Biological Bulletin (BIOL BULL-US)

Publisher: Marine Biological Laboratory (Woods Hole, Mass.), Marine Biological Laboratory

Journal description

The Biological Bulletin publishes outstanding experimental research on the full range of biological topics and organisms, from the fields of Neurobiology, Behavior, Physiology, Ecology, Evolution, Development and Reproduction, Cell Biology, Biomechanics, Symbiosis, and Systematics. Published since 1897 by the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, The Biological Bulletin is one of America's oldest, peer-reviewed scientific journals. The journal is aimed at a general readership, and especially invites articles about those novel phenomena and contexts characteristic of intersecting fields.

Current impact factor: 1.57

Impact Factor Rankings

2015 Impact Factor Available summer 2015
2013 / 2014 Impact Factor 1.567
2012 Impact Factor 1.234
2011 Impact Factor 1.698
2010 Impact Factor 2.475
2009 Impact Factor 1.942
2008 Impact Factor 1.949
2007 Impact Factor 1.71
2006 Impact Factor 1.649
2005 Impact Factor 1.321
2004 Impact Factor 0.995
2003 Impact Factor 1.15
2002 Impact Factor 1.243
2001 Impact Factor 1.071
2000 Impact Factor 0.895
1999 Impact Factor 0.925
1998 Impact Factor 0.766
1997 Impact Factor 0.945

Impact factor over time

Impact factor

Additional details

5-year impact 2.20
Cited half-life 0.00
Immediacy index 0.34
Eigenfactor 0.00
Article influence 0.77
Website The Biological Bulletin website
Other titles The Biological bulletin
ISSN 0006-3185
OCLC 1536426
Material type Periodical, Internet resource
Document type Journal / Magazine / Newspaper, Internet Resource

Publisher details

Marine Biological Laboratory

  • Pre-print
    • Archiving status unclear
  • Post-print
    • Archiving status unclear
  • Conditions
    • NIH authors may post final revised version of their manuscript in PubMed Central after publication
    • Published source must be acknowledged
    • Must link to publisher version
  • Classification
    ​ white

