Under Pressure: How Comb Jellies (Ctenophora ) Have Adapted to Life at the Bottom of the Ocean

Research shows deep-sea organisms have unique lipid structures to help them survive

The bottom of the ocean is not hospitable: there is no light; the temperature is freezing cold; and the pressure of all the water above will literally crush you. The animals that live at this depth have developed biophysical adaptations that allow them to survive in these harsh conditions. What are these adaptations and how did they develop? University of California-San Diego Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Itay Budin, PhD, teamed up with researchers from around the country to study the cell membranes of ctenophores (“comb jellies”) and found they had unique lipid structures that allow them to live under intense pressure. Their work appeared June 27, 2024 in Science. The article is titled “Homeocurvature Adaptation of Phospholipids to Pressure in Deep-Sea Invertebrates.”
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