2010 Science Fellow Casey Dunn: Superorganisms

Casey Dunn

Casey Dunn is rethinking what individuality means.

The biologist and 2010 Science and Public Leadership Fellow studies the origins of biological complexity and diversity. Dunn is fascinated by deep-sea superorganisms known as siphonophores, which can reach more than 100 feet long. Challenging the definitions of individuality, siphonophores function as a single animal, yet comprise thousands of organisms that are genetically identical but function in different ways. Dunn explores how evolutionary pressures have acted on the siphonophore itself, and whether natural selection is also acting upon individual organisms within it.

Dunn also founded Creature Cast, a collaborative blog about zoology.

(Photo credit: Kris Krüg)

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