Scientists turn to social media to track barnacles

By on August 3, 2012

Scientists in Ireland researching natural adhesives want the public in Western Ireland to alert them via Facebook and Twitter if they spot an especially sticky type of barnacle washed up on shore.

Researchers Dr. Anne Marie Power and Jaimie-Leigh Jonker of the National University of Ireland Galway are in search of goose barnacles, which produce a strong adhesive made up of proteins, according to a Scientific American blog post by Claire O’Connell.

Timely alerts through Facebook and Twitter could help the researchers collect live barnacles, which die quickly once washed on shore.

The scientists would like to understand more about how the barnacle’s adhesive works in salt water. This may help develop synthetic adhesives that work inside the human body.

The barnacles are unusual because they produce the components of the adhesive in a single cell. This is unusual as animals typically produce adhesives in separate parts of the body and then combine them.

Inform the scientists of barnacle sightings by tweeting @BarnacleHunt or posting to their Facebook page.

Image: Michel Estermann via Wikimedia Commons

One Comment

  1. Taylor ussery

    October 7, 2015 at 11:55 am

    I Have found many of these on various items washed up in Virginia beach after latest front moved past

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