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Several carapid fishes, known as pearlfishes, are endosymbiotic in holothuroids and asteroids. These echinoderms contain a strong concentration of saponins that are efficient membranolytic repellents to predators. We compared the effects of exposure to saponins from the sea cucumber body wall and from the Cuvierian tubules on the behavior and gill ultrastructure of pearlfishes and free-living fishes. Saponins were extracted from the body wall of two holothuroids, the Mediterranean Holothuria forskali and the tropical Bohadschia atra, and from the water surrounding the Cuvierian tubules of B. atra. Five species of carapids that live in symbiosis with holothuroids and seven species of free-living fishes were exposed to these extracts. The free-living fishes exhibited a stress response and died about 45 times faster than pearlfishes when exposed to the same quantity of saponins. Cuvierian tubules and saponins extracted from the body wall were lethal to the free-living fishes, whereas the carapids were much less sensitive. The carapids did not exhibit a stress response. The high toxicity shown by Cuvierian tubules was not explained by the nature of the saponins that were identified by mass spectrometry, but it is likely due to the higher concentration of saponins in the tubules. Histology and scanning and transmission electron microscopy of the gills of the free-living fishes and pearlfishes showed that saponins act at the level of the secondary lamellae where they induce the detachment of the epithelia, create edema at the level of the epithelia, and induce pores in the epithelial cells that lead to their destruction and the invasion of inner cells (pillar cells and red blood cells). This sequence of events happens 5 min after saponin exposure in free-living fishes and after 1 h in carapids.
    Biological Bulletin 06/2015; 228(3):253-265.
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    ABSTRACT: Calcium plays a role in long-term plasticity by triggering postsynaptic signaling pathways for both the strengthening (LTP) and weakening (LTD) of synapses. Since these are opposing processes, several hypotheses have been developed to explain how calcium can trigger LTP in some situations and LTD in others. These hypotheses fall broadly into three categories, based on the amplitude of calcium concentration, the duration of the calcium elevation, and the location of the calcium influx. Here we review the experimental evidence for and against each of these hypotheses and the recent computational models utilizing each. We argue that with new experimental techniques for the precise visualization of calcium and new computational techniques for the modeling of calcium diffusion, it is time to take a new look at the location hypothesis. © 2015 Marine Biological Laboratory.
    Biological Bulletin 02/2015; 228(1):75-83.
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    ABSTRACT: Making inferences about the evolution of larval nutritional mode and feeding mechanisms in annelids requires data on the form and function of the larvae, but such data are lacking for many taxa. Though some capitellid annelids are known or suspected to have planktotrophic larvae, these larvae have not previously been described in sufficient detail to understand how they feed. Here we describe embryos and larvae of the capitellid Notomastus cf. tenuis from San Juan Island, Washington State. Fertilized oocytes average about 58 μm in equivalent spherical diameter. Early embryos undergo spiral cleavage and develop into larvae that feed for about 5 weeks before metamorphosis. Larvae of N. cf. tenuis capture food particles between prototrochal and metatrochal ciliary bands and transport them to the mouth in an intermediate food groove; this arrangement is typical of "opposed band" larval feeding systems. Surprisingly, however, larvae of N. cf. tenuis appeared to have only simple cilia in the prototrochal ciliary band; among planktotrophic larvae of annelids, simple cilia in the prototroch were previously known only from members of Oweniidae. The anteriormost tier of prototrochal cilia in N. cf. tenuis appears to be non-motile; its role in swimming or particle capture is unclear. Like some planktotrophic larvae in the closely related Echiuridae and Opheliidae, larvae of N. cf. tenuis can capture relatively large particles (up to at least 45 μm in diameter), suggesting that they may use an alternative particle capture mechanism in addition to opposed bands of cilia. © 2015 Marine Biological Laboratory.
    Biological Bulletin 02/2015; 228(1):25-38.
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    ABSTRACT: The cephalochordate genera Branchiostoma and Asymmetron diverged during the Mesozoic Era. In spite of the long separation of the parental clades, eggs of the Florida amphioxus, B. floridae, when fertilized with sperm of the Bahamas lancelet, A. lucayanum (and vice versa), develop through embryonic and larval stages. The larvae reach the chordate phylotypic stage (i.e., the pharyngula), characterized by a dorsal nerve cord, notochord, perforate pharynx, and segmented trunk musculature. After about 2 weeks of larval development, the hybrids die, as do the A. lucayanum purebreds, although all were eating the same algal diet that sustains B. floridae purebreds through adulthood in the laboratory; it is thus unclear whether death of the hybrids results from incompatible parental genomes or an inadequate diet. The diploid chromosome count in A. lucayanum and B. floridae purebreds is, respectively, 34 and 38, whereas it is 36 in hybrids in either direction. The hybrid larvae exhibit several morphological characters intermediate between those of the parents, including the size of the preoral ciliated pit and the angles of deflection of the gill slits and anus from the ventral midline. Based on the time since the two parent clades diverged (120 or 160 million years, respectively, by nuclear and mitochondrial gene analysis), the cross between Branchiostoma and Asymmetron is the most extreme example of hybridization that has ever been unequivocally demonstrated among multicellular animals. © 2015 Marine Biological Laboratory.
