Museum’s 150-Year-Old Plankton Have Thicker Shells Than Their Modern Counterparts
By Theresa Machemer/Smithsonianmag.com
The H.M.S. Challenger spent just over three years in the late 1800s circumnavigating the globe and studying ocean life. Today, thousands of the specimens collected during the Challenger expedition reside at London’s Natural History Museum.
In a new study published in Scientific Reports, researchers at the museum compared plankton collected on the Challenger expedition to modern specimens. They found that on average, today’s plankton has thinner shells than those from 150 years ago—likely as a result of climate change.
The Challenger was a small warship before it was a research vessel. Fifteen of its 17 guns were removed before the mission to make more space on the ship, which was then decked out with rooms for photography, dissections, laboratories and a small library. The Challenger set off in December 1872 with thousands of bottles and boxes for holding specimens and 181 miles of rope to measure the ocean’s depth.
Throughout the journey, the crew would dredge the bottom of the ocean with a weighted net. The net brought up fish, mud and at least one shark. The six scientists aboard the ship documented everything they found, big and small.
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.
She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – one daughter-in-law; Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with her husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescues.