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Balanus improvisus

Species biology: The bay barnacle (Balanus (Amphibalanus) improvisus) is a sessile crustacean found in coastal, shallow waters worldwide, especially in estuarine and brackish waters. It is one of few macro-invertebrates that inhabits most of the salinity gradient from the North Sea to the Baltic Sea and is known for its broad salinity tolerance (1.8 – 35). Being sessile, barnacles experience extreme changes in environmental conditions requiring specific evolutionary adaptations. The species is also a major fouling agent on ships and other marine constructions resulting in large economical and environmental impact. The species has a complex life cycle with seven different larval stages, which have been studied both in ecological contexts as well as in antifouling research. E.g. comprehensive physiological and molecular biology studies have been undertaken to test inhibitors of the sensory signal that initiates adhesion to the substratum by the cyprid larvae.

Rationale for developing this model: The species is an important fouling organism and a potential source for various areas of biotechnological research (e.g. the underwater ”super glue” produced by the larvae at metamorphosis). It is also an important test-organism for antifouling research as well as ecological research. Genetic resources will e.g. provide tools to investigate genes that are involved in the settlement process and responses to environmental change. The recent and worldwide spread of this species enables studies about rapid evolution of local adaptation to a range of new habitats differing in e.g. temperature, salinity and pH etc. The species is easily collected from the field and culturing techniques are well established and larvae can be provided all year round.

Key references: Fyhn, H. J. 1976. Holeuryhalinity and Its Mechanisms in a Cirriped Crustacean, Balanus-Improvisus. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology a-Physiology 53:19-30

Johannesson, K., and C. André. 2006. Life on the margin: genetic isolation and diversity loss in a peripheral marine ecosystem, the Baltic Sea. Molecular Ecology 15:2013-2029

Estimated Genome size: 0.7 Gbp

Available sequence information: EST library (cDNA), Transcriptomes adult + cyprids (Illumina+PacBio), complete mitochondrial genome, DNA from 3 adults

Genome sequencing progress: (last updated 2018-05-29)
— Adult 1, Illumina:
DNA Libraries, bp - 150, 300, 3 000; Total data, Gbp - 180
Total size assembly, Gbp - 0.62 (diploid)
Contig N50, bp - 2.2 kb; Max contig size, kb - 39

— Adult 2, 10x Chromium:
Assembly, Gbp - 0.77 (diploid)
Scaffold N50 - 6 kb; Max scaffold size, kb - 123

— Adult 3, 10x Chromium + Pacbio:

Additional species, RNA-seq:
Balanus balanus (Tjärnö, Swe) *
Balanus crenatus (Tjärnö, Swe) *
Semibalanus balanoides (Tjärnö, Swe) *
Balanus perforatus (Roscoff, France)
Chtalamus montagui (Roscoff, France)
Elminius modestus (Roscoff, France)
* = plus DNA sequences from 10x Chromium

Additional genetic resources: Microsatellite markers (under development), COI primers for mtDNA studies

Other resources: Single adult Proteomics

In culture: Yes, barnacles from different populations around the Baltic and Skagerrak. Both adults and larvae can be obtained for research.

Contact: Anders Blomberg - anders.blomberg.cmb.gu.se
Bioinformatician: Magnus Alm Rosenblad - magnus.almrosenblad@cmb.gu.se

IMAGO marine model species

Balanus improvisus as a Marine Model - Culture and Gene expression

The barnacle Balanus (Amphibalanus) improvisus is a model for studying osmoregulation and antifouling. However, natural seasonal spawning yields an unpredictable supply of cyprid larvae. Here, a protocol for the all-year-round culturing of B. improvisus is described, including the production of larvae. The use of cultured barnacles in gene expression studies is illustrated.

Jonsson PR, Wrange AL, Lind U, Abramova A, Ogemark M, Blomberg A. The Barnacle Balanus improvisus as a Marine Model - Culturing and Gene Expression. J. Vis. Exp. (138), e57825, doi:10.3791/57825 (201

Balanus improvisus

Poster presented at
Marine Evolution 2018


Page Manager: Eva Marie Rödström|Last update: 5/30/2018

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