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Prof. David Kisailus studies engineering and invention on the half-shell
Date:4/30/2008

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) -- Marine snails, sea urchins, and other animals from the sea are teaching researchers in UC Riversides Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering how to make the world a better place.

Consider, for example, the possibilities of designing a lightweight armor that would protect U.S. soldiers in Iraq from Improvised Explosive Devices. Or, what flexible ceramics might offer industry. Or, how everyone could benefit from new ways of producing and storing energy.

Nature holds these secrets and the answers to the questions that Prof. David Kisailuss research group is learning how to ask. My hope, Kisailus said, is that we can truly learn from these organisms how to design, optimize, and synthesize engineering materials that display properties that we as engineers can only dream of.

Studying ocean animals daily as they grow seems a tough task for Inland Southern California scientists. Instead of commuting to the coast, the researchers have brought the oceans to UCR in a unique 500-gallon seawater system that dominates the Biomimetic and Nanostructured Materials Laboratory, offering homes for both coldwater (60 degrees Fahrenheit) and tropical (80 degrees Fahrenheit) species.

While some people trek to exotic, faraway locales to admire the beauty of coral reefs, at UCR, people simply can visit Bourns Hall to see a dramatic and authentic tropical coral reef ecosystem. Another showcase tank boasts a thriving coldwater marine population that includes Californias red abalone (Haliotis rufescens), purple and brown sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus and Lytechinus pictus), giant keyhole limpets (Megathura crenulata), several coral species (Balanophyllia elegans, Astrangia lajollaensis and Paracyathus stearnsi), along with numerous colonies of club-tipped corallimorpharians (Corynactis californica)
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Contact: Kris Lovekin
kris.lovekin@ucr.edu
951-827-2495
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert  

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