How tiny fish larvae travel away from the reef, then know how to navigate their way back home is a scientific mystery.
A new study led by Dr. Claire Paris, professor at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science conducted at One Tree Island in the Great Barrier Reef used an o-DISC (ocean Drifting In Situ Chamber,) a unique device created in Paris' laboratory that is composed of circular behavioral arena transparent to light, sound and small scale turbulence, to track a single fish larva. The o-DISC was set adrift in the water column and the swimming activity and bearing of the larva was recorded using an underwater motion sensing and imaging system. The team established that reef fish larvae can smell the presence of coral reefs from as far as several kilometers offshore, and use this odor to find home.
Credit: Michael Kinsgford
A new study led by Dr. Claire Paris, Professor at the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science conducted at One Tree Island in the Great Barrier Reef is helping to shed some light on the topic.
Working with colleagues from UM, Boston University, Laboratoire Oceanographique de Villefranche, James Cook University and Oldenburg University, the team has established that reef fish larvae can smell the presence of coral reefs from as far as several kilometers offshore, and use this odor to find home.
Members of the research team had established earlier that reef fish larvae could discriminate between the odors of different nearby reefs while preferring the odor of the reef where they were settling (Gerlach et al. Proceedings from the National Academy of Science, 2007). However, these experiments were done under controlled conditions in a shore-based laboratory.
"In this collaborative study we expanded our work to demonstrate that the odor responses can also be detected under the field conditions," said Dr. Jelle Atema, Boston University Professor of Biology. "This establishes for the first time that reef fish larvae discriminate odor in situ."
The current study, which appears in the August 28 edition of PLOS ONE, was designed to test the response of larvae in a natural open ocean setting using an outflow plume from One Tree Island. Using light traps, the team collected settlement-stage larvae from cardinalfish [Apogonidae] and damselfish [Pomacentridae].
"Ocean currents do not appear to influence the orientation of fish larvae," said Paris. "They do not provide a frame of reference since larvae are transported within. Instead, we find that fish larvae navigate by detecting turbulent odor signals transported kilometers away from the reef. Subsequently they switch to a directional cue, perhaps magnetic or acoustic, which allows them to find the reef."
Other fish, including mature sharks and freshwater juvenile salmon navigate using olfactory signals, but this is the first study to report that fish larvae use similar odor cues.
"The implications of this study are tremendous, because we have to take into account the impact that human activities might have on the smells contained within the ocean. If these larvae cannot get their 'wake up' cues to orient back toward the reef they may stay out at sea and become easy prey before finding home," said Paris.
The results of the study are reported in the open access journal PLOS ONE. Development of the o-DISC was funded through the National Science Foundation OCE-0512167 & OTIC-1155698.
The University of Miami's mission is to educate and nurture students, to create knowledge, and to provide service to our community and beyond. Committed to excellence and proud of the diversity of our University family, we strive to develop future leaders of our nation and the world. Founded in the 1940's, the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world's premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life. For more information, please visit http://www.rsmas.miami.edu.
Paper: "Reef Odor: A wake up call for navigation in reef fish larvae"by C. B. Paris, J. Atema, J.O. Irisson, M. J. Kingsford, G. Gerlach, and C. M. Guigand. PLOS ONE (August 28, 2013).
Barbra Gonzalez | EurekAlert!
New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News