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From Odor Molecules to Plume Tracking: An Interdisciplinary, Multilevel Approach to Olfaction in Stomatopods1

The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology
Publication Date
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics


Abstract Like many marine crustaceans, mantis shrimp rely on their sense of smell to find food, mates, and habitat. In order for olfaction to function, odorant molecules in the surrounding fluid must gain access to the animal's chemosensors. Thus fluid motion is important for olfaction, both in terms of the large scale fluid movements (currents, waves, etc.) that advect the odorants to the vicinity of the sensors, and the small-scale viscosity dominated flows that determine odorant access to the surface of the sensor. In order to understand how stomatopods interpret their chemical environment, I investigated how stomatopod chemosensory morphology and the movement of the structures bearing the chemosensors affect fluid access to the sensor surface in Gonodactylaceus mutatus. Preliminary results from new directions are presented, including mathematical modeling of molecular flux at the sensor surface, field studies of the effects of ambient flow on odor sampling behavior, and flume experiments testing the ability of stomatopods to trace odor plumes. Finally, I show how the use of multiple techniques from several disciplines leads to new ideas about the functional morphology of stomatopod antennules.

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