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Medals, titles, ribbons, a congratulatory hug from a parent—there are many ways to get accolades for our hard work. For biologists, one of the greatest honors is to discover a creature previously unknown to science. While it may seem that most living things have been discovered, it’s estimated that up to 91 percent of the world’s marine species still await description. Whales, birds, and fish are pretty well examined, but once you get past these charismatic megafauna and start looking at life in the oceans on a mini, even microscopic, scale, the possibility of seeing a creature that no other person ever has expands exponentially.
In this video, we meet two researchers who study meiofauna, creatures so small they live in between the grains of sand and mud. Like the creatures they study, the meiofauna research community is also small, which makes the potential for new discoveries almost endless. María Herranz and Niels Van Steenkiste, both postdocs at the University of British Columbia, take us to the domain of mud dragons and flatworms, nematodes and water bears. A walk on the beach will never be the same.