Stachowicz Lab University of California, Davis

Songs about Invertebrates and Marine Ecology


    As long as there have been invertebrate zoology courses, there have been silly neumonics, songs, and more for rembering phylogenies, major inovations, etc. And as long as there have been field ecologists, scraping rocks, weeking plots, and counting bazillions of amphipods, work songs - descended of course from the noble tradition of sea chanties - have been the order of the day. Sadly, They Might Be Giants has yet to record any of these. Below are a few little gems to come from the members of our lab as well as various friends. If you have additional verses for any of these songs, or new invertebrate songs yourself, please mail us and we'll add your creation to this venerable list.

Arthropod
courtesy of K. Hultgren
(to the tune of "Uptown Girl")

Arthropod,
You're not related to the annelids,
Articulata lost out long ago,
and segmentation has just got to go,
18S told us all we need to know,
Ecdyszoa
My Phoronid
amalgam of bits from N. McGinn, J. Byrnes, K. Hultgren, and more
(to the tune of "My Sharona")

Do you have a lophophore, lophophore?
Do you have a lophophore, my phoronid!
Only in Bodega bay, Tomales bay,
Only in Bodega bay, my phoronid!

Chorus:
When you gonna satablize the sand
Smell so bad you scare away all the crabs
Make a little clam safe at home
My, my, my, my, my, woo!
My my my my Phoronid!
She's only a chiton to me
courtesy of K. Hultgren
(to the tune of "She's only a woman to me")
You can tell by the radula tucked in her shell,
And the rest of her covered by mantle as well,
Don't be fooled by the plates, it's a mollusc you see
And the most she will do is scrape rocks in the blue
Cause she's only a chiton to me.
I'm too sexy for my kelp
courtesy of K. Hultgren
(to the tune of "I'm too sexy" by Right Said Fred)
I'm too sexy for my kelp, too sexy for my kelp
Kelp's making me tasty!
I'm too sexy for a tunicate, too sexy for a tunicate
So sexy it grows!

Chorus:
I'm a majid you know what I mean
And I do my little walk on the jetty
Yeah on the jetty, on the jetty yeah
I wave my little chelae on the jetty
Echinodermata
Courtesy of M. Goldstein
(to the tune of "Hakuna Matata")
Echinodermata
They are spiny and cute.
Echinodermata
Remember that sea cucumbers aren't fruit.
It means radial symmetry for the rest of your days.
It means that tube feet ain't no passing craze.
Echinodermata!



Sweet Littorine
courtesy of Chris "Dr. Slash" Harley
(To the tune of "Sweet Child O' Mine", by Guns n Roses)

She's got a smile that it seems to me
Would require a lot of dentistry
She's got way too many teeth for a tiny snail

Now and then when I see her shell
It reminds me of that low tide smell
And L. scutulata leaving her slimy trail

Woooooah woah woah sweet littorine
Wooah oh oh oh sweet snail of mine

You know she hides when those low low tides force her to sit and wait
While thermal stress makes her peptides begin to disintegrate

But when the tide is in she'll be grazing again, foraging far and wide
And hoping that all those hungry crabs will quietly pass her by

Woooooah woah woah sweet littorine
Woah oh oh oh sweet snail of mine
Sessile on a Rock in the Bay
Courtesy of R. Miller
(to the tune of "Sittin' on a Dock of bay")

sessile in the morning sun
i'll be sessile when the evening come
watchin the fish swim in
and then I watch em swim away again, yeah

Chorus:
i'm sessile on a rock in the bay
feelin the tide roll away
ooo, i'm just sessile on a rock in the bay
wastin time

I left my home in the water column
Headed for the benthos
'Cause I've had nothing to settle on
And look like nothin's gonna drift my way

Chorus

Look like everything's gonna change
Nothing still remains the same
I can't do what ten plankters tell me to do
So I guess I'll metamorphose, yes

Sittin' here resting my gills
And this gastropod won't leave me alone
It's two thousand miles I drifted
Just to make this rock my home

Now, I'm just gonna sit on a rock in the bay
Watching the tide roll away
Oooo-wee, sessile on a rock in the bay
Wastin' time

(whistle)
I'm a Tardigrade
courtesy of K. Hultgren
(to the tune of "Piano Man")
Sing me a song, I'm a tardigrade
Sing me a song, tonight
Cause we're all in the mood for a waterbear
And I've got a smile so bright.
Porphyra Girl by K. Aquilino and K. Hultgren
(also to the tune of "Piano Man")

It's 5 AM on a Saturday,
the regular tide shuffles in.
There's a seal on the rock sittin' next to me
and he casually waves with his fin.

