Visualizing Microbial Seascapes - Spring

Monograph Project


To Eat or Not to Eat

Hunting is one of a predators most important behavioral strategies in the art of staying alive. Evolution has led organisms to develop unique strategies that help them capture nutritious and vulnerable prey. Protoperdinium uses chemoreception (detecting certain chemical stimuli in the environment) to help select its most vulnerable prey. The comb jelly Pleurobrachia bachei has developed a different technique. Two long tentacles lined with colloblasts, or sticky cells, passively catch prey from the water column. Though P. bachei’s tentacles can catch a variety of prey, it prefers to consume smaller prey that pose less of a threat during oral consumption. In these two organisms, a comb jelly and a zooplankton, we see that even those without true brains can determine which prey are safest to eat.

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