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Tidal, Daily, and Lunar-Day Activity Cycles in the Marine Polychaete Nereis virens

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Kim Last, Emeritus Professor Peter Olive


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The burrow emergence activity of the wild caught ragworm Nereis virens Sars associated with food prospecting was investigated under various photoperiodic (LD) and simulated tidal cycles (STC) using a laboratory based actograph. Just over half (57%) of the animals under LD with STC displayed significant tidal (12.4h) and/or lunar-day (24.8h) activity patterns. Under constant light (LL) plus a STC, 25% of all animals were tidal, while one animal responded with a circadian (24.2h) activity rhythm suggestive of cross-modal entrainment where the environmental stimulus of one period entrains rhythmic behavior of a different period. All peaks of activity under a STC, apart from that of the individual cross-modal entrainment case, coincided with the period of tank flooding. Under only LD without a STC, 49% of the animals showed nocturnal (24h) activity. When animals were maintained under free-running LL conditions, 15% displayed significant rhythmicity with circatidal and circadian/circalunidian periodicities. Although activity cycles in N. virens at the population level are robust, at the individual level they are particularly labile, suggesting complex biological clock-control with multiple clock output pathways.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Last KS, Bailhache T, Kramer C, Kyriacou CP, Rosato E, Olive PJW

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Chronobiology International

Year: 2009

Volume: 26

Issue: 2

Pages: 167-183

Print publication date: 01/01/2009

ISSN (print): 0742-0528

ISSN (electronic): 1525-6073

Publisher: Informa Healthcare


DOI: 10.1080/07420520902774524


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Funder referenceFunder name
School of Marine Science and Technology, Newcastle University
Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award