music articles

The Pluteus Trip

The Pluteus Trip is a music compilation that I created inspired by the life of these nifty echinoderm larvae named pluteus. It was released more than ten years ago in my (now defunct) music blog ccNeLaS.

The album is freely available at:

Please find the original description below and enjoy the trip!

The Pluteus Trip front cover.
Front cover of The Pluteus Trip.

Plutei are born in the seawater. They represent a specific life stage (larva) of some marine invertebrates, the Echinoderms. Most of them are less than 1mm long, so tiny that inertial forces are dominated by viscous forces of the water.

Just imagine if air was honey and we had to go for a walk… Plutei can swim and feed in this environment using their long arms and cilia. However, Plutei are ephemeral. They swim (and eat) for weeks or maybe months, before something else takes place.

Currents can take them really far away from the place they were born. Millions of Plutei are born at once. How many would survive? How many would be thousands of miles away? How many would get proper food and not be eaten?

Plutei carry the tissue of adults inside them. The food they eat goes to adult tissues. In the end, the adult in formation takes over the larval body and the Pluteus is gone.

Plutei are part of the ocean’s hidden life. Organisms we can’t see easily, but that certainly got in between our toes when walking along the beach, or were swallowed during a swim…

The Pluteus Trip back cover.
Back cover of The Pluteus Trip with the song list.
biology notes

Larval biscuit

My former – but not forgotten – larval crush is the Image of the Week on @BIOINTERACTIVE Larval Biscuit

Larval biscuit (Clypeaster subdepressus).

See A sea biscuit’s life for more.

biology imaging notes

Embryonic cell division

At some point in our lives, we have all been through that (=embryonic cleavage).

Movie of a developing echinoderm embryo accelerated 3x.
notes biology imaging

Face to face with the pluteus larva

Pluteus larva.
Frontal view of an echino pluteus larva. The image is composed of 122 photos in different focal planes merged into one.


notes biology imaging

Sea biscuit metamorphosis on the Node’s calendar

The sea biscuit metamorphosis image that I submitted for the Node’s intersection image competition was selected for the November calendar! You can download it here.

Sea biscuit metamorphosis.
biology imaging notes

Metamorphosis of a sea biscuit

Metamorphosis is a dramatic life-changing event for many invertebrates. It’s the intersection between two distinct lives – larval and adult. It is how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly.

The process is fascinating, specially when you have the chance to see it happening with your own eyes. You too can see it in the video A Sea Biscuit’s Life.

Recently the community website the Node from The Company of Biologists announced a thematic image competition. The images needed to be related to developmental biology and some sort of intersection.

Because intersection is essentially another word for metamorphosis, I submitted a photomicrograph of a metamorphosing sea biscuit from my master’s thesis research. It made it to the final and was a runner-up!

Metamorphosis of a sea biscuit.
Metamorphosis is a drastic (and common) event in animal life histories intersecting larval and adult stages. The photo shows a sea biscuit during metamorphosis. The apparently amorphous mass of cells exposes the duality of this transformation moment. The larval body retracted and lost its form, but larval skeleton spicules are still attached (at the top). At the bottom developing podia and spines already move and interact with the substrate as the sea biscuit learns how to walk its first steps.
biology notes

A Sea Biscuit’s Life

My video about the life cycle of a sea biscuit is now online!

A Sea Biscuit’s Life.

Also available on Vimeo. Learn more at: