MRC Publications

Permanent URI for this collection

Browse

Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 49
  • Article
    A Wox3-patterning module organizes planar growth in grass leaves and ligules
    (Nature Research, 2023-05-04) Satterlee, James W. ; Evans, Lukas J. ; Conlon, Brianne R. ; Conklin, Phillip ; Martinez-Gomez, Jesus ; Yen, Jeffery R. ; Wu, Hao ; Sylvester, Anne W. ; Specht, Chelsea D. ; Cheng, Jie ; Johnston, Robyn ; Coen, Enrico ; Scanlon, Michael J.
    Grass leaves develop from a ring of primordial initial cells within the periphery of the shoot apical meristem, a pool of organogenic stem cells that generates all of the organs of the plant shoot. At maturity, the grass leaf is a flattened, strap-like organ comprising a proximal supportive sheath surrounding the stem and a distal photosynthetic blade. The sheath and blade are partitioned by a hinge-like auricle and the ligule, a fringe of epidermally derived tissue that grows from the adaxial (top) leaf surface. Together, the ligule and auricle comprise morphological novelties that are specific to grass leaves. Understanding how the planar outgrowth of grass leaves and their adjoining ligules is genetically controlled can yield insight into their evolutionary origins. Here we use single-cell RNA-sequencing analyses to identify a ‘rim’ cell type present at the margins of maize leaf primordia. Cells in the leaf rim have a distinctive identity and share transcriptional signatures with proliferating ligule cells, suggesting that a shared developmental genetic programme patterns both leaves and ligules. Moreover, we show that rim function is regulated by genetically redundant Wuschel-like homeobox3 (WOX3) transcription factors. Higher-order mutations in maize Wox3 genes greatly reduce leaf width and disrupt ligule outgrowth and patterning. Together, these findings illustrate the generalizable use of a rim domain during planar growth of maize leaves and ligules, and suggest a parsimonious model for the homology of the grass ligule as a distal extension of the leaf sheath margin.
  • Article
    A small change with a twist ending: a single residue in EGF-CFC drives bilaterian asymmetry
    (Oxford University Press, 2022-12-22) Truchado-García, Marta ; Perry, Kimberly J. ; Cavodeassi, Florencia ; Kenny, Nathan J. ; Henry, Jonathan Q. ; Grande, Cristina
    Asymmetries are essential for proper organization and function of organ systems. Genetic studies in bilaterians have shown signaling through the Nodal/Smad2 pathway plays a key, conserved role in the establishment of body asymmetries. Although the main molecular players in the network for the establishment of left-right asymmetry (LRA) have been deeply described in deuterostomes, little is known about the regulation of Nodal signaling in spiralians. Here, we identified orthologs of the egf-cfc gene, a master regulator of the Nodal pathway in vertebrates, in several invertebrate species, which includes the first evidence of its presence in non-deuterostomes. Our functional experiments indicate that despite being present, egf-cfc does not play a role in the establishment of LRA in gastropods. However, experiments in zebrafish suggest that a single amino acid mutation in the egf-cfc gene in at least the common ancestor of chordates was the necessary step to induce a gain of function in LRA regulation. This study shows that the egf-cfc gene likely appeared in the ancestors of deuterostomes and "protostomes", before being adopted as a mechanism to regulate the Nodal pathway and the establishment of LRA in some lineages of deuterostomes.
  • Article
    The lesser Pacific Striped Octopus, Octopus chierchiae: an emerging laboratory model
    (Frontiers Media, 2021-12-13) Grearson, Anik G. ; Dugan, Alison ; Sakmar, Taylor ; Sivitilli, Dominic M. ; Gire, David H. ; Caldwell, Roy L. ; Niell, Cristopher M. ; Dölen, Gül ; Wang, Z. Yan ; Grasse, Bret
    Cephalopods have the potential to become useful experimental models in various fields of science, particularly in neuroscience, physiology, and behavior. Their complex nervous systems, intricate color- and texture-changing body patterns, and problem-solving abilities have attracted the attention of the biological research community, while the high growth rates and short life cycles of some species render them suitable for laboratory culture. Octopus chierchiae is a small octopus native to the central Pacific coast of North America whose predictable reproduction, short time to maturity, small adult size, and ability to lay multiple egg clutches (iteroparity) make this species ideally suited to laboratory culture. Here we describe novel methods for multigenerational culture of O. chierchiae, with emphasis on enclosure designs, feeding regimes, and breeding management. O. chierchiae bred in the laboratory grow from a 3.5 mm mantle length at hatching to an adult mantle length of approximately 20–30 mm in 250–300 days, with 15 and 14% survivorship to over 400 days of age in first and second generations, respectively. O. chierchiae sexually matures at around 6 months of age and, unlike most octopus species, can lay multiple clutches of large, direct-developing eggs every ∼30–90 days. Based on these results, we propose that O. chierchiae possesses both the practical and biological features needed for a model octopus that can be cultured repeatedly to address a wide range of biological questions.
