Queens University Marine Laboratory

Portaferry, United Kingdom

Queens University Marine Laboratory

Portaferry, United Kingdom
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Sumner-Rooney L.,Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Research | Sigwart J.D.,Queens University Marine Laboratory | Sigwart J.D.,University of California at Berkeley
Invertebrate Zoology | Year: 2017

All scientific and intellectual endeavours advance by building on earlier observations. In organismal biology, we can in fact directly replicate original studies of morphology and anatomy, when the original material is still present and accessible in the permanent care of museums. We refer to the apparently miraculous “Lazarisation” of these historical specimens, when the application of state-of-the-art scientific techniques brings new life to material in natural history collections. Classical anatomical, histological and palaeontological work established our fundamental understanding of the natural world over centuries of meticulous and dedicated research, much of which remains unsurpassed to this day. Many of these original specimens are still available to active researchers through dedicated permanent collections in the care of universities and museums. An explosion of advancing methods in recent decades has opened new avenues of research that can exploit invaluable historical material. We review the application of novel techniques, primarily new imaging methods, to historic and important specimens. The pursuit of ultra-high resolution magnification, three-dimensional digital modelling, non-invasive scanning techniques, and, increasingly, elemental analyses all have enormous implications for the future of morphology. Palaeontology, comparative anatomy, and development in particular make ideal platforms for the exploitation of these new techniques. These methods are revolutionizing our use of museum collections and reinventing their role in modern morphological research, which comes at a time of increasing threat to collections and museum curation funding. Future innovations in imaging and non-invasive analyses will doubtless accelerate the renewed research efforts dedicated to existing specimens. Most importantly, we celebrate the continued contributions to morphology from these invaluable pieces of our scientific heritage. © INVERTEBRATE ZOOLOGY, 2017.


Sumner-Rooney L.H.,Queens University Marine Laboratory | Sumner-Rooney L.H.,Queen's University of Belfast | Murray J.A.,California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo | Cain S.D.,Eastern Oregon University | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Natural History | Year: 2014

Several animals and microbes have been shown to be sensitive to magnetic fields, though the exact mechanisms of this ability remain unclear in many animals. Chitons are marine molluscs which have high levels of biomineralised magnetite coating their radulae. This discovery led to persistent anecdotal suggestions that they too may be able to navigationally respond to magnetic fields. Several researchers have attempted to test this, but to date there have been no large-scale controlled empirical trials. In the current study, four chiton species (Katharina tunicata, Mopalia kennerleyi, Mopalia muscosa and Leptochiton rugatus, n = 24 in each) were subjected to natural and artificially rotated magnetic fields while their movement through an arena was recorded over four hours. Field orientation did not influence the position of the chitons at the end of trials, possibly as a result of the primacy of other sensory cues (i.e. thigmotaxis). Under non-rotated magnetic field conditions, the orientation of subjects when they first reached the edge of an arena was clustered around 309–345° (north–north-west) in all four species. However, orientations were random under the rotated magnetic field, which may indicate a disruptive effect of field rotation. This pattern suggests that chitons can detect and respond to magnetism. © 2014, © 2014 Taylor & Francis.


Kunc H.P.,Queen's University of Belfast | Kunc H.P.,Queens University Marine Laboratory | Lyons G.N.,Queen's University of Belfast | Lyons G.N.,Queens University Marine Laboratory | And 6 more authors.
American Naturalist | Year: 2014

Many species are currently experiencing anthropogenically driven environmental changes. Among these changes, increasing noise levels are specifically a problem for species using acoustic signals (i.e., species relying on signals that use the same sensory modality as anthropogenic noise). Yet many species use other sensory modalities, such as visual and olfactory signals, to communicate. However, we have only little understanding of whether changes in the acoustic environment affect species that use sensory modalities other than acoustic signals. We studied the impact of anthropogenic noise on the common cuttlefish Sepia officinalis, which uses highly complex visual signals.We showed that cuttlefish adjusted their visual displays by changing their color more frequently during a playback of anthropogenic noise, compared with before and after the playback. Our results provide experimental evidence that anthropogenic noise has a marked effect on the behavior of species that are not reliant on acoustic communication. Thus, interference in one sensory channel, in this case the acoustic one, affects signaling in other sensory channels. By considering sensory channels in isolation, we risk overlooking the broader implications of environmental changes for the behavior of animals. © 2014 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

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