Tidal and diel orchestration of behaviour and gene expression in an intertidal mollusc

Y. Schnytzer, N. Simon-Blecher, J. Li, H. Waldman Ben-Asher, M. Salmon-Divon, Y. Achituv, M. E. Hughes, O. Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Intertidal inhabitants are exposed to the 24-hour solar day, and the 12.4 hour rising and falling of the tides. One or both of these cycles govern intertidal organisms' behaviour and physiology, yet little is known about the molecular clockworks of tidal rhythmicity. Here, we show that the limpet Cellana rota exhibits robust tidally rhythmic behaviour and gene expression. We assembled a de-novo transcriptome, identifying novel tidal, along with known circadian clock genes. Surprisingly, most of the putative circadian clock genes, lack a typical rhythmicity. We identified numerous tidally rhythmic genes and pathways commonly associated with the circadian clock. We show that not only is the behaviour of an intertidal organism in tune with the tides, but so too are many of its genes and pathways. These findings highlight the plasticity of biological timekeeping in nature, strengthening the growing notion that the role of 'canonical' circadian clock genes may be more fluid than previously thought, as exhibited in an organism which has evolved in an environment where tidal oscillations are the dominant driving force.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4917
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 20 Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Author(s).


We thank the staff at the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat for their hospitality and assistance with the fieldwork. A special thanks to Yoav Gothilf, Yaeli Rosenberg, Noam Josef, Sarit Lampert-Karako, and Mor Samuelson for their invaluable help all along the course of the study. We are grateful to Adi Schnytzer and Jennifer Benichou Israel Cohen for their help with the statistical analysis. Thanks to Erez Levanon for use of Qiagen Ingenuity software, funded by the I-CORE Program of the Planning and Budgeting Committee in Israel (grant 41/11). We thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and in helping to improve the manuscript. This research is part of the PhD thesis requirements for Yisrael Schnytzer conducted under the supervision of Yair Achituv and Oren Levy at The Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences, Bar Ilan University, Israel.

FundersFunder number
Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education of Israel41/11


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