  • Article
    Neural control of dynamic 3-dimensional skin papillae for cuttlefish camouflage
    (Cell Press, 2018-04-04) Gonzalez-Bellido, Paloma T. ; Scaros, Alexia T. ; Hanlon, Roger T. ; Wardill, Trevor J.
    The color and pattern changing abilities of octopus, squid, and cuttlefish via chromatophore neuro-muscular organs are unparalleled. Cuttlefish and octopuses also have a unique muscular hydrostat system in their skin. When this system is expressed, dermal bumps called papillae disrupt body shape and imitate the fine texture of surrounding objects, yet the control system is unknown. Here we report for papillae: (1) the motoneurons and the neurotransmitters that control activation and relaxation, (2) a physiologically fast expression and retraction system, and (3) a complex of smooth and striated muscles that enables long-term expression of papillae through sustained tension in the absence of neural input. The neural circuits controlling acute shape-shifting skin papillae in cuttlefish show homology to the iridescence circuits in squids. The sustained tension in papillary muscles for long-term camouflage utilizes muscle heterogeneity and points toward the existence of a “catch-like” mechanism that would reduce the necessary energy expenditure.
  • Article
    UAS-SfM for coastal research : geomorphic feature extraction and land cover classification from high-resolution elevation and optical imagery
    (MDPI AG, 2017-10-03) Sturdivant, Emily ; Lentz, Erika E. ; Thieler, E. Robert ; Farris, Amy S. ; Weber, Kathryn M. ; Remsen, David P. ; Miner, Simon ; Henderson, Rachel E.
    The vulnerability of coastal systems to hazards such as storms and sea-level rise is typically characterized using a combination of ground and manned airborne systems that have limited spatial or temporal scales. Structure-from-motion (SfM) photogrammetry applied to imagery acquired by unmanned aerial systems (UAS) offers a rapid and inexpensive means to produce high-resolution topographic and visual reflectance datasets that rival existing lidar and imagery standards. Here, we use SfM to produce an elevation point cloud, an orthomosaic, and a digital elevation model (DEM) from data collected by UAS at a beach and wetland site in Massachusetts, USA. We apply existing methods to (a) determine the position of shorelines and foredunes using a feature extraction routine developed for lidar point clouds and (b) map land cover from the rasterized surfaces using a supervised classification routine. In both analyses, we experimentally vary the input datasets to understand the benefits and limitations of UAS-SfM for coastal vulnerability assessment. We find that (a) geomorphic features are extracted from the SfM point cloud with near-continuous coverage and sub-meter precision, better than was possible from a recent lidar dataset covering the same area; and (b) land cover classification is greatly improved by including topographic data with visual reflectance, but changes to resolution (when <50 cm) have little influence on the classification accuracy.
  • Article
    Dramatic fighting by male cuttlefish for a female mate
    (University of Chicago Press, 2017-05-02) Allen, Justine J. ; Akkaynak, Derya ; Schnell, Alexandra K. ; Hanlon, Roger T.
    Male cuttlefish compete for females with a repertoire of visually dramatic behaviors. Laboratory experiments have explored this system in Sepia officinalis, but corroborative field data have eluded collection attempts by many researchers. While scuba diving in Turkey, we fortuitously filmed an intense sequence of consort/intruder behaviors in which the consort lost and then regained his female mate from the intruder. These agonistic bouts escalated in stages, leading to fast dramatic expression of the elaborate intense zebra display and culminating in biting and inking as the intruder male attempted a forced copulation of the female. When analyzed in the context of game theory, the patterns of fighting behavior were more consistent with mutual assessment than self-assessment of fighting ability. Additional observations of these behaviors in nature are needed to conclusively determine which models best represent conflict resolution, but our field observations agree with laboratory findings and provide a valuable perspective.
