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Research Idea - Microgravity and Development

Dec 24, 2002
Hello fellow TONMO'ers,

For some unholy reason I was thinking of squid development today, and I wondered; has anyone done any research experiments dealing with molluscan embryological development in microgravity (i.e. Earth orbit)? Steve O. has several times brought up cephalopod statoliths and how he believes that these may serve a gravitropic function, so seeing how cephalopod embryos develop in microgravity might make for an interesting experiment, as well as shed more light on said statoliths.

Now, having spent a wee bit o' time working for my country's space program, I can say that such an experiment would cost an arm and a head (in 1996 dollars the price of sending experiments on the space shuttle ran upwards of $10,000.00 US per pound - or about $22,000.00 per kilogram, if you prefer that measure). But it would be interesting to study gravitational effects on developemental physiology and morphology.

Also, here's a thought to throw out to all of you - Certain odontocetes (mostly dolphins) use pulses of sound to stun prey. This effect on fish is disorienting and is possibly due to injury of the the fish's delicate bones and vestibular system. Could a high enough pulse of sound (say, from a sperm whale) cause damage to the statoliths (or surrounding tissues) of a cephalopod, therefore causing a momentary disorientation which in turn makes for easier predation? I mean, squid HAVE to have a vestibular sense, right? If it is based on tiny, bonelike statoliths, then wouldn't it make sense that it could be their Achilles' heel?

Just :sushi: for though. :read:

Ex octopus sapientia


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