Final Post: Growth and Luminescence of V. fischeri Ecotypes across a Salinity Gradient

This summer my project presented a unique opportunity to become acquainted with biological research. From coming up with a research question and experimental design to data collection and analysis, each stage presented its own unique challenges that have helped me become a better student and scientist.

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Vibrio Fischeri Wrinkly Spreader vs. Smooth Morph Growth So Far

So far this summer, I’ve been able to collect data on V. fischeri growth over a salinity gradient spanning most of the range between zero percent sodium chloride and nine percent sodium chloride with intervals of 0.2 percent sodium chloride. I currently have data on zero, one, two, three, all the way through nine percent and I’m working on finishing the intervals within that range.

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Vibrio Fischeri Luminescence

My project is primarily focused on whether the adaptive radiation of various strains of V. fischeri from various ecological niches affects response to physiological stress. So far, I’ve been growing smooth morph and wrinkly spreader strains in various concentrations of sodium chloride. Growth has been evaluated using a spectrophotometer to estimate cell density in experimental cultures.

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Adaptive Radiation and Stress Physiology of Vibrio Fischeri

So far this summer I have been steadily collecting and gathering data on the growth of V. fischeri smooth morphs and wrinkly spreaders on a salinity gradient. To do this I have been growing bacteria on LBS growth media with different concentrations of sodium chloride and measuring OD600 with a spectrophotometer to determine the population density that V. fischeri is able to grow to over a period of 24 hours .

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Abstract: Ecological Diversification of Vibrio fischeri During the Free-Living Phase and the Subsequent Consequences of this Bioluminescent Microbe to Grow Along a Salinity Gradient

The mutualism between sepiolid squids and the marine bioluminescent bacterium Vibrio fischeri has become an established tractable model for studying associations between prokaryotic symbionts and their eukaryotic animal hosts, since both participants can be maintained independently of each other in the laboratory (Soto et al. 2014). Within the squid host, V. fischeri cells reside in a specialized and complex morphological structure called the light organ, where they benefit from the inhabitance of a microenvironment rich in nutrients relative to the open ocean. In return, the squid utilize light produced by the bacteria for a cryptic behavior called counterillumination (Soto et al. 2009).

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