  • Article
    The use and limits of scientific names in biological informatics
    (Pensoft Publishers, 2016-01-07) Remsen, David P.
    Scientific names serve to label biodiversity information: information related to species. Names, and their underlying taxonomic definitions, however, are unstable and ambiguous. This negatively impacts the utility of names as identifiers and as effective indexing tools in biological informatics where names are commonly utilized for searching, retrieving and integrating information about species. Semiotics provides a general model for describing the relationship between taxon names and taxon concepts. It distinguishes syntactics, which governs relationships among names, from semantics, which represents the relations between those labels and the taxa to which they refer. In the semiotic context, changes in semantics (i.e., taxonomic circumscription) do not consistently result in a corresponding and reflective change in syntax. Further, when syntactic changes do occur, they may be in response to semantic changes or in response to syntactic rules. This lack of consistency in the cardinal relationship between names and taxa places limits on how scientific names may be used in biological informatics in initially anchoring, and in the subsequent retrieval and integration, of relevant biodiversity information. Precision and recall are two measures of relevance. In biological taxonomy, recall is negatively impacted by changes or ambiguity in syntax while precision is negatively impacted when there are changes or ambiguity in semantics. Because changes in syntax are not correlated with changes in semantics, scientific names may be used, singly or conflated into synonymous sets, to improve recall in pattern recognition or search and retrieval. Names cannot be used, however, to improve precision. This is because changes in syntax do not uniquely identify changes in circumscription. These observations place limits on the utility of scientific names within biological informatics applications that rely on names as identifiers for taxa. Taxonomic systems and services used to organize and integrate information about taxa must accommodate the inherent semantic ambiguity of scientific names. The capture and articulation of circumscription differences (i.e., multiple taxon concepts) within such systems must be accompanied with distinct concept identifiers that can be employed in association with, or in replacement of, traditional scientific names.
  • Article
    Scientific names of organisms : attribution, rights, and licensing
    (BioMed Central, 2014-02-04) Patterson, David J. ; Egloff, Willi ; Agosti, Donat ; Eades, David ; Franz, Nico ; Hagedorn, Gregor ; Rees, Jonathan A. ; Remsen, David P.
    As biological disciplines extend into the ‘big data’ world, they will need a names-based infrastructure to index and interconnect distributed data. The infrastructure must have access to all names of all organisms if it is to manage all information. Those who compile lists of species hold different views as to the intellectual property rights that apply to the lists. This creates uncertainty that impedes the development of a much-needed infrastructure for sharing biological data in the digital world. The laws in the United States of America and European Union are consistent with the position that scientific names of organisms and their compilation in checklists, classifications or taxonomic revisions are not subject to copyright. Compilations of names, such as classifications or checklists, are not creative in the sense of copyright law. Many content providers desire credit for their efforts. A ‘blue list’ identifies elements of checklists, classifications and monographs to which intellectual property rights do not apply. To promote sharing, authors of taxonomic content, compilers, intermediaries, and aggregators should receive citable recognition for their contributions, with the greatest recognition being given to the originating authors. Mechanisms for achieving this are discussed.
  • Article
    Environmental distribution and persistence of Quahog Parasite Unknown (QPX)
    (Inter-Research, 2008-09-24) Gast, Rebecca J. ; Moran, Dawn M. ; Audemard, Corinne ; Lyons, M. Maille ; DeFaveri, Jacquelin ; Reece, Kimberly S. ; Leavitt, Dale F. ; Smolowitz, Roxanna M.
