Independent Research: Christina Mielke (Oregon State University)

An analysis of abundance, ecology and life history of lettuce sea slug, Elysia crispata, on the coast of Bonaire

chrmielkeAbstract: Mechanisms of symbiotic relationships between eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms can vary widely, yet serve the same purpose for the host organism. Select species of Sacoglossa sea slugs, such as Elysia crispata, are known for extracting plastids from algae in order to utilize them within their own bodies (a phenomenon known as kleptoplasty). While the genomics of these types of animals are widely studied, little else is known about their ecology, biology or life history. This study serves to collect basic information on details of E. crispata’s life history, including population abundance and substrate preferences as well as assess the health of populations in the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire. Elysia crispata individuals at this site will be monitored on population density in conjunction with the observed size, what substrate they are most commonly found on, and variations of color vividness in individuals.

Interested in sea slugs? Listen to Christina’s presentation, Wednesday 29th of April, 18:30 at CIEE RSB

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