Project Info

Ecdysozoa vs. Articulata: Comparative neuroarchitecture of the brain in annelids, nemathelminths and arthropods analysed with confocal laser scanning microscopy

Numerous anatomical features of the brain of arthropods are highly conserved during evolution, including the presence and basic neuroarchitecture of neuropils such as the central complex. These features are therefore ideal markers from which to derive phylogenetic relationships of arthropods with other major groups of the animal kingdom. The proposed project will investigate whether the brains of arthropods share the same basic neuroarchitecture with those of annelids or nemathelminthes. While the literature on arthropod brain design is abundant there are only sparse and superficial reports examining annelid and nemathelminth cerebral ganglia. Moreover, due to methodical differences, conclusions about homologies can not be drawn. The aim of the proposed project is a detailed anatomical investigation of the cellular neuroarchitecture of the brain of annelids and nemathelminths as compared to that of arthropods. The use of immunofluorescence antibody techniques and confocal laser scanning microscopy will allow us to analyze the anatomical data in detail. Methodical consistency and strict criteria for identifying homologies in brain design will result in a comparable set of characters. This project will contribute to the ongoing Ecdysozoa vs. Articulata discussion. The choice of antibodies is coordinated with other participants of the priority program, enabling a comparison with the results of others. The combined sets of characters will contribute to the data matrix of MorphDeBase.


Dr. Rudolf Loesel, RWTH Aachen, Aachen