    Quahog Parasite Unknown (QPX) is the cause of mass mortality events of hard clams Mercenaria mercenaria from Virginia, USA, to New Brunswick, Canada. Aquaculture areas in Massachusetts, USA, have been particularly hard hit. The parasite has been shown to be a directly infective organism, but it is unclear whether it could exist or persist outside of its clam host. We used molecular methods to examine water, sediment, seaweeds, seagrass and various invertebrates for the presence of QPX. Sites in Virginia and Massachusetts were selected based upon the incidence of QPX-induced clam die-offs, and they were monitored seasonally. QPX was detectable in almost all of our different sample types from Massachusetts, indicating that the parasite was widely distributed in the environment. Significantly more samples from Massachusetts were positive than from Virginia, and there was a seasonal pattern to the types of samples positive from Massachusetts. The data suggest that, although it may be difficult to completely eradicate QPX from the environment, it may be possible to keep the incidence of disease under control through good plot husbandry and the removal of infected and dying clams.
  • Preprint
    Quantification of cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) camouflage : a study of color and luminance using in situ spectrometry
    ( 2012-11-19) Akkaynak, Derya ; Allen, Justine J. ; Mathger, Lydia M. ; Chiao, Chuan-Chin ; Hanlon, Roger T.
    Cephalopods are renowned for their ability to adaptively camouflage on diverse backgrounds. Sepia officinalis camouflage body patterns have been characterized spectrally in the laboratory but not in the field due to the challenges of dynamic natural light fields and the difficulty of using spectrophotometric instruments underwater. To assess cuttlefish color match in their natural habitats, we studied the spectral properties of S. officinalis and their backgrounds on the Aegean coast of Turkey using point-by-point in situ spectrometry. Fifteen spectrometry datasets were collected from seven cuttlefish; radiance spectra from animal body components and surrounding substrates were measured at depths shallower than 5m. We quantified luminance and color contrast of cuttlefish components and background substrates in the eyes of hypothetical di- and trichromatic fish predators. Additionally, we converted radiance spectra to sRGB color space to simulate their in situ appearance to a human observer. Within the range of natural colors at our study site, cuttlefish closely matched the substrate spectra in a variety of body patterns. Theoretical calculations showed that this effect might be more pronounced at greater depths. We also showed that a non-biological method (“Spectral Angle Mapper”), commonly used for spectral shape similarity assessment in the field of remote sensing, shows moderate correlation to biological measures of color contrast. This performance is comparable to that of a traditional measure of spectral shape similarity, hue and chroma. This study is among the first to quantify color matching of camouflaged cuttlefish in the wild.
  • Article
    Cephalopod genomics : a plan of strategies and organization
    (Genomic Standards Consortium, 2012-09-26) Albertin, Caroline B. ; Bonnaud, Laure ; Brown, C. Titus ; Crookes-Goodson, Wendy J. ; da Fonseca, Rute R. ; Di Cristo, Carlo ; Dilkes, Brian P. ; Edsinger-Gonzales, Eric ; Freeman, Robert J. ; Hanlon, Roger T. ; Koenig, Kristen M. ; Lindgren, Annie R. ; Martindale, Mark Q. ; Minx, Patrick ; Moroz, Leonid L. ; Nodl, Marie-Therese ; Nyholm, Spencer V. ; Ogura, Atsushi ; Pungor, Judit R. ; Rosenthal, Joshua J. C. ; Schwarz, Erich M. ; Shigeno, Shuichi ; Strugnell, Jan M. ; Wollesen, Tim ; Zhang, Guojie ; Ragsdale, Clifton W.
    The Cephalopod Sequencing Consortium (CephSeq Consortium) was established at a NESCent Catalysis Group Meeting, “Paths to Cephalopod Genomics- Strategies, Choices, Organization,” held in Durham, North Carolina, USA on May 24-27, 2012. Twenty-eight participants representing nine countries (Austria, Australia, China, Denmark, France, Italy, Japan, Spain and the USA) met to address the pressing need for genome sequencing of cephalopod molluscs. This group, drawn from cephalopod biologists, neuroscientists, developmental and evolutionary biologists, materials scientists, bioinformaticians and researchers active in sequencing, assembling and annotating genomes, agreed on a set of cephalopod species of particular importance for initial sequencing and developed strategies and an organization (CephSeq Consortium) to promote this sequencing. The conclusions and recommendations of this meeting are described in this White Paper.
  • Preprint
    Green algal infection of American horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) exoskeletal structures
    ( 2012-06) Braverman, Hillary ; Leibovitz, Louis ; Lewbart, Gregory A.
