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May 13, 2016

Proton-Conducting Material Found in Electrosensory Organs of Sharks

In a new study, published May 13 in Science Advances, a team of researchers from UC Santa Cruz, University of Washington, and Chris Amemiya, PhD, the Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason investigated the properties of the jelly in the electrosensory ampullae of Lorenzini in the skin around the head and on the underside of sharks, skates, and rays. They found that the jelly is a remarkable proton-conducting material, with the highest proton conductivity ever reported for a biological material. Its conductivity is only 40 times lower than the current state-of-the-art proton-conducting polymer (Nafion). The new findings may be of interest to researchers in materials science and other fields. 

The full articles with more information about the discovery are available at and In addition, an animation about the discovery produced by the American Association for the Advancement of Science is available at