Sticky Situations (Traps)

on Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Have you ever been on the beach during a storm and wondered what it feels like to be a scared little mollusk stuck to a rock? Don’t worry the organisms have become well adapted for these conditions; in order to adapt they evolved a unique method to fasten tight to substrates which prevents their body from drying out, being structurally damaged, or washed away in a storm. How do they do this? They secrete a sticky substance that holds them tightly to objects in order to survive harsh weather conditions and tides. This sticky adhesive not only holds mussels in place it also heals wounds, which is why researchers have been working on producing a synthetic mimic. Scientists have developed many adhesives trying to mimic the mussels; they have also been working on perfecting the sticky substance to replicate the exact substance secreted by the mussel’s bristle fibers. Mussels have inspired many adhesives such as wood glue and antimicrobial healing adhesives.

This current adhesive product mimics the self-healing sticky substance produced by mussels. Mussel adhesives are unique to mimic because of their underwater and above water activity in healing microtears and their strong adhesive ability. This self-healing substance is made up of a large polymer molecule that has the ability to instantly reform when pulled apart. This adhesive has great medical potential because of its self-healing properties. The neat mechanism for self-healing involves metal ions that will automatically reform when the bonds are broken. This synthetic adhesive can be altered by changing the metal ion or altering the pH. In the future, scientists hope to use this self-healing adhesive to apply to wounds, similar to previous studies done on antimicrobial adhesives that have been used in underwater studies on dolphins and whales. This new stronger bonding material will reduce healing time and bandage time of an injured individual. You can read more about this article at

The comic was found at which has a large series of funny comics if you ever get the chance to check it out. The muscle photographed at the top was posted from the science daily article.

I tried to hook the reader with the title, comic strip, and question posed at the beginning. I then tried to use the arouse and fulfill idea by telling the research as a story and not just as facts. I used the show me don't tell me idea by incorporating organisms and adhesive products such as healing agents and glues to draw in the general public and not just scientists. I tried to make the research more interesting by hinting to concepts we talked about in marine biology, so students would go oh hey i learned about that in class and want to read more. I tried to make the story flow well by making relevant topic transitions between sentences and paragraphs as well.


Mason Posner said...

One technique to think about is the use of analogies. When you mention the polymer being able to reform after being pulled apart you could use a zipper or velcro as an illustrative example.

I agree that your introduction is a good hook for your post.

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