Navigation Links
George Washington University Computational Biology Director solves 200-year-old oceanic mystery

WASHINGTON The origin of Cerataspis monstrosa has been a mystery as deep as the ocean waters it hails from for more than 180 years. For nearly two centuries, researchers have tried to track down the larva that has shown up in the guts of other fish over time but found no adult counterpart. Until now.

George Washington University Biology Professor Keith Crandall cracked the code to the elusive crustacean's DNA this summer. His findings were recently published in the journal "Ecology and Evolution," and his research was funded by the National Science Foundation and the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative. In it, Dr. Crandall, the senior author of the paper, explains how "monster larva" and the deep-water aristeid shrimp known as Plesiopenaeus armatus are one in the same: larvae and adult forms of the same species.

Attempts to find the adult incarnation of the larva weren't without significant effort over the span of time. The crustacean's ability to morph into a shrimp bearing no resemblance to its juvenile form was a challenge as externally, the two couldn't be more different.

C. monstrosa, has heavy armor, a thick body and exceptional horn ornamentation. Described as "monstrous and misshapen animal," it is the preferred meal for its predators such as skipjack, yellowfin and blackfin tuna and dolphin. The Plesiopenaeus, resembles a lobster or crab with its red, enclosed exterior and is elusive. It calls the deep sea waters such as the Atlantic Ocean home but finding the specimen to make a match has proven to be difficult for zoologists.

Dr. Crandall said it was not until the late 19th century that researchers started to suspect a link between the Cerataspis and some of the deep sea shrimp. Mid-water oceanic collections in the northern Gulf of Mexico unexpectedly included a single specimen of C. monstrosa for genetic analyses.

"Because previous studies suggested an affinity between Cerataspis and penaeoid shrimp, and more specifically the family Aristeidae, we sampled heavily within these groups," he said. The Crandall lab has been collecting crustacean DNA sequence data for a number of years and therefore had an excellent reference database to compare the Cerataspis DNA.

That's when analysis placed the larva and the deep-sea shrimp as one in the same.

"It's very exciting to have solved a nearly 200-year-old conundrum," said Dr. Crandall. "This was a project that involved having good luck with obtaining the sample, exceptional field knowledge to preserve the specimen and know that it was something special, outstanding state-of-the-art molecular and analytical tools to collect unique data that have only been available in the last 10 years to answer this question and to have an outstanding database of reference sequences to compare against."

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also supported some of the research by providing financial support for the ship time, ship, crew members and collection resources.

"Larval-adult linkages not only aid in our understanding of biodiversity, they provide insights into the life history, distribution and ecology of an organism," said Dr. Crandall.

Contact: Latarsha
George Washington University

Related biology news :

1. Gladstone scientist Warner C. Greene receives Washington University School of Medicine Alumni Award
2. Washington University receives $8 million to lead international childhood malnutrition effort
3. Washingtons forests will lose stored carbon as area burned by wildfire increases
4. University of Houston study shows BP oil spill hurt marshes, but recovery possible
5. University of Alberta led research may have discovered how memories are encoded in our brains
6. BGI, University of Helsinki and Wuhan University sign a MOU concerning cooperation on genomics
7. Marshall University study may lead to new treatments for prostate cancer
8. University leads £6 million EU project to tackle obesity
9. A University of Tennessee professors hypothesis may be game changer for evolutionary theory
10. Life expectancy may affect when you get married, divorced, have kids: Queens University study
11. University of Toronto biologists predict extinction for organisms with poor quality genes
Post Your Comments:
(Date:4/11/2017)... BEACH GARDENS, Fla. , April 11, 2017 ... identity management and secure authentication solutions, today announced ... contract by Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) ... for IARPA,s Thor program. "Innovation has ... onset and IARPA,s Thor program will allow us ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 5, 2017  The Allen Institute for ... Cell Explorer: a one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic digital window ... imaging data, the first application of deep learning to ... stem cell lines and a growing suite of powerful ... for these and future publicly available resources created and ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... , March 30, 2017  On April 6-7, 2017, ... the Genome hackathon at Microsoft,s headquarters in ... competition will focus on developing health and wellness apps ... Hack the Genome is the first hackathon ... The world,s largest companies in the genomics, tech and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... Dr. Bob Harman, founder and ... San Diego Rotary Club. The event entitled “Stem Cells and Their ... 300+ attendees. Dr. Harman, DVM, MPVM was joined by two human doctors: Peter ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... innovation and business process optimization firm for the life sciences and healthcare industries, ... conference in San Francisco. , The presentation, “Automating GxP Validation for Agile ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... The award-winning American Farmer television series will ... American Farmer airs Tuesdays at 8:30aET on RFD-TV. , With global population estimates ... of how to continue to feed a growing nation. At the same time, many ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... ... 2017, in the medical journal, Epilepsia, Brain Sentinel’s SPEAC® System which uses ... EEG, in detecting generalized tonic-clonic seizures (GTCS) using surface electromyography (sEMG). The ...
Breaking Biology Technology: