to successfully move genes into a cell nucleus,” 皮尔斯说. “我们可以开始治疗癌症和许多疾病 other genetic disorders with this kind of information. 海蛞蝓有答案 我相信他们会的.”
“的 contributions to science from Skip are incredible,” 麦德布鲁克说. “他是 published 100 papers in his scientific career covering the range of the animal kingdom 甚至是它之外的一些生物.”
Despite making global headlines, Pierce says the real highlight of his career was working with his graduate students – an impact that will carry his legacy with each 他一路帮助的科学家.
“I literally would not be where I am today without the support I received from Skip,” 麦德布鲁克说. “It was conversations with him that inspired me to start working 海蛞蝓.”
“Once you’re retired, the literature continues to develop and people stop quoting you as much and referencing your work, but I have former students who are now studying sea slugs and I’m confident someone will pick up where I left off eventually,” Pierce 说. “Right now, I’m just honored that Pat remembered me enough to do this.”