Tardigrades: animals with superpowers

My friend Jared Roach once speculated that “if you can imagine it, biology probably does it.” Tardigrades are a good example of this phenomenon. These hardy little creatures (sometimes called “water bears”) can be found almost anywhere, and they are incredibly robust against almost any environmental challenge. I was very pleased to have analyzed some of the first proteomics data from this species. I must admit, though, that they do not apparently have any connection to space travel!

Learn more about these microscopic creatures at this fascinating blog post by “All you need is Biology.”

All you need is Biology

The smallest bears in the world have almost superhero abilities. Actually, they are not bears: water bears is the popular name of tardigrades. They are virtually indestructible invertebrates: they can survive decades without water or food, to extreme temperatures and they have even survived into outer space. Meet the animal that seems to come from another planet and learn to observe them in your home if you have a microscope.

WHAT IS A TARDIGRADE?

Oso de agua (Macrobiotus sapiens) en musgo. Foto coloreada tomada con microscopio electrónico de barrido (SEM): Foto de Nicole Ottawa & Oliver Meckes Water bear (Macrobiotus sapiens) in moss. Colored photo taken with a scanning electron microscope (SEM). Photo by Nicole Ottawa & Oliver Meckes

Tardigrades or water bears, are a group of invertebrates 0.05-1.5 mm long that preferably live in damp places. They are especially abundant in the film of moisture covering mosses and ferns, although there are oceanic and freshwater species, so we can consider they live anywhere in the world. Even a few meters away from you, in…

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