Exploring barnacle exoskeleton formation

Date & time

1–2pm 2 August 2018


Jaeger 1 Seminar Room, RSES


Rebecca Metzler (Colgate University)

Event series


 Kial Stewart

Barnacles are ancient arthropods that, as adults, consist of a soft organism surrounded by a hard, often calcitic, outer shell that the organism produces for protection. While research has been done into the glue-like cement that barnacles use to adhere to a variety of surfaces, little is know about the formation processes of the barnacle exoskeleton. Here we present preliminary data exploring the changes that occur as the barnacle cyprid undergoes metamorphosis to become a sessile barnacle with a mineralized exoskeleton. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) data in conjunction with confocal microscopy data show the morphological and chemical changes the barnacle undergoes within the first 48 hours following metamorphosis, indicating initial mineralization occurs during this period. In addition, continuous confocal microscope imaging shows the barnacle undergoes growth that follows an approximately logarithmic curve. Continuing experiments work to not only identify the initial mineral phase and mechanical properties, but to also discern how climate change will impact these properties.

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