PUBLISHED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI-NIH NATIONAL RESOURCE FOR APLYSIA
MIAMI, FLORIDA


VOLUME 4 - FALL 1998



ALSO IN THIS ISSUE


Variations in Serotonin and Dopamine Systems in Aplysia californica
WHO WE ARE
Welcome, Mr. Adam Ludwig !

Slime Creates Long Lines in Lisbon
 
      

FEEDING THE LABORATORY MODEL: DIETARY INDUCED VARIABILITY IN APLYSIA GROWTH

Tom Capo
Dustin Stommes
Laboratory Manager, University of Miami-NIH National Resource for Aplysia
Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

A year ago, we published the first Slime Lines article describing the importance of laboratory-cultured seaweed in consistently rearing Aplysia californica at our facility. Since then, numerous researchers have taken advantage of our offer and ability to supply a laboratory strain of red seaweed, Gracilaria ferox,as a food for their Aplysia. Increasing requests for the seaweed suggests both the macroalgae is readily accepted by Aplysia held at inland facilities and meets investigators' requirements for a readily available food source. (Hopefully, researchers are not consuming the seaweed but should the urge strike, feel free to try it. Gracilaria is a significant part of the diet for many cultures and is used in numerous consumable products).

Feedback from some investigators expressed concern for the nutritional quality of the numerous types of food products used to feed Aplysia and their potential effects upon long-term experiments. This prompted us to evaluate several of the most commonly used food items with respect to consumption, growth, and survival. Results from the study are an initial attempt at developing a laboratory protocol for feeding trials with juvenile Aplysia and should be considered preliminary. Please turn to page 2-->



Research Focus

VARIATIONS IN SEROTONIN AND DOPAMINE
SYSTEMS IN APLYSIA CALIFORNICA


Jane Flinn and Vikas Chandhoke
Departments of Psychology and Biology,
George Mason University, Fairfax VA.

We are currently engaged in two areas of research: (1) the way that age affects neurotransmitter systems in A. californica,and (2) the role of dopamine in A. californica, and its variation with environmental stress.

We were initially interested in changes in the serotonin and dopamine systems in A. californica as a function of age. All animals show changes with age, and A. californicaare no different. Experimenters, generally using size as the criterion, have shown age-related changes in reflexes, in learning and in circadian rhythms. A problem with examining age-related changes in wild-caught A. californica is that while large animals are generally old, and vice versa, it is impossible to tell what the exact age is. Lab-reared animals of the same age can have very different weights, and so presumably do wild-caught ones. One way of assessing age has been to look at shell size, which is a useful parameter, but even here weight plays a role. It is thus extremely helpful to have animals of a known age. Please turn to Page 3...


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