    Degenerative lesions in the dorsum of the horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) exoskeleton, eyes, arthrodial membrane, and base of the telson were documented in a population of wild caught laboratory animals. The disease can lead to loss of tissue structure and function, deformed shells, abnormal molting, loss of ocular structures, erosion of interskeletal membranes, and cardiac hemorrhage. Microscopy, histopathology, and in vitro culture confirmed the causative agent to be a green algae of the family Ulvaceae. Further research may explain how green algae overcome horseshoe crab innate immunity leading to external and internal damage.
  • Article
    Optimization of a GCaMP calcium indicator for neural activity imaging
    (Society for Neuroscience, 2012-10-03) Akerboom, Jasper ; Chen, Tsai-Wen ; Wardill, Trevor J. ; Tian, Lin ; Marvin, Jonathan S. ; Mutlu, Sevinc ; Calderon, Nicole Carreras ; Esposti, Federico ; Borghuis, Bart G. ; Sun, Xiaonan Richard ; Gordus, Andrew ; Orger, Michael B. ; Portugues, Ruben ; Engert, Florian ; Macklin, John J. ; Filosa, Alessandro ; Aggarwal, Aman ; Kerr, Rex A. ; Takagi, Ryousuke ; Kracun, Sebastian ; Shigetomi, Eiji ; Khakh, Baljit S. ; Baier, Herwig ; Lagnado, Leon ; Wang, Samuel S.-H. ; Bargmann, Cornelia I. ; Kimmel, Bruce E. ; Jayaraman, Vivek ; Svoboda, Karel ; Kim, Douglas S. ; Schreiter, Eric R. ; Looger, Loren L.
    Genetically encoded calcium indicators (GECIs) are powerful tools for systems neuroscience. Recent efforts in protein engineering have significantly increased the performance of GECIs. The state-of-the art single-wavelength GECI, GCaMP3, has been deployed in a number of model organisms and can reliably detect three or more action potentials in short bursts in several systems in vivo. Through protein structure determination, targeted mutagenesis, high-throughput screening, and a battery of in vitro assays, we have increased the dynamic range of GCaMP3 by severalfold, creating a family of “GCaMP5” sensors. We tested GCaMP5s in several systems: cultured neurons and astrocytes, mouse retina, and in vivo in Caenorhabditis chemosensory neurons, Drosophila larval neuromuscular junction and adult antennal lobe, zebrafish retina and tectum, and mouse visual cortex. Signal-to-noise ratio was improved by at least 2- to 3-fold. In the visual cortex, two GCaMP5 variants detected twice as many visual stimulus-responsive cells as GCaMP3. By combining in vivo imaging with electrophysiology we show that GCaMP5 fluorescence provides a more reliable measure of neuronal activity than its predecessor GCaMP3. GCaMP5 allows more sensitive detection of neural activity in vivo and may find widespread applications for cellular imaging in general.
  • Preprint
    Biological versus electronic adaptive coloration : how can one inform the other?
    ( 2011-11) Kreit, Eric ; Mathger, Lydia M. ; Hanlon, Roger T. ; Dennis, Patrick B. ; Naik, Rajesh R. ; Forsythe, Eric ; Heikenfeld, Jason
    Adaptive reflective surfaces have been a challenge for both electronic paper (e-Paper) and biological organisms. Multiple colours, contrast, polarization, reflectance, diffusivity and texture must all be controlled simultaneously without optical losses in order to fully replicate the appearance of natural surfaces and vividly communicate information. This review merges the frontiers of knowledge for both biological adaptive coloration, with a focus on cephalopods, and synthetic reflective e-Paper within a consistent framework of scientific metrics. Currently, the highest performance approach for both nature and technology utilizes colourant transposition. Three outcomes are envisioned from this review: reflective display engineers may gain new insights from millions of years of natural selection and evolution; biologists will benefit from understanding the types of mechanisms, characterization, and metrics used in synthetic reflective e-Paper; all scientists will gain a clearer picture of the long-term prospects for capabilities such as adaptive concealment and signalling.
  • Preprint
    Potential for sound sensitivity in cephalopods
    ( 2010-07) Mooney, T. Aran ; Hanlon, Roger T. ; Madsen, Peter T. ; Christensen-Dalsgaard, Jakob ; Ketten, Darlene R. ; Nachtigall, Paul E.
