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Colin Sumrall will present “Hitching Rides in Paleozoic Seas: Ancient Creatures and Their Shellfish Taxis” at the Science Forum at noon Friday, February 3, in Thompson-Boling Arena Café, Rooms C-D.

Sumrall, assistant professor of earth and planetary sciences will discuss Edrioasteroids—an extinct group of echinoderms (sea stars, sea urchins, and related organisms) that have been studied for nearly two centuries.

New research shows Edrioasteroids had to attach to hard shells or pebbles and competition for suitable spaces could be fierce. As a result, Edrioasteroids often attached to the shells of live organisms to form mutualistic relationships.

The 40-minute presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer discussion.

The Science Forum is free and open to the public. Attendees may bring their own lunch or purchase lunch at the cafe.

The Science forum began in 1933 and is sponsored by UT’s Quest research magazine. The forum was designed to provide the public, students, and other researchers a chance to learn about the scientific research void of jargon.


Mark Littmann (865-974-8756,

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,