Neural Net

Chris Bickel

The American Association for the Advancement of Science/AAAS
Washington, DC, USA

This image illustrates the ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi (in the cydippid stage) with part of its internal nerve net shown in yellow and orange. Three-dimensional analysis reveals that neurons of the internal nerve net form a continuous membrane network rather than connecting through synaptic junctions. This finding challenges the way we think about the evolution of nervous system connectivity and neurotransmission.

This image beautifully illustrates the ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi and its unique and continuous neural network. These ethereal and delicate creatures possess a nerve net that, unlike most creatures, is made up of one unit. The essence of this project was rendering the translucent and graceful beauty of the animal itself along with the researcher' data scans of the neural net. Being able to exhibit concrete data within an illustration is a unique opportunity to merge illustration and data visualization all while increasing the accuracy of the cover and impact of that finding. The researcher's data was processed and modeled into the ctenophore illustration. Dropping back the animal to a contextual level, as if floating in the ocean, along with highlighting in orange the research findings, showcases the core content while putting it in a form that is digestible, accurate and engaging as a cover image.

Cinema 4D, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop