The development of olfaction in Sepia officinalis

As a complex species of mollusk, the common cuttlefish, Sepia officinalis, has a unique

physiology with multiple traits, such as their complicated brains that are similar to vertebrates.

With these similarities, S. officinalis provides a novel perspective for understanding olfaction.

Critical across the animal kingdom, olfaction allows for complex behaviors such as detection of

food, shelter, mates, and danger. Although arthropods and vertebrates are the archetypal

models of olfactory organization, since both systems are composed of basic functional units

called glomeruli, investigating the olfactory system in a cuttlefish provides new insights into the

evolution of olfactory mechanisms and information processing of complex metazoans. We

expect to find glomeruli, or glomerular-like structures, in S. officinalis through whole mount

immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization and we will identify the development and

differentiation of the embryonic cephalopod olfactory system.

Faculty Supervisor:

Roger Croll


Alexia Scaros



Physics / Astronomy



Dalhousie University



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