Biodiversity has informed, guided, or inspired human progress through a myriad of technological innovation. This is often referred to as biomimetics or biomimicry. Mini episodes of the case for conservation podcast will explore this topic, as a complement to the full-length monthly interview episodes. Each will discuss an innovation, as well as the ecology, taxonomy and conservation of the organism(s) that inspired it.
Mini episode (ii): Marine worms & surgical adhesives
One of the challenges facing certain surgical procedures is how to glue tissue in a wet environment. The sandcastle worm (Phragmatopoma californica) solved a similar problem millions of years ago, and we have managed to mimic the recipe. Here is a link to the paper I mentioned about the sandcastle worm and other marine organisms' adhesive adaptations. And here is another, to a book on polychaetes.
Mini episode (i): How biodiversity informs technological progress
We conserve nature ultimately for our own good, to sustain the benefits that it offers humankind. Curiously, nature's diversity is seldom given the attention it deserves for its role in human flourishing. But every organism has untold potential to help us solve humanity's practical problems. Thousands have already done so. In this first mini episode I overview the issue and explain what to expect in subsequent episodes. Here is a link to the paper quoted in this episode.
Upcoming mini episode (iii): Desert beetles and water harvesting
Water shortage is one of the most formidable challenges facing in increasing proportion of humankind. The Namib desert beetle (Stenocara gracilipes) has an adaptation to its hyper-aid environment that is informing innovations to deal with this challenge.