Tidal and diel orchestration of behaviour and gene expression in an intertidal mollusc
Ben-Asher, H. Waldman,
Hughes, Michael E.,
Intertidal inhabitants are exposed to the 24-hour solar day, and the 12.4 hour rising and falling of the tides. One or both of these cycles govern intertidal organisms’ behaviour and physiology, yet little is known about the molecular clockworks of tidal rhythmicity. Here, we show that the limpet Cellana rota exhibits robust tidally rhythmic behaviour and gene expression. We assembled a de-novo transcriptome, identifying novel tidal, along with known circadian clock genes. Surprisingly, most of the putative circadian clock genes, lack a typical rhythmicity. We identified numerous tidally rhythmic genes and pathways commonly associated with the circadian clock. We show that not only is the behaviour of an intertidal organism in tune with the tides, but so too are many of its genes and pathways. These findings highlight the plasticity of biological timekeeping in nature, strengthening the growing notion that the role of ‘canonical’ circadian clock genes may be more fluid than previously thought, as exhibited in an organism which has evolved in an environment where tidal oscillations are the dominant driving force.