Krill and other zooplankton … and sequential hermaphroditism.

Have I mentioned this before? Fin whales love to eat krill. It’s a huge part of their diet (along with other types of zooplankton, small schooling fish, and sometimes a squid or two). Since zooplankton are so important to my animal of study, I’m taking a course on marine zooplankton ecology. Understanding more about them will help me understand more about fin whales!

It’s the second week of class, and we’re already giving presentations – phew! Luckily they are fun – we were encouraged to be creative, sing songs, write haikus – so long as we included the actual science in there somewhere. Here’s mine…

People gave really great talks today – one fact in particular that I found fascinating was that there are several types of animals (zooplankton and fish, at least) who are not only hermaphroditic (crazy in itself!) but that belong to a category of hermaphrodite that is sequential – they start off life as either male or female, and then at some point they switch genders. Amazing! (here’s the wikipedia page describing sequential hermaphoroditism)