Up-date on AEFW experiments at AIMS.

Lab Note #11
Oct 06, 2016

Two weeks in and we’re up to our eyeballs in AEFW eggs and hatchlings!

We’re running experiments to see the effects of temperature on AEFW development; time to hatching, hatching success and developmental state at hatching.

We bagged over 160 adult AEFW and 36 laid eggs within 4 days. 

We put these 36 eggs clusters into individual incubation chambers and these are divided equally among 12 tanks; with 3 tanks at each temperature (21,24,27, and 30C).

We’re recording their development once a day until they get close to hatching, then twice daily.

In a subset of these egg clusters we are catching the hatchlings and documenting whether they hatch out as ciliated larvae (that can catch aquarium currents to disperse) or whether they undergo metamorphosis and hatch out as juveniles (able to reinfect straight on the coral they were laid on).

This is a big dataset that will take us a few months to analyze, but we will then be able to tell you the variation in hatching times at each temperature and whether there is a relationship between temperature and hatching success. We will combine this data with future chemical treatment and starvation experiments, to develop more effective treatment and quarantine procedures.

AEFW late stage embryos in egg capsules from Kate Rawlinson on Vimeo.

Jonathan is presenting at MACA (Marine Aquarium Conference of Australia) next week, 13-16th October. He will be talking about these experiments and introducing the future AEFW experiments that he will carry out over the next 3 years for his PhD; most excitingly, he plans to conduct experiments to test the effectiveness of commonly used, and also new treatments, on the AEFW. 

We have one week left here and we’re setting out the next questions to be addressed.

We had hoped to have enough AEFW of all sizes to carry out starvation experiments, to see how long they can live without Acropora, but unfortunately we didn’t have enough worms! You can’t get rid off them when you want too, and you can’t get enough of them when you need too - the paradox of the AEFW! Starvation times, biocontrol, chemical treatments are all on the list. If you have other ideas and questions please let us know.

Jonathan, Cat and Kate

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