Just a quick link to an article in the NY Times mentioning me…
Posted online today. Will be in tomorrow’s paper…
Here is an excerpt:
Another tardigrade enthusiast, Michael W. Shaw of Richmond, Va., got interested in them more than a decade ago when he was helping his two daughters with school science projects. Though he knew nothing about tardigrades — his degree was in fine arts — he ended up taking microscopes into his daughters’ classes to spread the word about the fascinating creatures.
Later, he made his own contribution to the scientific literature. “I read a paper about tardigrades showing where they were in the U.S., and New Jersey, where we were living at the time, had a zero,” he said.
Mr. Shaw, who was living then in Somerset, decided to visit every one of the 21 counties in New Jersey and sample lichen and tree bark, two microenvironments hospitable to tardigrades. Between 2001 and 2009, he said, “I went to rural and urban sites, parking lots, nature preserves, anywhere. I found them in every county.”
His family thought his obsession was “strange,” he said, but the work, which he completed with the help of Dr. William Miller, a tardigrade expert at Baker University in Kansas, was published in The Journal of the New York Microscopical Society.
Then Vice did a video about Mr. Shaw.
Soon new fans were arguing online about whether tardigrades came from outer space (an idea Mr. Shaw does not rule out) and how — or even if — they evolved.
Eventually, the work turned into two books Mr. Shaw has self-published — “Tardigrade Quiz and Fact Book” (Fresh Squeezed Publishing, 2014) and “Tardigrade Science Project Book” (Fresh Squeezed Publishing, 2011). Both discuss tardigrades and explain how young naturalists can gather specimens, make slides and otherwise dive into their snouty, eight-legged world.
Today Mr. Shaw’s tardigrade guides are selling slowly but steadily (typical reader comment: “Love those tardigrades!”), and he has done another guide for microscope hobbyists.