Neurophysiological Control of Swimming Behaviour, Attachment and Metamorphosis in Black-footed Abalone (Haliotis Iris) Larvae
Experiments were conducted to test the effect of a range of chemicals on larval responses in swimming behaviour, attachment and metamorphosis of the black-footed abalone (Haliotis iris). The effect of antibiotics on larval survival was first tested within negative (filtered seawater) and positive (GABA at 10−5, 10−4 and 10−3 mol L−1) control assays over 3 days. This experiment corroborated the effectiveness of using antibiotics to improve survival of larvae without obvious synergistic interactions with the GABA inducer or confounding effects of potential bacterial interactions. Chemical treatments (acetylcholine, potassium chloride, dopamine and glutamine) were then tested at various concentrations for their ability to modulate swimming behaviour and induce larval attachment and metamorphosis over 14 days. Generally, larval state shifted from swimming to attached, and from attached to metamorphosed, in the control and treatments over time. However, the peak percentage of attached and metamorphosed larvae varied in time among chemicals and concentrations. While overall percent metamorphosis was minimally enhanced after 14 days of exposure to some chemical treatments at certain concentrations, all treatments displayed significant capacities to down-regulate larval swimming and induce early attachment and metamorphosis. Mortality was recorded throughout the duration of the experiment, and was generally low (<20%) across controls and most treatments for exposures of less than 12 days. Interpretations of specific results from this study are used to elucidate neurophysiological control of larval activities for this abalone species. Comparisons with other marine invertebrates highlight the specificities of chemical cues and endogenous regulatory mechanisms across relatively closely related taxa.