He said, "Hun, can you speak of Porphyra?
I'm not really sure how it grows:
Is it slower on the rocks than in the mussel-y spots?
I thought you'd be someone who knows."

Oh, la la la de de da
La la de de da, da dum

Sing us a song, you're Porphyra girl,
sing us a song this morn,
'cause we all want to know 'bout the Stachlabbers.
What's up with the yellow and orange?

Now Jarrett at the lab is a friend of mine,
he gets me Zspar for free,
and sometimes he'll roam in the intertidal zone,
but there's someplace that he'd rather be.
He said, "Kris, I believe this is killing me."
as the smile ran away from his face,
"Well I'm sure that I could be a drama star
if I could get out of this place."

Oh, la la la de de da
La la de de da, da dum

Now Suzanne is a researching scientist
who never had time to weed,
and she's talking with Kyle, who's completing a trial
about how the algae succeed.
And Kirsten is practicing the 'deep grab'
as Kristin scrapes at a stone
Yes, they're sharing a plot they call 63,
but it's better than weeding alone.

Sing us a song, you're Porphyra girl,
sing us a song this morn,
'cause we all want to know 'bout the Stachlabbers.
What's up with the yellow and orange?

It's a pretty good tide for a Saturday,
and Jay Stachowicz gives us a smile,
'cause he knows that it's we that will earn our degrees
by forgetting about life a while.
And Ambre gets splahsed by a rogue wave
As Jonathan looks up in fear
And they sit on their pads and put weed in their bags
And say, "Man, what are we doin' here?"

Oh, la la la de de da
La la de de da, da dum

Sing us a song, you're Porphyra girl,
sing us a song this morn,
'cause we all want to know 'bout the Stachlabbers.
What's up with the yellow and orange?
Weed Two Plots (or Ode to the Head Weeder)
by Matt Bracken and The Weeders

He worked in a little lab with eight other researchers.
One of them was a male and the seven four, well, the other seven were females.
Biodiversity was what they were up to in there.
And furthermore, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to learn that all of them
Habitually removed algae... (weeders)

I weed two plots in the morning
I weed two plots at night
I weed two plots in the afternoon
It makes me feel alright

I weed two plots as the tide goes out
And two as it comes in
I weed two plots before I weed two plots
And then I weed two more again

Weeded algae 'til he got that postdoc
Picked a big bag of some good ulva
Weeded algae Ôtill he got that postdoc
Picked a big bag of some good mastocarpus..."
"PI were ya ever caught sleepin'?" "oh no!"

PI he once told me,
"Tech, you be hard workin' underpaidecologyresearcher"
And PI he once told me,
"Tech, you pick the best you can"
Then one day I meet The Man,
He came to me and said yes.
"Hard work good and hard work fine,
but take care to correct that biomass!"

I weed two plots in the morning
I weed two plots at night
I weed two plots in the afternoon
It makes me feel alright

I weed two plots as the tide goes out
And two as it comes in again
And if I weed another plot
I think I'll go insane!

Whoa, weedin' till night,
Whoa-oh, al-gae,
Whoa-ohh
Wet Lab
by Suzanne Olyarnik
(To the tune of B52's "Love Shack")

If you see a puddle in the middle of the hall that says 15 steps to the... Wet Lab!
Wet Lab yeah
I'm headin' down the south wing hall way,
lookin' for the crab that got away
Heading for the crab that got away,
crab that got away, crab that got away, crab that got away.

I got me a tub, and I got me a scale and I'm headin' on down to the Wet Lab
I got me some algae,I think it's a winner, so hurry up and bring your salad spinner

The Wet Lab is a little old place where we can get seawater
Wet Lab baby, Wet Lab bay-bee.
Wet Lab, baby, wet lab wet lab, baby, wet lab
Wet lab baby, that's where it's at, ooo wet lab baby, that's where it's at

Sign says... wooo
Stachowicz Lab cause he's fab at the Wet lab!
Well it's all concrete without any type of drain,
just a funky little room where sometimes it rains
Water on the table
Water on the counter
Water on the microscope
Water in the hallway

The wet Lab is a little old place where we can experiment
Wet Lab baby! Wet Lab baby!
Wet Lab, that's where it's at!
Wet Lab, that's where it's at!

Spinnin' and weighin',
Makin' a commotion,
Wearin' all my fleece clothes
Cause it's cold as the ocean
The whole lab splashes
When everybody's movin' around and around and around!
Everybody's movin', everybody's groovin' baby!
Folks linin' up outside just to go down
Everybody's movin', everybody's groovin' baby
Funky smellin' lab, funky smellin' lab!

