Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Happy Belated Alaska Day!

What did you do to celebrate Alaska Day? I staged chromatophores on shrimp with the Biology 310 lab I'm TA-ing! Exciting, right?

the carapace of a shrimp (Pendalus sp.) with its chromatophores (the orange starbursts)

Chromatophores are pigment-containing cells that generate shell color for crustaceans. Some crustaceans can change color to match their backgrounds (cephalopods are also awesome at this!). And, like all things interesting (to me), chromatophores are under hormonal control!

To stage the chromatophores, the students looked at shrimp under dissecting scopes and determined how dispersed the pigments were. A dot is considered stage 1, but the more branching and dispersed the chromatophore, the greater its stage (with 5 being the most dispersed).

more pretty chromatophores!  I'd stage these as 3's and 4's

Pineapples!!!! Really, chromatophore pineapples!!!!
These were from Kevin's physiology project last year.
I'm not sure how I'd stage these, but probably stage AWESOME!

Not specifically Alaskan, but fun nonetheless. Still, let's take this time to appreciate some of the many wonderful Alaskan crabs:

Southeast Alaska intertidal crabs!
Dungeness crab, hermit crab,
mud crab (the purple thing), and red king crab

Happy Alaska Day!

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