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Entrainment of the circadian rhythm in larval release of the crab Dyspanopeus sayi by temperature cycles
Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology (2017)
  • Heidi Waite, University of Central Florida
  • Kevin G Sanchez
  • Richard B. Forward, Jr.
Marine and estuarine crabs brood attached eggs, which hatch synchronously releasing larvae at precise times relative to environmental cycles. The subtidal crab Dyspanopeus sayi has a circadian rhythm, in which larvae are released within the 4-h interval after the time of ambient sunset. Previous studies demonstrated that the rhythm can be entrained by the light:dark cycle. Since subtidal crabs are also exposed to temperature fluctuations, an unstudied question was whether the circadian rhythm could be entrained by the diel temperature cycle. To answer this question, ovigerous D. sayi were entrained in darkness to 2.5, 5, and 10 °C temperature cycles that were reverse in phase from the ambient temperature cycle. After entrainment, larval release times were monitored in constant conditions of temperature and darkness with a time-lapse video system. The effectiveness of a temperature cycle to shift the timing of larval release increased as the magnitude of the temperature cycle increased and as crabs were exposed to increasing numbers of entrainment cycles. However, entrainment to a 10 °C cycle only lasted 2 days in constant conditions. When crabs were entrained to a light:dark vs. a 10 °C temperature cycle, the light:dark cycle was dominant for entrainment. Nevertheless, ovigerous crabs do sense temperature cycles and in areas where daylight is too low for entrainment, temperature cycles can be used to regulate the time of larval release.

  • Crab,
  • Dyspanopeus sayi,
  • circadian rhythm,
  • larval release,
  • entrainment,
  • temperature cycles
Publication Date
January 17, 2017
Citation Information
Heidi Waite, Kevin G Sanchez and Richard B. Forward. "Entrainment of the circadian rhythm in larval release of the crab Dyspanopeus sayi by temperature cycles" Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology (2017)
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