Professor’s Work With Robomussels Helps Track Climate Change


Associate professor of biology Sarah Gilman has co-authored a paper that was recently published in Nature—Scientific Data about a team of multi-institutional scientists’ use of tiny “robomussels” that serve as a barometer for oceanic climate change. The robomussels are tiny computers that have the shape, size, and color of actual mussels and have miniature built-in sensors that track temperatures inside mussel beds every 10 to 15 minutes. The devices have generated interest in the press, including The New York Times and Science Daily. For the past 18 years, a global research team of 48 scientists, including Gilman, has assisted lead researcher Brian Helmuth at Northeastern University in tracking their internal body temperatures, which are determined by the temperature of the surrounding air or water and the amount of solar radiation the robomussels absorb.