Smelling home can prevent dispersal of reef fish larvae

Many marine fish and invertebrates show a dual life history where settled adults produce dispersing larvae. The planktonic nature of the early larval stages suggests a passive dispersal model where ocean currents would quickly cause panmixis over large spatial scales and prevent isolation of populations, a prerequisite for speciation. Jelle Atema’s research interests include sensory biology, chemical signals, receptor physiology, animal behavior, behavioral ecology, chemical ecology and biomimetic robotics. As part of the Boston University Marine Program, Professor Atema has sought to understand how marine animals sense their environment, how they use this information to make decisions leading to food and mates while avoiding danger, and how these decisions play out in population dynamics and evolution.

Image courtesy of interviewee

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