Studies of light and the distribution of Puget Sound
sea squirts: A vehicle for coupling research programs and undergraduate
education at the Shannon Point Marine Center.
Brian Bingham, Ph.D.
Shannon Point Marine Center
Wednesday, June 13, 2001
clearly demonstrated the harmful effects of UV radiation. UV affects
reproduction, growth, and survival of many plants and animals. Work at the
Shannon Point Marine Center is demonstrating that sea squirts are
particularly vulnerable. Solar radiation can have rapid lethal effects on
eggs, embryos, larvae, juveniles, and adults. The damaging effects are not
restricted to UVB. UVA and low-wavelength visible light can also be very
harmful. The vulnerability of sea squirt species varies enormously,
particularly in regards to the life-history stages that are most affected.
Differences in sensitivity are associated with specific anatomical,
behavioral, and life-history traits of individual species.
Research on this topic has proven an excellent way to involve
university students in scientific research. The research questions touch
on issues ranging from ozone depletion and global climate change to basic
ecology and conservation of marine diversity. As such, the work appeals to
students with a variety of backgrounds and interests. Studying sea squirts
and light, undergraduate students at the Shannon Point Marine Center are
learning about research while contributing to our understanding of marine
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