    Biological Bulletin 02/2015; 228(1):13-24.
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    ABSTRACT: Mytilus californianus is a foundation species of rocky shores of western North America. Its dominance depends on rapid growth to large sizes, which confers an advantage in size-dependent species interactions. Initial rates of growth and final (terminal) sizes of the mussels depend on environmental factors. Prior comparisons of growth made over large spatial scales (tens of meters to hundreds of kilometers) indicate that temperature, submergence time, and wave exposure affect growth. However, there are few studies quantifying variation in temperature, wave force, and mussel growth parameters at small scales within local populations-that is, meter-level increments. Such measures are necessary to better understand the consequences of the complex spatial mosaic of physical factors in the intertidal zone. We measured variation in temperature, wave force, size-specific shell growth, and terminal size at 3-4-m intervals along horizontal contours within two mussel beds separated by 15 ds of latitude. Both mussel beds showed the same general trends: growth rates attenuated along gradual clines from low and wave-exposed to high shore and sheltered. For example, young adults from low and wave-exposed microhabitats grew 9- and 6-fold higher than those from high-shore-wave-sheltered points. While higher flow may promote growth by enhancing feeding, it also appears to exert a positive effect by moderating energetically costly temperature stress. Consistent with the growth rate findings, cumulative degree-hours explained 83% and 69% of the variation of terminal sizes in regressions for the two locations. © 2015 Marine Biological Laboratory.
    Biological Bulletin 02/2015; 228(1):39-51.
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    ABSTRACT: Some egg-bearing (ovigerous) American lobsters (Homarus americanus) make seasonal inshore-to-offshore movements, subjecting their eggs to different thermal regimes than those of eggs carried by lobsters that do not make these movements. Our goal was to determine if differences in thermal regimes influence the rate of egg development and the subsequent time of hatch. We subjected ovigerous lobsters to typical inshore or offshore water temperatures from September to August in the laboratory (n = 8 inshore and 8 offshore, each year) and in the field (n = 8 each, inshore and offshore), over 2 successive years. Although the rate of egg development did not differ significantly between treatments in the fall (P ∼ 0.570), eggs exposed to inshore thermal regimes developed faster in the spring (P < 0.001). "Inshore" eggs hatched about 30 days earlier (mean = 26 June) than "offshore" eggs (mean = 27 July), and their time of development from the onset of eyespot to hatch was significantly shorter (inshore = 287 ± 11 days vs. offshore: 311.5 ± 7.5 days, P = 0.034). Associated growing degree-days (GDD) did not differ significantly between inshore and offshore thermal treatments (P = 0.061). However, eggs retained by lobsters exposed to offshore thermal regimes accumulated more GDD in the winter than did eggs carried by inshore lobsters, while eggs exposed to inshore temperatures acquired them more rapidly in the spring. Results suggest that seasonal movements of ovigerous lobsters influence the time and location of hatching, and thus the transport and recruitment of larvae to coastal and offshore locations. © 2015 Marine Biological Laboratory.
    Biological Bulletin 02/2015; 228(1):1-12.
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    ABSTRACT: Asking the right questions about evolution of development, larval morphology, and life history requires knowledge of ancestral state. Two hypotheses dominate current opinion about the ancestral life cycle of bilaterians: the "larva-first" and the "intercalation" hypotheses. Until recently, the larva-first hypothesis was preeminent. This proposes that the original indirect life cycle of bilaterians included a planktotrophic larva followed by a benthic adult. Phylogenetic evidence suggests that a planktotrophic larva is plesiomorphic for echinoderms. A preponderance of developmental studies on echinoderms may have fostered a tendency to extrapolate conclusions about echinoderm development to other clades, particularly the concept that larval and juvenile/adult bodies are mostly separate entities. However, some of the recent reconstructions of bilaterian phylogeny suggest that nonfeeding larvae may have been ancestral for bilaterians, and these may have been intercalated into a life cycle that was originally direct. I review comparative data on molluscan development that suggests the trochophore-like stage is little more than a gastrula with transient structures (prototroch and apical sensory organ) to allow a temporary planktonic phase during development. Most lineage founder cells of molluscan embryos generate progeny that develop through the veliger stage into structures of the juvenile, which becomes benthic when the prototroch and apical sensory organ are lost. In light of this, the model of separate larval and juvenile bodies with the latter developing from nests of multipotent cells within the larva is inappropriate for molluscs. The intercalation hypothesis may be a better model for interpreting development of molluscs and other lophotrochozoans.
