MBL March Madness: Rotifer

Rotifer. Credit: Kristin Gribble and Michael Shribak | Equipment: Polychromatic Polscope

MBL March Madness: Rotifer (brachionus manjovacos)

For scientists at the MBL, Brachionus rotifers are used as model organisms to study evolution, stress responses, the biology of aging, and maternal effects. Rotifers are small, easy to grow in the lab, have a short lifespan, and share many of their genes with humans. That makes them ideal specimens in which to address questions relevant to human health as well as understand basic biological and evolutionary processes.

Cool facts

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  • The word rotifer is derived from a Neo-Latin word meaning "wheel-bearer", due to the corona around the mouth that in concerted sequential motion resembles a wheel.
  • Brachionus manjavacas produces eggs that can be completely dried and frozen for decades, then hatch within a day when exposed to water and light.
  • It has one foot that looks like a tail that can be partially or wholly retracted into its midsection.

(ID Card Photo Credit: Kristin Gribble and Michael Shribak | Equipment: Polychromatic Polscope)

Publications from the MBL

Hernández, Christina M. et al (2020) A demographic and evolutionary analysis of maternal effect senescence. PNAS: doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1919988117

Bock, M.J., G.C. Jarvis, E.L. Corey, E.E. Stone, K.E. Gribble (2019) Maternal age alters offspring lifespan, fitness, and lifespan extension under caloric restriction. Scientific Reports 9:3138. doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-40011-z

Arkhipova, I., Yushenova, I.A., and Rodriguez, F. (2017) Giant reverse transcriptase-encoding transposable elements at telomeres. Mol. Biol. Evol. DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msx159

Gribble K.E., Jarvis G., Bock M., Mark Welch D.B. Maternal caloric restriction partially rescues the deleterious effects of advanced maternal age on offspring. Aging Cell. (2014). Aug;13(4):623-30. doi.org/10.1111/acel.12217  


Division: Lophotrochozoa

Lophotrochozoa is one of the major groups within the animal kingdom. It comprises: segmented worms, mollusks (the phylum that includes snails, squid, octopuses, and clams) as well as lophophores, a group of animals that include clam-like organisms known brachiopods and bryozoans, sedentary colony animals sometimes referred to as “moss animals.” Learn more Meet the Other Lophotrochozoan Organisms

What is MBL March Madness?

Based on the March Madness NCAA basketball tournament, during MBL March Madness, popular MBL organisms face off for your votes. YOU have the opportunity to decide what organism is crowned victorious by voting for your favorite organisms in a series of head-to-head match-ups. Voting will take place on the MBL social media channels from March 29 - April 7. Learn more and download a bracket at mbl.edu/march-madness