Abstract

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Observations and Experiment:

Morphologies and Life History

Native vs. Invasive

Tunicates in Immunology

Organisms in the Rocky Intertidal Zone

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            This project focuses on two ascidians that frequent intertidal zones, harbors, and estuaries of the northeastern Atlantic coastline. Botryllus schlosseri and Botrylloides violaceus, commonly known as sea squirts or tunicates, are compound protochordates that have become widespread due to fouling on boat hulls and introduction for aquaculture. B. schlosseri, the star tunicate, earns its nickname for the star-like appearance of the zooids. B. violaceus, the orange or red sheath tunicate, is brightly colored with a less definitive arrangement of densely clustered zooids. Both organisms form mats that are generally most prevalent on man-made structures such as floating docks or pilings. Over the course of this semester, observations were made of settlement frequency and distribution of B. schlosseri and B. violaceus on natural substrates. Supplemental literature research was also done on native vs. invasive implications, and immune response and allorecognition in ascidians.