Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Rare find from the deep sea

20.02.2018

Dumbo octopuses live at a depth of thousands of meters in the oceans. A rare spectacle now provides further insight into this extraordinary habitat: a US scientist filmed a dumbo octopus measuring just a few centimeters hatching from its egg. Based on these video recordings and MRI scans of the internal organs, researchers from the Delaware Museum of Natural History, the University of Bonn, the University Hospital Münster, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution were able to document a surprising similarity of the hatchling with adult animals. The find is now being presented in “Current Biology”.

The remotely operated vehicle surfaces again, and this time it has brought up a cold-water coral from a depth of almost 2,000 meters (ca. 6,600 feet). On board the US research vessel Ronald H. Brown, the specimen is immediately placed in a container of seawater which has approximately the same temperature as the deep sea.


The dumbo hatchling shortly after leaving the egg capsule, which is barely two centimeters long.

© Foto: Timothy M. Shank und NOAA Office of Exploration and Research


3D model of the dumbo hatchling: transparent yolk sac, eyes orange, nervous system yellow, intestinal tract blue, shell red, fin cartilage pink, gills and branchial glands green, statocysts purple.

© Alexander Ziegler

By chance, the biologist Dr. Tim Shank observes a small deep-sea octopus hatching from a two-centimeter egg case. The animal immediately starts moving its fins in synchrony. Dr. Shank is quick to react, films the rare event, and later preserves the small marine animal for further investigation. This happened back in 2005.

At the time, Dr. Shank, who is working at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution took part in an expedition exploring a chain of underwater mountains off the US East Coast, the “New England and Corner Rise Seamounts”.

“Dumbo” was borrowed from the Disney classic

“It was the first time that such a deep-sea octopus was observed directly during hatching”, says Dr. Liz Shea of the Delaware Museum of Natural History. The small animal measuring around three centimeters has fins at the end of its mantle that are shaped like elephant ears. Based on the flying elephant “Dumbo” from the Walt Disney cartoons, these deep-sea octopuses are also known as “dumbo octopuses”.

The adult females prefer to lay their eggs in the branches of deep-sea corals and then disappear. “As the video by Tim shows, the dumbo octopus immediately moves like an adult animal about ten times its size”, says Dr. Alexander Ziegler from the Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Ecology of the University of Bonn, who performed studies on the hatchling together with Dr. Shea.

Getting an inside look with magnetic resonance imaging

To find out more about this rare specimen, the team of Prof. Cornelius Faber at the University Hospital Münster took a look inside using a high-resolution magnetic resonance scanner. Dr. Ziegler then used the MRI images to create an interactive three-dimensional model of the internal organs of the small deep-sea octopus. “Particularly striking was a large yolk sac, which serves as a nutrient source directly after hatching, until the young animal can independently capture its prey in the deep sea”, explains Dr. Ziegler.

The scientists were surprised how much the structure of other internal organs and of the nervous system resembled that of adult animals. “While the octopuses we know from shallow waters usually care for their brood, such behavior does not seem to impart any evolutionary advantage to deep-sea dumbo octopuses”, Dr. Ziegler explains.

The find belongs to the genus Grimpoteuthis

On the basis of the size ratios and shape of the internal organs it was possible to assign the rare specimen to the dumbo octopus genus Grimpoteuthis, an absolute novelty for young dumbos. “It was unfortunately not possible to determine the species, because the North Atlantic deep sea fauna is not fully known yet”, says Shea. In particular the deep sea still shows many white spots on the global biodiversity map. Therefore, in their publication, the scientists again emphasize the importance of protecting this sensitive habitat. Deep-sea trawling and mining operations endanger the habitat of deep-sea corals and all organisms associated with these animals, some of which have not yet been researched.

Publication: Elizabeth K. Shea, Alexander Ziegler, Cornelius Faber, Timothy M. Shank: Dumbo octopod hatchling provides insight into early cirrate life cycle, Current Biology, DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.01.032

Media contact:

Dr. Alexander Ziegler
Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Ecology
University of Bonn
Tel. +49(0)228/735758
E-mail: aziegler@evolution.uni-bonn.de

Dr. Elizabeth K. Shea
Curator of Mollusks
Delaware Museum of Natural History
Tel. +1-302-658-9111 x319
E-mail: eshea@delmnh.org

Johannes Seiler | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:
http://www.uni-bonn.de/

Further reports about: Biology deep sea deep-sea corals ecology magnetic resonance octopus

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New image of a cancer-related enzyme in action helps explain gene regulation
05.06.2020 | Penn State

nachricht Protecting the Neuronal Architecture
05.06.2020 | Universität Heidelberg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Restoring vision by gene therapy

Latest scientific findings give hope for people with incurable retinal degeneration

Humans rely dominantly on their eyesight. Losing vision means not being able to read, recognize faces or find objects. Macular degeneration is one of the major...

Im Focus: Small Protein, Big Impact

In meningococci, the RNA-binding protein ProQ plays a major role. Together with RNA molecules, it regulates processes that are important for pathogenic properties of the bacteria.

Meningococci are bacteria that can cause life-threatening meningitis and sepsis. These pathogens use a small protein with a large impact: The RNA-binding...

Im Focus: K-State study reveals asymmetry in spin directions of galaxies

Research also suggests the early universe could have been spinning

An analysis of more than 200,000 spiral galaxies has revealed unexpected links between spin directions of galaxies, and the structure formed by these links...

Im Focus: New measurement exacerbates old problem

Two prominent X-ray emission lines of highly charged iron have puzzled astrophysicists for decades: their measured and calculated brightness ratios always disagree. This hinders good determinations of plasma temperatures and densities. New, careful high-precision measurements, together with top-level calculations now exclude all hitherto proposed explanations for this discrepancy, and thus deepen the problem.

Hot astrophysical plasmas fill the intergalactic space, and brightly shine in stellar coronae, active galactic nuclei, and supernova remnants. They contain...

Im Focus: Biotechnology: Triggered by light, a novel way to switch on an enzyme

In living cells, enzymes drive biochemical metabolic processes enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very ability which allows them to be used as catalysts in biotechnology, for example to create chemical products such as pharmaceutics. Researchers now identified an enzyme that, when illuminated with blue light, becomes catalytically active and initiates a reaction that was previously unknown in enzymatics. The study was published in "Nature Communications".

Enzymes: they are the central drivers for biochemical metabolic processes in every living cell, enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium AWK'21 will take place on June 10 and 11, 2021

07.04.2020 | Event News

International Coral Reef Symposium in Bremen Postponed by a Year

06.04.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

New image of a cancer-related enzyme in action helps explain gene regulation

05.06.2020 | Life Sciences

Silicon 'neurons' may add a new dimension to computer processors

05.06.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

Protecting the Neuronal Architecture

05.06.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>