    Hearing is a primary sense in many marine animals and we now have a reasonable understanding of what stimuli generate clear responses, the frequency range of sensitivity, expected threshold values and mecha-nisms of sound detection for several species of marine mammals and fishes (Fay 1988; Au et al. 2000). For marine invertebrates, our knowledge of hearing capabilities is relatively poor and a definition or even certainty of sound detection is not agreed upon (Webster et al. 1992) despite their magnitude of biomass and often central role in ocean ecosystems. Cephalopods (squid, cuttlefish, octopods and nautilus) are particularly interesting subjects for inver-tebrate sound detection investigations for several reasons. Ecologically, they occupy many of the same niches as sound-sensitive fish (Budelmann 1994) and may benefit from sound perception and use for the same reasons, such as to detect predators, navigate, or locate conspecifics. Squid, for example, are often the prey of loud, echolocating marine mammals (Clarke 1996), and may therefore be expected to have evolved hearing to avoid predators. Anatomically, squid have complex statocysts that are considered to serve primarily as vestibular and acceleration detectors (Nixon and Young 2003). However, statocysts may also be analogs for fish otolithic organs, detecting acoustic stimuli (Budelmann 1992). Previous studies have debated the subject of squid hearing and recently there has been a revival of research on the subject. Here, we briefly review what is known about squid sound detection, revisit hearing definitions, discuss potential squid susceptibility to anthropogenic noise and suggest potential future research direc-tions to examine squid acoustic sensitivity.
  • Article
    A “mimic octopus” in the Atlantic : flatfish mimicry and camouflage by Macrotritopus defilippi
    (Marine Biological Laboratory, 2010-02) Hanlon, Roger T. ; Watson, Anya C. ; Barbosa, Alexandra
    The sand-dwelling octopus Macrotritopus defilippi was filmed or photographed in five Caribbean locations mimicking the swimming behavior (posture, style, speed, duration) and coloration of the common, sand-dwelling flounder Bothus lunatus. Each species was exceptionally well camouflaged when stationary, and details of camouflaging techniques are described for M. defilippi. Octopuses implemented flounder mimicry only during swimming, when their movement would give away camouflage in this open sandy habitat. Thus, both camouflage and fish mimicry were used by the octopuses as a primary defense against visual predators. This is the first documentation of flounder mimicry by an Atlantic octopus, and only the fourth convincing case of mimicry for cephalopods, a taxon renowned for its polyphenism that is implemented mainly by neurally controlled skin patterning, but also—as shown here—by their soft flexible bodies.
  • Preprint
    Hyperspectral imaging of cuttlefish camouflage indicates good color match in the eyes of fish predators
    ( 2011-03-31) Chiao, Chuan-Chin ; Wickiser, J. Kenneth ; Allen, Justine J. ; Genter, Brock ; Hanlon, Roger T.
    Camouflage is a widespread phenomenon throughout nature and an important anti-predator tactic in natural selection. Many visual predators have keen color perception, thus camouflage patterns should provide some degree of color matching in addition to other visual factors such as pattern, contrast, and texture. Quantifying camouflage effectiveness in the eyes of the predator is a challenge from the perspectives of both biology and optical imaging technology. Here we take advantage of Hyperspectral Imaging (HSI), which records full-spectrum light data, to simultaneously visualize color match and pattern match in the spectral and the spatial domains, respectively. Cuttlefish can dynamically camouflage themselves on any natural substrate and, despite their colorblindness, produce body patterns that appear to have high-fidelity color matches to the substrate when viewed directly by humans or with RGB images. Live camouflaged cuttlefish on natural backgrounds were imaged using HSI, and subsequent spectral analysis revealed that most reflectance spectra of individual cuttlefish and substrates were similar, rendering the color match possible. Modeling color vision of potential di- and tri-chromatic fish predators of cuttlefish corroborated the spectral match analysis and demonstrated that camouflaged cuttlefish show good color match as well as pattern match in the eyes of fish predators. These findings (i) indicate the strong potential of HSI technology to enhance studies 3 of biological coloration, and (ii) provide supporting evidence that cuttlefish can produce color-coordinated camouflage on natural substrates despite lacking color vision.
