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Ophiuroid Luminescence for Studying Microevolution

    Samuel Dupont

Keywords: Ecology, Intraspecific variability, Luminescence functions

Amphipholis squamata is a small polychromatic hermaphroditic ophiuroid (brittlestar; Phylum Echinodermata) distributed worldwide except in polar regions. The species is luminescent and large inter- and intrapopulational variations were observed for luminous capabilities. This variability, partially of genetical origin, is associated with positive and/or negative consequences on fitness. Therefore, luminescence in A. squamata appears to be a suitable model for studying microevolution.

My research presents several approaches in order to lead to a better comprehension of microevolutive mechanisms in this species:

  • Eco-physiological characterization of variability (luminous capabilities, life history traits, biotic and abiotic environment, seasonal variations, etc.) into several populations of A. squamata.
  • Physiological studies on control of luminescence: neuromodulatory effects of catecholamines, purines, amino acids, etc.
  • Study of luminescence functions: interspecific functions (lure/sacrifice strategy to deter predation, aposematism, etc.), intraspecific functions (communication for reproduction) and metabolic functions.
  • Genetic studies using RAPD-PCR in order to link genetic variations, phenotypic variability and individual fitness.
  • Experimentation on artificial populations in laboratory in order to observe rapid microevolution in control conditions.

I work on four populations: one in the English channel (Langrune-sur-mer, France) and three in the Mediterranean Sea (one in Banyuls-sur-mer, France and two completely isolated from the open sea in Oliveri-Tindari, Italy). I am still looking for new interesting populations. So if you are aware of reasonably easy accessible population of this ophiurid with research facilities in the vicinity, please contact me.

You many find more information about my research, and my curriculum vita.

Revised: 12-Sep-00

The contents of this page are the sole responsibility of the person named below.

Samuel Dupont |
Laboratory of Animal Physiology | phone: (32)-10473472
5, Place Croix du Sud |
1348 Louvain-la-Neuve Belgium |
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