Shaped to Kill

The Evolution of Secret Weapons

Thursday, December 2 @ 4:00 – 4:45 pm

  • Online Presentation
  • Free; Registration required

What we know about open-ocean predators can reveal new patterns and mechanisms in the evolution of the ocean’s food web. A fascinating group of unique carnivorous marine animals called siphonophores, close relatives of the common jellyfish, are specialized individuals that live together as a colonial “superorganism.” Researcher Alejandro Damian-Serrano will share how their unique way of hunting is their “secret weapon”: they can change their complex sets of stinging cells to capture specific prey, an adaptation that challenges our assumption that specialization is an evolutionary dead end.

Alejandro Damian-Serrano, a native of Valencia, Spain, studied zooplankton at the Institute of Marine Science in Barcelona. Alejandro began his PhD graduate studies in 2015 at Yale under Casey Dunn, Peabody curator of Invertebrate Zoology, and has recently begun a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Oregon.