Participants in the third International Invasive Sea Squirt Conference, held at WHOI April 26-28, 2010, pose for a commemorative shot. Sea squirts — or tunicates — are spongey, sack-like filter feeders that attach themselves to hard surfaces like rocks, pilings, or the undersides of boats. WHOI researcher Mary Carman, an organizer of the conference, has been studying tunicates for ten years, and has seen some varieties's presence increase throughout New England waters. Sea squirts can be a nuisance, but are more and more seen as potentially harmful to shell fisheries, as they can attach themselves to and take over eel grasses, which are vital shellfish nurseries.
(Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)