Let biomimicry expert (15 years!) and Biomimicry 3.8 co-founder Dayna Baumeister explain the amazing color-changing skills of the octopus.
AskNature Nuggets | Episode 11
Thank you to YouTube user tabubilgirl for their Creative Commons licensed footage of the cuttlefish used in this video:
Octopuses and their cousins – squid and cuttlefish- all have one thing in common and that is they have no shell. And without a shell, they have to be able to protect from predators. So what they’ve evolved, over all these millions of years, is the ability to change color and to match their surroundings, like camoflauge.
But they can do it in an instant. The way they do it is that they have specialized skin cells that contain chromatophores. What chromatophores are are special pockets that hold pigments and by using their nerves, they change the shape and size of those chromatophores, effectively dispursing those pigments or concentrating those pigments to match the landscape in which they’re traveling.
Can you imagine if our buildings or our clothing was capable of moving pigments and we could match and blend and be cool or be warm depending on the colors we have? Octopus would be the one to ask.
Filmed in Portland at the 2012 Biomimicry Education Summit, let Sayuri Yamanaka and Linda Paisley of Biomimicry Texas explain the amazing survival strategies of everyone's favorite picnic crasher, the fire ant.
AskNature Nuggets | Episode 10
Thank you to Flickr user Maggie (Nile Red) for their Creative Commons licensed footage of the fire ant flotilla in action:
Linda: We're from Biomimicry Texas…
Sayuri: …and we’re going to talk la hormiga de fuego: fire ants.
Linda: The fire ant has a unique strategy for surviving flooding.
Sayuri (in Spanish): They can use their jaws, their arms, and parts of their bodies that have a sticky substance to join together and form a round and flat shape in order to float.
Linda: Its hydrophobic cuticle and hairs on its legs also trap air, allowing it to float for days.
Sayuri (in Spanish): And with this, they can protect their queen and their colony and can survive.
Linda: What can the fire ant teach us about rapid deployment in emergency response situations?
Sayuri (in Spanish): Or, how can we utilize the knowledge of the fire ants for our manufacturing processes?
Filmed in Portland at the 2012 Biomimicry Education Summit, let Adelheid Fischer --Biomimicry Fellow and Coordinator of InnovationSpace at Arizona State University-- explain how she finds inspiration in the stunning good looks of the star-nosed mole.
AskNature Nuggets | Episode 9
Thank you to YouTube user kiwanoMLA for their Creative Commons licensed footage of the young star-nosed moles used in this video:
"My favorite animal is the star-nosed mole and what I love about this animal is that is has these two giant front paws that look like catcher’s mitts and it has very, very squinty little eyes. It’s about the size of a baked potato, so it fits very neatly into the palm of your hand.
But what really captures peoples’ imaginations is its nose itself. It looks like a sea anemone; tt looks like a starfish. The New York Times described it as “raw hamburger being put through a meat grinder.”
It does a couple of things that are pretty amazing. Most people think it uses that sea anemone thing on its nose as a way to smell the world, which they’ve discovered is not the case. It actually is this touch-sensing organ. The other really cool thing about it is recently it’s been shown that it’s the only mammal to actually be able to smell underwater. What it does is it sends out these bubbles and inhales at lightening speeds. The bubbles catch odor molecules underwater and as the animal inhales, it is able to sense food in its environment underwater. (Note: follow this link to see this behavior in action: youtu.be/7VD294VYAVg )
Most people look at adaptations that organisms make to their environments as an opportunity for getting inspiration to solve their own problems. I think sometimes what we forget is that a lot of these organisms provide us with opportunities for wonder that’s just as important as solving some of our critical challenges.
So can we learn some amazing things from the sensory apparatus of the star nosed mole’s nose? Probably… or undoubtedly. But at the same time, the fact that this tiny, potato sized animal has developed this extraordinary way of navigating its world, is just a cause for wonder and a cause for celebration. And it’s worth it just for that."
Let Biomimicry 3.8 Institute's Director of Youth Education Sam Stier give you some insight into nature's premier polymer producer.
AskNature Nuggets | Episode 8
"I’m standing next to one of the busiest factories in the world. Millions of chemical reactions are taking place here every second. [look up at tree]
One of the things plants are excellent at making is long fibers of carbon atoms strung together. The tree knits these fibers together to make itself. About half the weight of the tree is carbon.
Where does it get all this dense, heavy carbon? From here – the air.
The tree eats all this carbon through tiny openable holes in the underside of a leaf.
It’s not easy to turn this [air] into this [solid tree]. But a tree knows how to do it.
You know what else is made of long fibers of carbon atoms strung together? [bend leaf]
Plastic. What if trees taught us how to make our plastics out of this [air] - over-abundant carbon dioxide. If trees can do it, we can learn how."
Man's idea of chemistry often involves nasty chemicals, bunsen burners, and lab coats, but have you ever considered how nature does chemistry? The colors, smells, and structures that occur naturally are created by nature using the materials that surround them in the conditions in which they live. How can humans make concrete influenced by coral? Or adhesives based on blue mussels?
Let Biomimicry 3.8's Green Chemistry Naturalist Mark Dorfman explain how nature could be the best chemistry teacher that human's have ever had.
AskNature Nuggets | Episode 7
AskNature Nuggets are short videos created by Biomimicry 3.8 to remind you of all the amazing strategies and adaptations that occur in the natural world. How does nature... ?
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