Internal physiology of live krill revealed using new aquaria techniques and mixed optical microscopy and optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging techniques

Martin Cox, So Kawaguchi, Robert King, Kishan Dholakia, and Christian T. A. Brown

Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology, DOI: 10.1080/10236244.2015.1073455 (2015)

doi: 10.1080/10236244.2015.1073455

The accurate observation of physiological changes on in vivo samples of important animal species such as Euphausia superba (Antarctic krill) is an important goal in helping to understand how environmental changes can affect animal development. Using a custom made ‘krill trap’, live un-anaesthetized krill were confined for seven hours, during which three hours of optical imaging were obtained and no subsequent ill effects observed. The trap enabled two imaging methods to be employed: optical coherence tomography (OCT) and microscopy. OCT enabled internal structure and tissues to be imaged to a depth of approximately 2 mm and resolution of approximately 12 μm. Microscopy was used to observe heart rate. During our experiments, we imaged a range of internal structures in live animals including the heart and gastric areas. The trap design enables a new generation of mixed modality imaging of these animals in vivo. These techniques will enable detailed studies of the internal physiology of live krill to be undertaken under a wide range of environmental conditions and have the potential to highlight important variations in behaviour and animal development.