Life in a Fluctuating Environment – Observations of the Transcriptome of Intertidal Mussel Mytilus californianus

A Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Seminar Series featuring Kwasi Connor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine

Wednesday, January 15, 2014
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
2320 Life Sciences Building


As a sessile marine intertidal organism, Mytilus californianus must endure fluctuations in temperature, salinity, food and oxygen due to the ebb and flood tides.  During periods of low tide, mussels are exposed to the terrestrial environment where they cannot feed or breathe oxygen; and are exposed to temperature fluctuations as a result of solar radiation, cloud cover, wave splash and wind shear.  Mussels counteract low tide related stresses by closing their valves to avoid desiccation, switching to anaerobic ATP-producing pathways and depressing their metabolism.  Thus, M. californianus is well adapted to the fluctuating processes of the intertidal zone.  Using microarray-based gene expression profiling and metabolite screens, we performed a series of experiments that sought to understand the fundamental mechanisms driving physiology in an intertidal marine mollusc.  Experiments were performed in a custom built aquarium that simulated the intertidal zone, including precision control of tide, solar radiation, day:night cycles, and food levels.  These experiments provide new insights and interpretations of intertidal physiology that can be used as a source of reference for comparative studies of cyclic biology in other systems.

Host: Peggy Fong

Refreshments will be served at 11:40 a.m.