Marine Biotechnology

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 149–160 | Cite as

Molecular Detection of Marine Invertebrate Larvae

  • Shana K. GoffrediEmail author
  • William J. Jones
  • Christopher A. Scholin
  • Roman MarinIII
  • Robert C. Vrijenhoek
Original Article


The ecological patterns of many invertebrate larvae remain an ongoing mystery, in large part owing to the difficult task of detecting them in the water column. The development of nucleic-acid–based technology has the potential to resolve this issue by direct identification and monitoring of embryonic and larval forms in situ. We report herein on the successful development and application of nucleic-acid–based sandwich hybridization assays that detect barnacles using rRNA-targeted probes with both group-(order Thoracica) and species-(Balanus glandula) specificity. Primary results include the determination of target 18S rRNA sequences and the construction of “capture” probes for detection of larvae using hybridization techniques. In addition, we modified existing protocols for whole cell hybridization of invertebrate larvae as confirmation of the sandwich hybridization results. We used both hybridization techniques successfully in the laboratory on a plankton time series collected over 3 months, as well as a week-long in situ deployment of the technique in Monterey Bay, CA. The adaptability of this technology promises to be further applicable to various organisms and could be used to enhance our understanding of larval presence in the world's oceans.


Balanus barnacle hybridization larvae probe ribosomal RNA 



The authors thank the R/V Zephyr and Shana Rae captains and crew; S. Hallam, J. Tyrell, S. Jensen, G. Massion, B. Roman, and S. Johnson for laboratory and field support; C. Braby for invaluable advice and assistance in collecting barnacles and Hopkins Marine Station temperature data; and J. Ray at Orca, Inc. Funding was provided by The David and Lucile Packard Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shana K. Goffredi
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • William J. Jones
    • 1
  • Christopher A. Scholin
    • 1
  • Roman MarinIII
    • 1
  • Robert C. Vrijenhoek
    • 1
  1. 1.Monterey Bay Aquarium Research InstituteMoss LandingUSA
  2. 2.Environmental Science and EngineeringCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPasadenaUSA

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