  • Article
    To be seen or to hide : visual characteristics of body patterns for camouflage and communication in the Australian giant cuttlefish Sepia apama
    (University of Chicago, 2011-04-06) Zylinski, S. ; How, M. J. ; Osorio, D. ; Hanlon, Roger T. ; Marshall, N. J.
    It might seem obvious that a camouflaged animal must generally match its background whereas to be conspicuous an organism must differ from the background. However, the image parameters (or statistics) that evaluate the conspicuousness of patterns and textures are seldom well defined, and animal coloration patterns are rarely compared quantitatively with their respective backgrounds. Here we examine this issue in the Australian giant cuttlefish Sepia apama. We confine our analysis to the best-known and simplest image statistic, the correlation in intensity between neighboring pixels. Sepia apama can rapidly change their body patterns from assumed conspicuous signaling to assumed camouflage, thus providing an excellent and unique opportunity to investigate how such patterns differ in a single visual habitat. We describe the intensity variance and spatial frequency power spectra of these differing body patterns and compare these patterns with the backgrounds against which they are viewed. The measured image statistics of camouflaged animals closely resemble their backgrounds, while signaling animals differ significantly from their backgrounds. Our findings may provide the basis for a set of general rules for crypsis and signals. Furthermore, our methods may be widely applicable to the quantitative study of animal coloration.
  • Article
    Culture-dependent characterization of the microbial community associated with epizootic shell disease lesions in American lobster, Homarus americanus
    (National Shellfisheries Association, 2005-10-01) Chistoserdov, Andrei Y. ; Smolowitz, Roxanna M. ; Mirasol, Feliza ; Hsu, Andrea
    Epizootic shell disease in the American lobster is an important factor affecting lobster fisheries in and around the Long Island Sound. It is a strictly dermal disease, because no correlation was observed between occurrence of epizootic shell disease and hemolymph infection. The culturability of bacteria from lesions was variable and averaged around 1.1%. The lesions contained two to four orders of magnitude more bacteria than healthy carapace surfaces of the same animal. Chitinoclastic bacteria comprised a very small fraction of bacteria present in the lesions, suggesting that their role in epizootic shell disease may be limited. Phylogenetic analysis of bacteria isolated from the lesions showed no typical bacterial pathogens of lobsters such as Aerococcus viridans or Vibrio fluvialis. Moreover, bacteria commonly associated with shell disease of other Crustacea or other forms of shell disease of the American lobster were not found. Two common groups of bacteria were isolated from lesions of all lobsters used in this research: one belonging to a species complex affiliated with the Flavobacteriaceae family and the second belonging to a series of closely related if not identical strains of Pseudoalteromonas gracilis. Bacteria isolated from only a few lobsters were related to Shewanella frigidimarina, Alteromonas arctica, Vibrio lentus, Shewanella fidelia, Pseudoalteromonas tunicata and Vibrio spp. Based on the analyses of culturable isolates, overall microbial communities found in lesions of lobsters from eastern Long Island Sound and Buzzards Bay appear to be similar to each other.
  • Article
    New species longevity record for the northern quahog (=hard clam), Mercenaria mercenaria
    (National Shellfisheries Association, 2011-04) Ridgway, Iain D. ; Richardson, C. A. ; Enos, Edward ; Ungvari, Z. ; Austad, S. N. ; Philipp, E. E. R. ; Csiszar, Anna
    Twenty-two large shells (>90 mm shell height) from a sample of live collected hard shell clams, Mercenaria mercenaria, from Buzzards Bay, Woods Hole, Cape Cod, MA, were subjected to sclerochronological analysis. Annually resolved growth lines in the hinge region and margin of the shell were identified and counted; the age of the oldest clam shell was determined to be at least 106 y. This age represents a considerable increase in the known maximum life span for M. mercenaria, more than doubling the maximum recorded life span of the species (46 y). More than 85% of the clam shells aged had more than 46 annual increments, the previous known maximum life span for the species. In this article we present growth rate and growth performance indicators (the overall growth performance and phi prime) for this record-breaking population of M. mercenaria. Recently discovered models of aging require accurate age records and growth parameters for bivalve populations if they are to be utilized to their full potential.