BANGOR – The Maine Science Festival is proud to announce that invertebrate zoologist Dr. Emma Perry and John Bapst high school student Noelle Killarney – the team that discovered a new species of tardigrade – have asked us to help them in naming the new species. Perry noted, “With everything that has happened in the last six months, we thought it would be nice for people to be part of this new discovery.”
John Bapst Memorial High School student Noelle Killarney and invertebrate zoologist Dr. Emma Perry discovered this species of tardigrade during outings to the Bangor City Forest in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. They were collecting samples and came across this micro-animal, consulting with a colleague in Poland. Since determining it was a new species, Perry and Killarney have been collecting more samples, making slides, describing this tardigrade, and doing some scanning to make the image bigger.
Tardigrades, also known as “water bears” or “moss piglets” are water-dwelling, eight-legged, segmented micro-animals. Dr. Perry, who has done the work to confirm that the species is new to us, has put together four name options for the newly discovered tardigrade found in Bangor City Forest. They are:
- Dacatylobiotus killarneyorum (because Noelle found the first animals in this species)
- Dactylobiotus bangoriensis (because the animals in this species were found in Bangor)
- Dactylobiotus covidus (Emma had the time to collect and describe this species due to the shut down from COVID-19)
- Dactylobiotus pandemus (Emma had the time to collect and describe this species due to the pandemic. Pandemic = pandemus in Latin.)
There is also a space for survey takers to suggest a different name.
The Tardigrade naming survey ends at 5 p.m. (Eastern) today, Friday, Oct. 30 and is found at the Maine Science Festival website . We’ll announce the name in November.
Perry says it has been a really neat experience for both of them.
“The excitement of discovery — you can’t replace that, and it was lovely to see in Noelle,” Perry told NEWS CENTER Maine via Zoom. “The other piece of it is because we’re not using any fancy equipment, we’re collecting; we’re making slides.”
An interview with Perry and Killarney talking about their discovery can be heard as a bonus episode of the new Maine Science Podcast. Each episode is a conversation with a Mainer who is working in science, engineering, technology, and innovation, and deep-dive into who they are and what they do. Guests include entrepreneurs, researchers, and professors, and now this bonus episode spotlighting a discovery in Maine.
As the first and only science festival in Maine, the Maine Science Festival is a celebration of the national and world leading science by the Mainers who do it. The MSF encourages attendees to question the world around them and seeks to inspire not only the next generation of scientists and engineers, but also facilitate grass roots scientific thinking at the citizen level. Through partners and sponsors, the MSF works to showcase the remarkable work happening in Maine daily. During this pandemic, the MSF has launched the Maine Science Podcast to continue to highlight the remarkable work happening in Maine.
For more details, updates and information visit www.mainesciencefestival.org, and find the MSF on Facebook, Twitter (@MEScienceFest), and Instagram (mainesciencefestival).