Effects of temperature and humidity on the development of fish embryos

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Annual Austrolebias killifish live in temporary ponds that dry up over the summer, and all adults then die. Diapausing eggs survive the summer in the soil, and hatch when the ponds fill up in autumn. Often, several (up to five) related species occur together in the same pond.

We have developed techniques for incubating eggs under "wet" and "dry" conditions, for rearing offspring and measuring individual reproductive success.

"Wet" incubated eggs are kept in small trays suspended in a water tank, "dry" incubated ones are transferred onto a small block of humid plaster, where they are not submerged in water, but remain in humid air.

In experiments with "wet" incubation, we observe that the speed of development differs dramatically between eggs/embryos of the same clutch. After about fifty days, some of them are completely ready to hatch, while others have remained in the blastula stage. That could be adaptive, and an example of a bet-hedging strategy. On the other hand, it might still be advantageous for slow embryos to react to environmental cues which provide useful information.

 

eggsel.jpg 

  

In this project we investigate whether the proportion that does not develop beyond the blastula stage depends on temperature, and whether we can trigger embryos to continue development by temperature and humidity changes.

 

 

 

This is a project for a Bachelor student.

Supervision: Tom Van Dooren (t.j.m.van.dooren@biology.leidenuniv.nl)

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This page contains a single entry by administrator published on April 10, 2008 8:50 AM.

Chromosome evolution in Austrolebias killifish was the previous entry in this blog.

Modelling an adaptive radiation in a single gene is the next entry in this blog.

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