The Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change
is a research museum of the Leibniz Association
Link to Leibniz Association
Marine Heterobranchia contain thousands of species and each of them is highly specialized to a certain prey type. They either forage on sessile organisms like algae, sponges, hydroids, bryozoan, tunicates, or barnacles. But some also feed on polychaets, or even congeners. Due to their specialization, marine heterobranchs are of high interest when studying trophic adaptations in the molluscan mouthpart, the radula.
In this project we investigate the biomechanics of the radular teeth, which can be regarded as adaptations to the food source, in selected heterobranch taxa. Radular morphology and its surrounding is documented by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and histology. Additionally, the mechanical properties of the teeth, i.e. hardness and elasticity, are tested by nanoindentation technique. By applying confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), micro gradients in the teeth, which have their origin in the degree of tanning, are identified and related with the food.
Dr. Wencke Krings, University Hamburg
Prof. Dr. Stanislav N. Gorb, Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel
Charlotte Neumann, Masterstudent, University Hamburg
Dr. Wencke Krings, Universität Hamburg und LIB Hamburg is project initiator and also project leader