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Highly-Conductive Shark Jelly Could Inspire New Tech ( 45

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers from UC Santa Cruz, the University of Washington, and the Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason found shark jelly to have the highest proton conductivity ever seen in a biological material. The jelly's conductivity begins to approach that of leading proton-conducting polymers. Tiny organs in the skin of sharks, skates and rays, called the ampullae of Lorenzini, are key to the ability. Scientists believe that the jelly is what has been able to allow these animals to detect weak electric fields produced by their prey, as the organs, which are visible as pores in the skin, are connected to electrosensory cells via long, jelly-filled canals. Marco Rolandi, a co-author on a paper detailing the findings in Science Advances, sees potential use for the "shark jelly" in the development of new or enhanced materials or even the creation of new sensor technology. "The observation of high proton conductivity in the jelly is very exciting," Rolandi said. "We hope that our findings may contribute to future studies of the electrosensing function of the ampullae of Lorenzini and the organ overall, which is itself rather exceptional."
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Highly-Conductive Shark Jelly Could Inspire New Tech

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  • by king neckbeard ( 1801738 ) on Monday May 16, 2016 @08:52PM (#52124977)
    Seems like that might be useful for having sharks with fricken laser beams attached to their heads.
    • When I clicked the headline of this story I said please please please let it be lasers. I'm so greatful for the first post to be about that.

  • Right.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 16, 2016 @09:11PM (#52125029)

    Because sharks don't have enough problems by getting turned into shark-fin soup in alarming numbers.

  • This discovery might lead to significant improvements in batteries and/or fuel cells.

  • It must be shark jelly, because shark jam don't shake like that. []

  • Anyone got a hypothesis for the natural selection process to create such organs?

    Yea, I went there. Repent or burn in hell. Heathen. Jesus still loves ya...

    • by tomhath ( 637240 )

      Given that muscles and nerves operate by small electric signals it isn't much of a leap to see how an animal could evolve a mechanism to detect an induced current when it's in a magnetic field. Pretty much the same as any of our other senses (vision, sound, touch, taste - all just stimulation of nerves).

      It's well known that sharks can navigate and find prey by detecting magnetic fields []. No doubt it took a few hundred million generations of natural selection to fine tune the mechanism, but sharks have been a

    • by wbr1 ( 2538558 )

      Anyone got a hypothesis for the natural selection process to create such organs?

      Yea, I went there. Repent or burn in hell. Heathen. Jesus still loves ya...

      May as well ask what natural selection process led to eyes, or a liver. Either you believe that random mutations can lead to beneficial changes that are passed to more successful generations or you believe in a mystical sky being. I see what camp you are in.

      • It is possible to believe in both, even the pope has said that evolution doesn't conflict with the bible. []

        Heck, that article even talks about how non controversial it was to Catholics, as it has been the position of the church for a long time.

  • Highly-Conductive Shark Jelly

    I'm sure the orchestra will be both inspired and grossed-out.

  • Resonance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ann Coulter ( 614889 ) on Tuesday May 17, 2016 @01:44AM (#52125887) Journal

    Embed chemoluminescent elements into the jelly and attach full and semitransparent mirrors at both ends to make a resonance chamber. Then you will have a shark laser.

  • Protons are part of the nucleus. Did they mean electron conductivity?

    • No, proton conductivity. H2 is just two protons and two electrons, in many biological processes it gets split into two H+ "ions" which happens to be: two protons. E.g. photosynthesis.
      IIRC H2 dissolves in water building H+ and H3O- ions. So that jelly has an easy proton source available.

  • by TheRealHocusLocus ( 2319802 ) on Tuesday May 17, 2016 @06:45AM (#52126505)

    The mom sitting at the kitchen table having just spread peanut butter on a piece of bread. She is holding another piece of bread and the knife is full of glop just dipped from a jar that says


    The kid is sitting across from her. He is staring, aghast. He looks just like all the other kids in Gary Larson kids, wide-eyed and terrified and kind of stupid. It is but another moment in time in the Far Side universe when something normal with a cruel horrifying twist is visited upon its helpless characters.

    No one says anything in the cartoon. The moment is beyond words.

  • Well better than tossing them back in the ocean after you cut off their fins for soup.

  • Are we really ready for this?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Sharks are pretty amazing. Did you also know they do not get cancer, and generally don't get sick at all?

    Sharks (and camels weirdly enough) have an extremely efficient immune system. Instead of producing antibodies, which are around 150 kDa in size to fight disease like most other multi-cellular creatures, they produce a much more efficient molecule, a single-domain antibody, essentially the same thing but around 12 to 15 kDa in size. The smaller size provides less variance in the produced molecule to fi

  • Oh Great! We weren't killing sharks for their fins fast enough that now we have to kill them for their jelly too?

One can't proceed from the informal to the formal by formal means.