Finding Nemo’s clock reveals switch from nocturnal to diurnal activity

Schalm, Gregor, Bruns, Kristina, Drachenberg, Nina, Geyer, Nathalie, Foulkes, Nicholas S., Bertolucci, Cristiano, and Gerlach, Gabriele (2021) Finding Nemo’s clock reveals switch from nocturnal to diurnal activity. Scientific Reports, 11 (1). 6801.

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Timing mechanisms play a key role in the biology of coral reef fish. Typically, fish larvae leave their reef after hatching, stay for a period in the open ocean before returning to the reef for settlement. During this dispersal, larvae use a time-compensated sun compass for orientation. However, the timing of settlement and how coral reef fish keep track of time via endogenous timing mechanisms is poorly understood. Here, we have studied the behavioural and genetic basis of diel rhythms in the clown anemonefish Amphiprion ocellaris. We document a behavioural shift from nocturnal larvae to diurnal adults, while juveniles show an intermediate pattern of activity which potentially indicates flexibility in the timing of settlement on a host anemone. qRTPCR analysis of six core circadian clock genes (bmal1, clocka, cry1b, per1b, per2, per3) reveals rhythmic gene expression patterns that are comparable in larvae and juveniles, and so do not reflect the corresponding activity changes. By establishing an embryonic cell line, we demonstrate that clown anemonefish possess an endogenous clock with similar properties to that of the zebrafish circadian clock. Furthermore, our study provides a first basis to study the multi-layered interaction of clocks from fish, anemones and their zooxanthellae endosymbionts.

Item ID: 69994
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
Copyright Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2022 01:32
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