afloor, they were taken to McMurdo Stations Crary Laboratory for experiments. On several occasions, the animals were flown back to the lab by helicopter. The problem with collecting marine animals in Antarctica is not keeping them cold during the trip back to the lab but to keep the seawater in the coolers from freezing solid during the trip, Marsh explains.
Housed in the lab in the cold water pumped in from McMurdo Sound, the female sea urchins were induced to spawn and the eggs were fertilized. The scientists then began measuring the changes in total metabolic rates as the embryos developed into larvae, along with corresponding changes in the rate of protein turnover, or metabolism. More than 10 million embryos were tested during the three-year project.
So what does identifying the most energy-efficient animal mean to the rest of us, besides making us feel metabolically inadequate?
We know the Antarctic sea urchin can process proteins using less energy than anyone else, Marsh
says, but we dont know yet what mechanism allows the animal to do so much with so little. Finding the answer could yield some important benefits, he notes. For example, if you could incorporate this
energy-efficiency into a fish, oyster, or clam, you could feed it less food and get the same growth rate. That kind of capability would be a great boon to aquaculture.
Page: 1 2 Related biology news :1
Contact: Tracey Bryant
University of Delaware
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