- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
"I've been in touch with the sculptor Solomon Bassoff (Faducciart) in Roseville," said Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and professor of entomology at UC Davis. "He did the caterpillar in the Davis Central Park. I'm thinking of a concrete sculpture roughly 4 feet by eight feet."
"The reason for this is that we have one of the world's largest tardigrade collections, which was compiled by Steve Heydon's predecessor, Bob Schuster," she said. "Tardigrades are really popular with kids in part because of their representation in the movies Ant-Man and Ant-Man and the Wasp, Star Trek and Family Guy."
Kimsey wrote about the tardigrades in her newsletter several years ago. The water bear "has to be one of the most peculiar and indestructible groups of animals known," she wrote. The microscopic and nearly indestructible tardigrade can survive being heated to 304 degrees Fahrenheit or being chilled for days at -328 F. And, even if it's frozen for 30 years, it can still reproduce." See video on EurekAlert.
They belong to their own phyllum, the Tardigrada (meaning "slow steppers"), and to date there are some 1,500 described species throughout the world. "Tardigrades can survive high pressures of more than 1,200 atmospheres found in the bottom of the abyss," Kimsey said. "They can tolerate 1,000 times more ionizing radiation than other animals."
"Tardigrades are awesome," Kimsey said. "They can dry out completely and then become immortal. In fact, SpaceIL may have left thousands of dried tardigrades on the moon when it crashed earlier this year."
Stuffed toy water bears are also popular in the Bohart Museum's gift shop.
The museum, which houses nearly 8 million insect specimens and a live "petting zoo" (including Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and tarantulas), as well as the gift shop, is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane.
The Bohart Museum Society has set up an account on Go Fund Me; see https://www.gofundme.com/f/waterbear-sculpture
- Great initiative that I am happy to support!
- Tardigrades were some of my childhood friends
- Favis seems like a great place for a tardigrade sculpture! I'm inspired by the tardigradologists & nematologists I've admired there. A eutardigrade seems like it'd be less prone to causing injuries, but I can support a heterotardigrade :)
- Robert Schuster, UCD Bohart Museum, was instrumental in my career studying tardigrades. He taught me how to identify the species (known at that time) and how to use the SEM. His tardigrade collection is housed in the Bohart Museum.