Speaker: Dr. Yusuke Sakai
Institute: Division of Morphogenesis, National Institute for Basic Biology, Okazaki, Japan (Present address: Department of Biology and Geosciences, Graduate School of Science, Osaka City University, Osaka, Japan)
Talk title: How coral larvae sense and respond to light stimuli? : Investigations of opsins and light-response behavior in the reef-building coral, Acropora tenuis
Light is a primary environmental factor for reef-building corals because they are largely dependent for their energy source on photosynthate produced by symbiotic algae. Despite the ecological significance of light for corals, how they sense and respond to light remains unknown. Our recent study on the larval swimming behavior of the common reef coral, Acropora tenuis, revealed that they exhibited a clear behavioral response to rapid attenuation of light stimuli. Moreover, we investigated opsins, which are major photoreceptive proteins in animals, and found that opsin homologs were expressed in the A. tenuis larvae. We successfully measured absorption spectra of some of these opsins and observed light-dependent second messenger changes in the opsin-expressing cultured cells. In this talk, I will introduce these results and discuss the relationship between light environment and coral ecology.