Effect of Trans, trans-2 4-Decadienal on Invertebrate Reproduction and its Significance

Friday, February 12, 2016
Joseph Dello Russo, Massachusetts Academy of Sciences, Revere, MA
Invasive Species have become an important issue, negatively impacting ecosystems around the world. The Asian Shore Crab is a destructive invasive crab species that has been introduced and has embedded itself into marine ecosystems along the coastline of the Eastern United States.  This is the species that the project wishes to eventually focus on as a real world application. This project used the defensive chemical Trans, trans-2 4-decdienal produced naturally by diatoms to show a decrease in reproduction success in of both copepods and sea urchins. When diatoms become injured, they release this chemical as part of a wound response, reducing the reproductive level of copepods, and by this, reduces future predation, allowing the diatom population to recover.  Dilutions of this chemical were tested in a controlled environment to test not only the success of reproduction but also to test the lowest amount of chemical needed to make a change in the population. Overall the chemical was very effective at controlling the reproductive success of both organisms to some degree. If this chemical was to be incorporated into a mating population of Asian Shore Crabs, then their population could be controlled through reduced offspring numbers and attrition of the existing adult crabs by natural methods all organisms experience in the environment.  If nothing is done about these invasive species, their numbers could continue to increase to the point that they would impact our coastal ecosystems irrevocably.  Even reducing the population by some number would be a benefit to the environment.  This project proposes a possible solution to this problem.