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October, 2006
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Fishes: A group of cold-blooded, aquatic vertebrates having gills, fins, a cartilaginous or bony endoskeleton, and elongated bodies covered with scales.

Osmoregulation in Fishes

JoVE 10989

When cells are placed in a hypotonic (low-salt) fluid, they can swell and burst. Meanwhile, cells in a hypertonic solution—with a higher salt concentration—can shrivel and die. How do fish cells avoid these gruesome fates in hypotonic freshwater or hypertonic seawater environments?

Fish employ osmoregulatory strategies to balance bodily levels of water and dissolved ions (i.e., solutes), such as sodium and chloride. Imagine two solutions separated by a membrane that is permeable to water. Although water crosses the membrane in both directions, more water flows (i.e., there is net water movement) into the solution with a higher solute concentration; this is the essential part of osmosis. Osmoconformers maintain an internal solute concentration—or osmolarity—equal to that of their surroundings, and so they thrive in environments without frequent fluctuations. All osmoconformers are marine animals, although many marine animals are not osmoconformers. Most fish are osmoregulators. Osmoregulators maintain internal osmolarity independent of the environment, making them adaptable to changing environments and equipped for migration. Osmosis tends to equalize ion concentrations. Since fish require ion levels different from environmental concentrations, they need energy to maintain a solute gradient that optimizes

 Core: Biology

Speciation Rates

JoVE 10956

Speciation usually occurs over a long evolutionary time scale, during which the species may be isolated or continue to interact. If two emerging species start to interbreed, reproductive barriers may be weak, and gene flow can occur again. At this point, the selection of hybrids across the two populations may either stabilize the newly mixed group into a single population or reinforce the distinction between them as new species. Speciation may occur gradually or rapidly, and in some cases is punctuated between long periods without change followed by rapid rates of speciation. In cases of speciation where two or more populations have become isolated for some time, they may reconnect. For example, in long periods of drought or climate change, large lakes can be split into many smaller lakes, isolating the inhabitants. The vast species diversity of African cichlid fish was fueled, in part, by periods of such population fragmentation. When the conditions changed, and fragmented lakes merged again, isolated populations got back into contact. When reconnection occurs, if pre-zygotic reproductive barriers are weak, individuals from the two different populations may begin to reproduce. If the fitness of the hybrid offspring is higher or unchanged compared to the parents, the populations can integrate and merge. This process is referred to as stability. Howeve

 Core: Biology

Natural Selection- Concept

JoVE 10632


Widespread variation of phenotypes in natural populations provides the raw material for evolution, which is the change in the inherited traits of populations over successive generations. Natural selection is one of the main mechanisms of evolution and requires variable traits to be heritable and associated with differential survival and/or reproductive success. Phenotypes that…

 Lab Bio

Physiology of the Circulatory System - Student Protocol

JoVE 10570

Measuring Circulatory System Function in Humans
Before starting the experiment go to the front of the room and collect an alcohol swab, a sphygmomanometer, and a stethoscope.
Clean the earpieces with the alcohol swab and then insert them into your ears.
To check if the stethoscope is in the on position, gently tap the flat metal disc called…

 Lab Bio

Convergent Evolution

JoVE 11133

Evolution shapes the features of organisms over time, ensuring that they are suited for the environments in which they live. Sometimes, selection pressure leads to the rise of similar but unrelated adaptations in organisms with no recent common ancestors, a process known as convergent evolution.

The structures that arise from convergent evolution are called analogous structures. They are similar in function even if they are dissimilar in structure. Further, structures can be analogous while also containing homologous features - those inherited from a common ancestor. Birds and bats have analogous wings, but the forelimb bones within their wings are homologous, adapted from a distant four-limbed ancestor. The wings of butterflies, on the other hand, are analogous to those of birds and bats, but they are not homologous. Sometimes it is clear when two organisms share traits as a result of convergent evolution, as in the case of bird, bat, and butterfly wings, but at other times it is less obvious. To determine whether traits are analogous and thus the result of convergent evolution or homologous and the result of shared ancestry, scientists can examine the DNA sequences of the organisms in question. Dolphins and many bats use echolocation to navigate and hunt. DNA sequence data has indicated that the gene Prestin, which encodes a protein in t

 Core: Biology

Physiology of the Circulatory System- Concept

JoVE 10625


Conditions in the external environment of an organism can change rapidly and drastically. To survive, organisms must maintain a fairly constant internal environment, which involves continuous regulation of temperature, pH, and other factors. This balanced state is known as homeostasis, which describes the processes by which organisms maintain their optimal internal…

 Lab Bio
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