Casey and Mary Ann’s research

Mary Ann is a SSF from Ohio Wesleyan University, working with graduate student Casey this summer with advisor Dr. Aran Mooney in the Biology department. Their lab has a fantastic ocean acidification (OA) setup and are investigating how OA affects the development of squid paralarvae. Casey’s project entails subjecting the developing larvae to acidified conditions, then measuring several developmental and morphological traits to quantify the effects of OA on their development. Mary Ann is then looking at how their subsequent swimming behaviour may be influenced by these changes. Since I am interested in investigating transcriptomic responses to OA for a PhD and most likely will be using a similar OA setup, I was interested in how the Mooney lab’s setup looked like and Casey was kind enough to give me a tour of the lab.

Casey looking proudly onto his work baby, which he built from scratch

Casey looking proudly onto his work baby, which he built from scratch

Wild squid during spawning season (now) are caught and kept in tanks until they deposit the eggs mats, pictured here. The developing egg mats are kept in specific CO2 conditions using the setup

Wild squid during spawning season (now) are caught and kept in tanks until they deposit eggs mats, pictured here. The developing egg mats are kept in specific CO2 conditions using the setup

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Various CO2 concentrations are colour coded and delivered individually to the small holding tanks

CO2 tank and filters

CO2 tank and filters

Regulators, which control the concentration of CO2 through the mix of normal air with that from the CO2 tank

Regulators, which control the concentration of CO2 through the mix of normal air with that from the CO2 tank

The Mooney lab also does research in sensory ecology using cuttlefish, which are very interesting creatures that can change colours use their chromatophores

The Mooney lab also does research in sensory ecology using cuttlefish, which are very interesting creatures that can change colours using their chromatophores

Squid paralarvae under the dissecting microscope. You can see the small chromatophores as coloured dots, and the two stratoliths (calcified bones used for balance) as the white dots in the head region

Adorable squid paralarvae under the dissecting microscope. You can see the small chromatophores as coloured dots, and the two statoliths (calcified bones used for balance) as the white dots in the head region

Since the statolith is made from calcification (and may be hence impacted by OA), their size is one of the morphological traits Casey will be looking at. After Mary Ann’s swimming behaviour observations, Casey will be dissecting the larvae and taking measurements of the statolith to try to address weather a smaller, poorly developed statolith under OA may be correlated with abnormal swimming/balance in the larvae. Keep in mind that these larvae are about 2-3mm across, so dissecting them would definitely be an interesting endeavour. I will certainly try to drop by again one afternoon to witness it!

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