DOI: 10.1101/519512Jan 20, 2019Paper

Interdependent photo- and chemosensory systems regulate larval settlement in a marine sponge

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Tahsha E Say, Sandie M Degnan


Marine pelagic larvae from throughout the animal kingdom use a hierarchy of environmental cues to identify a suitable benthic habitat on which to settle and metamorphose into the reproductive phase of the life cycle. The majority of larvae are induced to settle by biochemical cues and many species have long been known to preferentially settle in the dark. Combined, these data suggest that larval responses to light and biochemical cues may be linked, but this is yet to be explored at the molecular level. Here, we track vertical position of larvae of the sponge Amphimedon queenslandica to show that they descend to the benthos at twilight, by which time they are competent to respond to biochemical cues, consistent with them naturally settling in the dark. We then conduct larval settlement assays under three different light regimes (natural day-night, constant dark or constant light), and use transcriptomics on individual larvae to identify candidate molecular pathways underlying the different settlement responses that we observe. We find that constant light prevents larval settlement in response to biochemical cues, likely via actively repressing chemostransduction; this is consistent with the sustained upregulation of a photosens...Continue Reading

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