Go get me a tub and get me a scale, I just saw a whale!
I got me a frond, I think it's a winner so come on and bring your salad spinner!

The Wet Lab is a smelly old place where we can experiment
Wet Lab baby, Wet Lab bay-bee
Wet Lab, baby, wet lab
Wet Lab, baby, wet lab
Ooo wet baby, that's where it's at

Bang bang bang on the door baby! Knock a little louder sugar!
Bang ban bang on the door baby! I can't hear you
Bang bang on the door baby
Bang bang on the door
Bang bang on the door baby bang bang
You're what? Tin snips, rusted!

Wet Lab, baby, Wet Lab!
Wet Lab, baby, Wet Lab!
Wet Lab, baby, Wet Lab!
Where Have all the Chitons Gone?
by Jarrett, after a few unsuccesful days
(to the tune of where have all the cowboys gone)

Oh you should be resting on a dock or levy
You don't like to live in the shade.
Take shelter on a mussel
Or off you go and hustle,
Would you like sea squirts or diatoms?
I will bring a spatula and scrape you off the side.

Where is my mollusk?
Where is my Mopalia?
Where is my flattened snail?
Where have all the chitons gone?

You didn't like last summer
Kacked off docks E and B
You really didn't like the big heat.
Oh I know your radula scrapes off side walls
Can you come graze settling Botryllus?
I will give you plastic plate with all you can eat.

Where is my mollusk?
Where is my Mopalia?
Where is my flattened snail?
Where have all the chitons gone?

I am wearing my knee pads today
But you're not to be found
You're gone
You're gone
You're gone

I finally built the cages
And checked all my gauges
And went to find you under the sea.
You were nowhere to be found
Not anywhere around,
Almost making me scream in a fit of pique.
I will hunt the dock sides where you graze like a deer

Where is my mollusk?
Where is my Mopalia?
Where is my flattened snail?
Where have all the chitons gone?

Where is M. muscosa?
Where is her radula?
Where is my lonely polyplacophoran?
Where have all the chitons gone?
Where have all the chitons gone?
Where have all the chitons gone?
Yippee I, yippee yeah
Ulva (to Eric Clapton's "Layla")
by K. Aquilino

What'll you do when you get weeded
Into the bag right by my side?
You've been recruiting and growing much too long,
You know from me you cannot hide.

Ulva, you've got me on my knees,
Ulva, I'm pulling piece by piece,
Ulva, algae, please stop growing all the time

I tried to scrape you off the mussels
The whole time the tide was down.
Like a fool, I thought I got all you,
But then you came right back around.

Ulva, you've got me on my knees,
Ulva, I'm pulling piece by piece,
Ulva, algae, please stop growing all the time

Let's make the best of this tide cycle
Before I finally go insane.
Please don't say, you'll never go away
And all this weeding is in vain.

Ulva, you've got me on my knees,
Ulva, I'm pulling piece by piece,
Ulva, algae, please stop growing all the time

Ulva, you've got me on my knees,
Ulva, I'm pulling piece by piece,
Ulva, algae, please stop growing all the time
It's Alright, Limpet (to Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice")
by K. Aquilino, after a failed experiment

Well there ain't no use to sit and wonder why, limpet
You never sat still, anyhow
Well there ain't no use to sit and wonder why, limpet
I'm so over you now
When the tide flows out at the break of dawn
Look up from that granite, and I'll be gone
You're the reason I am travelin' on
Don't think twice, it's all right

Well there ain't no use stickin' to that rock, limpet
Like you never done before
No there ain't no use in stickin' to that rock, limpet
I'm not surveying any more
Still I wish there was something
I could do or say
To try and make you go to your plot and stay
You never ventured from your home scar anyway
Don't think twice, it's all right

Well there ain't no use avoiding all that copper
It took me weeks to install
No there ain't no use avoiding all that copper
The reserve staff won't mind at all
Now go on and join the rest of your limpet clan
I'll chip off that Z-spar for Jackie and Suzanne
I'll never attempt a limpet addition again
Don't think twice, it's all right

Well I'm walkin' down that long academic road, limpet
Where I'm bound, I can't tell.
But goodbye is too good a word, limpet
So I'll just say fare thee well
Now I ain't sayin' that you treated me unkind
You could have done better, but I don't mind
You just kind of wasted, my precious grad school time
Don't think twice, it's all right
Don't think twice, it's all right


And then there's always the perrenial favorite, just sing "Anemone" to the tune of Sesame Street's "Manamana" song.