Intersecting strands of a salp's feeding net glow green, dyed with a fluorescent dye. Salps, jelly-like ocean animals, make nets of mucus and use them to efficiently filter particles from the water. Scientists Kelly Sutherland (a WHOI-MIT Joint Program graduate now at CalTech), Larry Madin,(WHOI) and Roman Stocker (MIT) discovered that salp nets catch some of the ocean's tiniest, most abundant cells—cells so small they should pass through the net's holes. They recently reported their results, calculating that this feat of natural-world bioengineering lets salps be even better at removing carbon from surface water and transporting it to ocean depths, away from the atmosphere.
(Photo by Kelly Sutherland, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)