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Tiny Pteropods

WHOI scientist Gareth Lawson recently led a research cruise in the Pacific to study sea butterflies, swimming snails whose scientific name, pteropod, means 'wing foot'. This species, Limacina inflata, has short, wing-like extensions that it flaps to keep from sinking. As small as sand grains, they are extremely important in marine food chains. Evidence has shown they are also vulnerable to increasing ocean acidification, which can corrode their thin, glassy shells. This image is in the 2013 WHOI calendar, available at the WHOI store and at the Ocean Science Exhibit Center. (Photo by Leo Bianco-Bercial, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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