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Cells and tissues of dormancy in ascidians: underlying developmental mechanisms and evolutionary origins

Grant number: 18/05923-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): July 23, 2018
Effective date (End): July 22, 2019
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology
Principal Investigator:Federico David Brown Almeida
Grantee:Laurel Sky Hiebert
Supervisor: Stefano Tiozzo
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Laboratoire de Biologie du Développement de Villefranche-sur-Mer (LBDV), France  
Associated to the scholarship:15/14052-8 - Origins of coloniality: Developmental mechanisms and directionality of colonial coalescence in ascidians, BP.PD


Colonial organisms, those that reproduce clonally and remain organically attached, can survive changing environmental conditions by adding/removing modules. Additionally, many colonial species survive adverse conditions by going dormant, where modules or whole colonies enter a state of physiological and morphological inactivity. Coloniality arose independently many times in the metazoans, and dormancy has evolved in almost all the classes of colonial animals. Yet the link between coloniality and dormancy remains unexplored. I hypothesize that dormancy arose in colonial lineages via co-option of mechanisms underlying asexual reproduction and regenerative potential present in colonial taxa. Colonial species rely on populations of circulatory stem cells that drive asexual development. I predict that the origins of dormancy in colonial species involved a cytological recruitment of these stem cells. Ascidians, a family within the subphylum Tunicata, provide a fitting model for understanding the origins/mechanisms of dormancy. My postdoctoral project focuses on the stem cells and their involvement in budding and the origins of coloniality. For my BEPE project, I propose to explore another similarly important developmental mechanism of colonial animals, i.e. dormancy. I propose to examine the environmental, morphological, and molecular characteristics of dormancy in two ascidian species that have independently evolved both coloniality and dormancy. I will determine the environmental cues that induce and release dormancy in the lab and field. I will examine dormant tissues and cells using histology and microscopy and compare transcriptome profiles of dormant vs. non-dormant tissues. Results from this work will provide the foundation for ascidians as a model for the origins of dormancy. Results will show if the origins of dormancy as a survival strategy display mechanistic links to coloniality, such as the deployment of circulatory stem cells. This work will directly contribute to my postdoctoral project, and enhance our understanding of the origins and mechanisms of complex life histories. (AU)

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Scientific publications (6)
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
HIEBERT, LAUREL S.; VIEIRA, LEANDRO M.; TIOZZO, STEFANO; SIMPSON, CARL; GROSBERG, RICHARD K.; MIGOTTO, ALVARO E.; MORANDINI, ANDRE C.; BROWN, FEDERICO D.. From the individual to the colony: Marine invertebrates as models to understand levels of biological organization. JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL ZOOLOGY PART B-MOLECULAR AND DEVELOPMENTAL EVOLUTION, v. 336, n. 3, . (18/05923-3, 15/50164-5, 19/06927-5, 18/50017-0, 15/14052-8)
HIEBERT, LAUREL S.; SIMPSON, CARL; TIOZZO, STEFANO. Coloniality, clonality, and modularity in animals: The elephant in the room. JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL ZOOLOGY PART B-MOLECULAR AND DEVELOPMENTAL EVOLUTION, v. 336, n. 3, p. 198-211, . (15/14052-8, 18/05923-3)
SCELZO, MARTA; ALIE, ALEXANDRE; PAGNOTTA, SOPHIE; LEJEUNE, CAMILLE; HENRY, PAULINE; GILLETTA, LAURENT; HIEBERT, LAUREL S.; MASTROTOTARO, FRANCESCO; TIOZZO, STEFANO. Novel budding mode in Polyandrocarpa zorritensis: a model for comparative studies on asexual development and whole body regeneration. EVODEVO, v. 10, . (18/05923-3)
ALIE, ALEXANDRE; HIEBERT, LAUREL S.; SCELZO, MARTA; TIOZZO, STEFANO. The eventful history of nonembryonic development in tunicates. JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL ZOOLOGY PART B-MOLECULAR AND DEVELOPMENTAL EVOLUTION, v. 336, n. 3, p. 250-266, . (18/05923-3)
JIMENEZ-MERINO, JUAN; DE ABREU, ISADORA SANTOS; HIEBERT, LAUREL S.; ALLODI, SILVANA; TIOZZO, STEFANO; DE BARROS, CINTIA M.; BROWN, FEDERICO D.. Putative stem cells in the hemolymph and in the intestinal submucosa of the solitary ascidian Styela plicata. EVODEVO, v. 10, n. 1, . (19/06927-5, 16/07607-6, 15/50164-5, 15/14052-8, 18/05923-3)
HIEBERT, LAUREL S.; SCELZO, MARTA; ALIE, ALEXANDRE; DE TOMASO, ANTHONY W.; BROWN, FEDERICO D.; TIOZZO, STEFANO. Comparing dormancy in two distantly related tunicates reveals morphological, molecular, and ecological convergences and repeated co-option. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, v. 12, n. 1, p. 17-pg., . (15/50164-5, 18/05923-3, 18/50017-0)

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