Zooxanthellae in nudibranchs

October 11, 1998
From: J.E.Austin

23/09/98 20:59
Dear Dr. Bill Rudman:
I have been doing some research on evolutionary relationships between
pacific northwest nudibranchs (USA). In the context of a neurobiology course at the Friday Harbor Labs (associated with the University of Washington), I have been examining immunohistochemical staining of brain regions as a method for generating phylogenetic characters for perhaps
correlating morphology with function. Would you please recommend a couple of good papers for getting a better handle on the basic taxonomic tree for Opisthobranchs? I have read some work by Schmaekel based on neural and reproductive morphology but as well, am wondering if there is corrobrating
molecular work.
On a second note, I am currently studying chemical communication between sea anemones (Aiptasia pallida, specifically) and their endosymbiotic Symbiodinium algae. Some of the work is basically looking for what Host Factor (free amino acid cocktail, ect.) controls or stimulates
photosynthate release from host to algae. With your work on nudibranchs with their own algae gardens, do you know if it is known what nudibranchs
use to signal photosynthate release by the algal cells? Are the algae concentrated in special vacuoles? Then in your photograph (from the website) of Aeolidiella foulisi, what brown sea anemone species is pictured with it?
Thank-you so much for your time. I am an undergraduate in an NSF-funded research program at the Bermuda Biological Station working with Hank Trapido-Rosenthal.
J. Austin
p.s. I realize that it's a shot in the dark, but do you by chance know Terry Gosliner's email address (California Academy of Sciences)?
Austin (J.E.)
Bermuda Biological Station for Research,Inc.
Ferry Reach
St. George, GE01


Austin, J.E., 1998 (Oct 11) Zooxanthellae in nudibranchs. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/257

You ask quite a few questions so I'll answer them in order.
1. A good source of information on mollusc phylogeny. The most comprehensive and up to date work would be:
Beesley,P.L., Ross,G.J.B. & Wells,A (eds) 1998. Mollusca: The Southern Synthesis. Fauna of Australia Vol 5.. CSIRO Publishing : Melbourne. Part A pp1-563. Part b pp 564-1234.
I must declare I was involved in writing parts of it but it is generally accepted as the best around at the moment.

2.re photosynthate release. Have a look at

Hoegh-Guldberg,I.O. & Hinde, R.,1986. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, 228:493-509.

Hoegh-Guldberg,I.O., Hinde, R. & Muscatine,L., 1986. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, 228:511-521.

3. Are the zooxanthellae in special vacuoles? They seem to be in modified ducts of the digestive gland in most but not all the species. sometimes they sem yo be loose in the ducts and in other species they seem to be in subepithelial cells. I have described the position of the zooxanthellae in the various papers I cite at the top of this Solar-powered page.

4. The anemone that Aeolidiella foulisi is feeding on in the photo is Anthothoe albocincta.

5. And lastly, yes I can give you Terry Gosliner's email address. It is

Good luck with your research and please let us know of any interesting discoveries you make. .... Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 1998 (Oct 11). Comment on Zooxanthellae in nudibranchs by J.E.Austin. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/257

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