3D Investigation of Anuran Heart Development


Nina Kraus

MSc Student (Adv:Brian Metscher)

Unit for Theoretical Biology, Department of Evolutionary Biology,
University of Vienna

The morphology of the anuran conus arteriosus is widely discussed as playing a key role in keeping the different streams of blood separated within the heart. However, reviewing previous findings revealed important contradictions regarding its internal structure, depending on the specifics of the 2D imaging methods used by different authors.

To resolve this problem, I am using high-resolution X-ray microCT imaging of whole Bufo bufo specimens to acquire detailed 3D descriptions of this complex structure. In contrast to previous studies, I am including not only adult specimens, but also stages throughout metamorphosis. Because tadpoles simultaneously use different modes of respiration during their aquatic-to-terrestrial development, they offer the unique potential to gain a clearer understanding of conus function, based on its internal structural organization at progressive stages of respiratory development.