    Biological Bulletin 07/2009; 216(3):216-25.
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    ABSTRACT: Despite the large variation in adult bodyplan phenotypes, a worm-shaped morphology is considered plesiomorphic for both Lophotrochozoa and Bilateria. Although almost all larval and adult lophotrochozoan worms have serially arranged ring muscles in their body wall, a comparison of their ontogeny reveals no less than six different developmental pathways that lead to this homogenous arrangement of ring muscles. However, in all taxa, with the exception of chaetodermomorph molluscs and the segmented annelids, ring muscle development starts with synchronous formation of certain pioneer myocytes, which is thus considered basal for Lophotrochozoa. Recent studies on spiralian neurogenesis revealed remnants of ancestral segmentation in echiurans and sipunculans, thus confirming molecular phylogenetic studies that propose a close relationship of these three taxa. Larval entoprocts exhibit a mosaic of larval and adult molluscan characters and, among other apomorphies, share with polyplacophoran Mollusca a complex larval apical organ and a tetraneurous nervous system, strongly suggesting a monophyletic assemblage of Entoprocta and Mollusca. The term Tetraneuralia is proposed herein for this lophotrochozoan clade. Overall, formation of the lophotrochozoan neuromuscular bodyplan appears as a highly dynamic process on both the ontogenetic and the evolutionary timescales, highlighting the importance of insights into these processes for reconstructing ancestral bodyplan features and phylogenetic relationships.
    Biological Bulletin 07/2009; 216(3):293-306.
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    ABSTRACT: We describe development of the hoplonemertean Paranemertes peregrina from fertilization to juvenile, using light, confocal, and electron microscopy. We discovered that the uniformly ciliated lecithotrophic larva of this species has a transitory epidermis, which is gradually replaced by the definitive epidermis during the course of planktonic development. The approximately 90 large multiciliated cleavage-arrested cells of the transitory larval epidermis become separated from each other by intercalating cells of the definitive epidermis, then gradually diminish in size and disappear more or less simultaneously. Rudiments of all major adult structures-the gut, proboscis, cerebral ganglia, lateral nerve cords, and cerebral organs-are already present in 4-day-old larvae. Replacement of the epidermis is the only overt metamorphic transformation of larval tissue; larval structures otherwise prefigure the juvenile body, which is complete in about 10 days at 7-10 degrees C. Our findings on development of digestive system, nervous system, and proboscis differ in several ways from previous descriptions of hoplonemertean development. We report development with transitory epidermis in two other species, review evidence from the literature, and suggest that this developmental type is the rule for hoplonemerteans. The hoplonemertean planuliform larva is fundamentally different both from the pilidium larva of the sister group to the Hoplonemertea, the Pilidiophora, and from the hidden trochophore of palaeonemerteans. We discuss the possible function and homology of the larval epidermis in development of other nemerteans and spiralians in general.
    Biological Bulletin 07/2009; 216(3):273-92.
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    ABSTRACT: When conditions fluctuate unpredictably, selection may favor bet-hedging strategies that vary offspring characteristics to avoid reproductive wipe-outs in bad seasons. For many marine gastropods, the dispersal potential of offspring reflects both maternal effects (egg size, egg mass properties) and larval traits (development rate, habitat choice). I present data for eight sea slugs in the genus Elysia (Opisthobranchia: Sacoglossa), highlighting potentially adaptive variation in traits like offspring size, timing of metamorphosis, hatching behavior, and settlement response. Elysia zuleicae produced both planktotrophic and lecithotrophic larvae, a true case of poecilogony. Both intracapsular and post-hatching metamorphosis occurred among clutches of "Boselia" marcusi, E. cornigera, and E. crispata, a dispersal dimorphism often misinterpreted as poecilogony. Egg masses of E. tuca hatched for up to 16 days but larvae settled only on the adult host alga Halimeda, whereas most larvae of E. papillosa spontaneously metamorphosed 5-7 days after hatching. Investment in extra-capsular yolk may allow mothers to increase larval size relative to egg size and vary offspring size within and among clutches. Flexible strategies of larval dispersal and offspring provisioning in Elysia spp. may represent adaptations to the patchy habitat of these specialized herbivores, highlighting the evolutionary importance of variation in a range of life-history traits.
    Biological Bulletin 07/2009; 216(3):355-72.