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SEMINAR: Sending Sharks to School: Brain Evolution in Sharks and Their Relatives

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Sending Sharks to School: Brain Evolution in Sharks and Their Relatives : SESE and Oceans Institute Seminar Other events...
Cartilaginous fishes are comprised of approximately 1185 species worldwide and occupy a range of niches and primary habitats. It is a widely accepted view that neural development can reflect morphological adaptations and sensory specializations and it has been shown that similar patterns of brain organization, termed cerebrotypes, exist in species of that share certain lifestyle characteristics. Clear patterns of brain organization exist across cartilaginous fishes, irrespective of phylogenetic grouping. Examination of brain size (encephalization, n = 151) and interspecific variation in brain organization (n = 84) across this group suggests that similar patterns of brain organization, termed “cerebrotypes”, exist in species that share certain lifestyle characteristics. Clear patterns of brain organization exist across cartilaginous fishes, irrespective of phylogenetic grouping and, although this study was not a functional analysis, it provides further evidence that chondrichthyan brain structures might have developed in conjunction with specific behaviours or enhanced cognitive capabilities. Larger brains, with well-developed telencephala and large, highly foliated cerebella are reported in species that occupy complex reef or oceanic habitats, such as Prionace glauca and Sphyrna zygaena. In contrast, benthic and benthopelagic demersal species comprise the group with the smallest brains, such as Cephaloscyllium spp. and Squatina californica, with a relatively reduced telencephalon and a smooth cerebellar corpus. There is also evidence of a bathyal cerebrotype; deep-sea benthopelagic sharks, such as Centroselachus crepidater and Harriotta raleighana possess relatively small brains and show a clear relative hypertrophy of the medulla oblongata. Despite the patterns observed and documented, significant gaps in the literature have been highlighted. Brain mass data are only currently available on c. 16% of all chondrichthyan species, and only 8% of species have data available on their brain organization, with far less on subsections of major brain areas that receive distinct sensory input. The interspecific variability in brain organization further stresses the importance of performing functional studies on a greater range of species. Only an expansive data set, comprised of species that span a variety of habitats and taxonomic groups, with widely disparate behavioural repertoires, combined with further functional analyses, will help shed light on the extent to which chondrichthyan brains have evolved as a consequence of behaviour, habitat and lifestyle in addition to phylogeny.
Speaker(s) Dr Kara E. Yopak, School of Animal Biology and UWA Oceans institute
Location Lecture Theatre 1, G17, Mathematics Building
Contact Lorraine Dorn <[email protected]> : 3701
Start Thu, 10 May 2012 16:00
End Thu, 10 May 2012 17:00
Submitted by Lorraine Dorn <[email protected]>
Last Updated Tue, 15 May 2012 13:48
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