AEFW up-date and summary of the year's findings

Lab Note #5
Dec 22, 2014

Hello and happy holidays to you all.

It’s almost been a year since we raised the funds to start the AEFW research project and we want to give you a summary of our progress to date.

Last fall Cat established a dedicated AEFW research tank. The funds raised from the crowd source funding have allowed her to keep this tank going, to set up a second tank with a second population of AEFW, and enabled me to visit Cat for a week in April.

We are using these populations of AEFW firstly to understand their life cycle in aquaria in order to develop a protocol for their control, and secondly to look for vulnerable developmental stages that can be targeted.

Here is a summary of our results to date:

How long does it take for eggs to hatch? 11-14 days @ 27C (n = 4 egg batches)

Do they hatch as larvae or juveniles? some hatch as larvae others as juveniles

How long does it take for the worms to reach sexual maturity? Adults start laying eggs at ~ 4mm in length, we don’t know yet how long it takes them to reach that size, probably dependent on food supply.

How long can newly hatched worms survive without food? 24 hours

How long can adults survive without food? 6 - 15 days depending on size, larger individuals survive for longer.

We suffered a set-back this fall with a bacterial infection that killed off the corals. Cat has started the tanks again from scratch and is currently sourcing new Acroporas to put in. We will repeat these hatching timing and starvation experiments again soon using different populations of AEFW. These new experiments will allow us to assess the natural variation in AEFW growth and development.

Keep tuning in next year as we get up and running again, and we’ll bring in more data to demystify this pest!

Kate and Cat

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