Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Discovery Lecture Series
presented by AltaSea and Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Friday, October 7, 2016
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Hugs and drugs from sea slugs

By Dr. Patrick J. Krug, California State University Los Angeles

Sea slugs are among the most spectacularly beautiful animals in the world, but what can explain how such stunning colors and patterns evolved among vulnerable, shell-less creatures in an ocean full of hungry predators? We will explore the many ways in which sea slugs specialized to feed on prey that most other consumers reject, and how these vivid molluscs recycle aspects of their prey to their own benefit, becoming toxic, stinging, or photosynthetic.

Biomedical uses of sea slugs will also be presented, including their role in medicinal drug discovery and as model organisms for neurobiology. Finally, we will discuss the various solutions different slug groups have evolved to deal with the reproductive challenges that arise when everyone is both a boy and a girl, and how violent forms of mating may contribute to species interactions and even set range limits along our coast.

Dr. Patrick Krug is a marine biologist and professor at Cal State L.A. His doctoral work at Scripps Institution of Oceanography examined sea slugs as a source of new medicinal drugs. For the past 20 years he has also used photosynthetic sea slugs to understand how hermaphrodite mating strategies evolve; how new species form by shifting their feeding preferences; and how microscopic larvae navigate in the face of strong ocean currents.

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