The Genetic Basis of bioluminescent behaviour in Ostracods

A large part of the ocean is poorly lit, and that’s where bioluminescent becomes the main source of light. Most of cypridinid ostracods use bioluminescence for defense, however, some cypridinid ostracods in the Caribbean Sea produce complex bioluminescent displays to attract females, like fireflies. This species-specific courtship display is one of the most complicated and diverse bioluminescent systems found and provide a possible approach to study behavioral links between genotype and phenotype. Two main different display patterns had been documented (Morin and Cohen, 2010): long lasting vertical shortening “pulsers” as ancestral pattern, and very rapid “flashers” as derived pattern only found in genus Photeross. Six species were selected for our studies Photeros morini, Photeros annecohenae, Kornickeria hastingsi, SVU, Vargula tusjii and Vargula hilgendorfii, they are by turns represent two “flashers”, two “pulsers”, two bioluminescent ostracod without signaling behaviour, the aim is to compare the difference in their enzyme kinetics for species, and see if the difference in behavioiur phenotype is result from the difference in genotype. Our overall objectives for this study includes review the courtship display in Caribbean Sea, examine the previous studies on behavioural genetics, compare enzyme kinetics for species with different display patterns and give suggestion for further research.

Promotor(s) & Supervisor: Todd Oakley

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0511 - Biology