Brent Foster

Science Writer

United States

Whitney Lab - Articles
Women Who Helped Power and Support the Lab

It takes a village to run a research facility. UF’s Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience is no exception. For every science story you read, there’s a whole network of teams working behind the scenes and often without much public recognition. And yet these team members — many of whom are women — are absolutely mission critical.

Whitney Lab - Articles
Margaret James - Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience

Dr. Margaret James received her Ph.D in Organic Chemistry just 10 years after Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring had swept across the United States and inspired a national investigation into how human activities disrupt the environment. In 1975, she was ready to set up her own research space at the new C. V. Whitney Marine Research Laboratory to study how pollutants are taken up by marine organisms and determine whether they could affect people eating seafood.

Whitney Lab - Articles
Melba Caldwell - Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience

Melba C. Caldwell, a dolphin communication expert with 45 publications, helped persuade C. V. “Sonny” Whitney to build a new research facility that would eventually become the Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience.

the Node
Cracking the egg - the Node

Maybe the path of a scientific career isn't linear. Maybe it's more like Waddington's epigenetic landscape.

The Ponte Vedra Recorder
Day at the Whitney Lab celebrates 30 years

Day at the Whitney Lab, created by faculty and volunteers at University of Florida's Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience, is designed to help children experience what it's like being a scientist.

the Node
Beyond the birds and the bees - the Node

"It's like growing a clone of yourself out of your arm," Bailey Steinworth said, gesturing to her own arm to illustrate one of the ways Cassiopea xamachana - the upside-down jellyfish - reproduces. It's a sunny day, and we're sitting at picnic tables outside the University of Florida's Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience.

the Node
If you give a scientist a cuttlefish . . . - the Node

She might not see it the next day. At first glance, the slag in the saltwater aquarium is just a rock covered with purple jasmine polyps and green star polyps. Orange tendrils of finger corals wave with a silent current, an undulating calm that almost seems to slow the heart rate.

Integrative and Comparative Biology
Cuddling up to science with the dwarf cuttlefish

Finding a scientific niche may be a bit like trying to spot a camouflaged dwarf cuttlefish in a saltwater tank. At first, all you can see are rocks and bobbing tendrils of orange finger corals. But if you wait patiently, you might suddenly see the rock morph...

Integrative and Comparative Biology
On Cerata and Smorgasbords: The Superpowers of a Sea Slug

Imagine you're a child scooping up a jellyfish and swallowing it without feeling its sting. If that's not amazing enough, as the animal moves through the rugae lining your stomach, you absorb its nematocysts-the hallmark stinging cells of cnidarians-and store them, waiting for the moment...

Palm Coast Observer
Plans move forward for new research building at Whitney Laboratory

The location of Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience is perfect for studying local biodiversity and advancing biomedical research. Unfortunately, space is limited - if you stopped by for a visit and walked through the different labs, you'd see aquariums filled with zebra fish, tucked away in closet rooms; or glass bowls of sea anemones or worms stacked on the lab benches; or banks of dissection microscopes hugging the walls.

Palm Coast Observer
Combing through science with comb jellies, at Whitney Laboratory

Ctenophores, or comb jellies, might not look like much. Picture a translucent gelatinous orb about the size of a golf ball, strung with a kaleidoscope of wriggling colors refracting light. Now imagine being cut in half and then having both halves grow back, good as new.

Oakland Arts Review
Nervous Pathways

I am afraid of roosters, thanks to one particularly terrifying experience when I was six. I was in the coop, preparing to pour water for our chickens, when the arcana rooster started to flap his wings at me. He didn’t appreciate me meddling with his harem of hens. He crowed and I cowered against the wall as he flew at me in a rooster’s rage. I screamed as he ripped my shirt and skin. I cried as I bled, pinned against the wall by a bird three times smaller than me. From then on, I carried a...