Hopkins Marine Station Student Paper

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(full paper is archived in the Miller Library)

Title: An invesigation into temperature compensation in the nervous system of the dorid nudibranch Doriopsilla albopunctata
Student Author(s): Kirby, Anna
Faculty Advisor(s): Thompson, Stuart
Pages: 25
Location: Final Papers Biology 176H
Date: June 2001
Abstract: Ectothermic animals in the intertidal zone perform complex behaviors over a large range of temperatures. Based on their ability to function at such different temperatures, their nervous systems must compensate to accommodate the environmental changes, either in order to keep behavior the same or to change the animal's behavior in favor of homeostasis. To look at how a nervous system behaves at different temperatures, isolated ganglia from the yellow dorid nudibranch, Doriopsilla albopunctata, were exposed to temperature ranges simulating those of the intertidal zone (10 to 25 degrees Celsius). Single electrode intracellular recordings were taken to study the behavior of individual neurons. Variation in spontaneous activity, firing frequency, utilization time and synaptic potentials revealed individualistic, non-uniform responses to temperature on the neural level. The data suggest that neurons in Doriopsilla albopunctata are not individually temperature compensated, and therefore temperature compensation does not happen on the neuronal level. Nor do the data show that all nerve cells respond to temperature the same way. Instead these results suggest that the overall maintenance of neural function across a temperature gradient arises from properties of the system as a whole rather than individual neurons.