UNCW Alumna Discovers Crustacean Camouflage

Laura Bagge ’08, ’11M first discovered marine biology catching ghost crabs during summer visits to the aquarium near Emerald Isle, NC. That early interest inspired her to major in biology and marine biology at UNCW.

Bagge, who earned her scuba diving certification at age 13, explored her first shipwreck off the North Carolina coast. Now, as part of her doctoral degree program at Duke University, she is a scientific diver. Doing what she loves has led Bagge to an exciting scientific discovery about how some mid-water crustaceans camouflage themselves from predators.

Bagge’s Ph.D. dissertation research findings have recently been published in the journal Current Biology. As part of their camouflage, the amphipods Bagge studied are covered in an anti-reflective coating made of what appears to be living bacteria, which dampens the reflection of light, making them less visible to predators and prey. While there is much more for Bagge to study, her research may also have implications for applied science in biomedicine and military defense.

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Originally published January 10, 2017. Original story by Caitlin Taylor.

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