Constance Coubris Ph.D student


2020-present: Ph.D. position on “Dietary acquisition of bioluminescence in the brittle star, Amphiura filiformis” (FRIA grant FRS-FNRS)
2016-2018: Master in “Marine Biology and Ecology” (Université de Bordeaux)
2015-2016: First year in Master of “Biology and Terrestrial Ecology “(Erasmus+, Göteborgs Universitet, Sweden)
2012-2015: Bachelor in “Biology and Ecology” (Université de Bordeaux)

Trophic acquisition of bioluminescence in Amphiura filiformis

Bioluminescence is the capability of living organisms to emit visible light by the oxidation of luciferin, catalyzed by an enzyme called luciferase. This chemical reaction is observed in the infaunal brittle star Amphiura filiformis, which has bright blue light spots arranged along its arms. The light production on their arm is a strategy to divert predators during an attack. When this brittle star was maintained in captivity a loss of its bioluminescence capabilities is noticed due to a decrease of coelenterazine, the luciferin involved in the bioluminescent reaction. The hypothesis that could explain this phenomenon is the need of a continuous trophic acquisition of coelenterazine. To confirm this assumption, the brittle star’s food was supplemented with coelenterazine and bioluminescent capabilities were restored quickly.

My Ph.D. work aims to understand the coelenterazine acquisition mechanism through the A. filiformis diet. This research will also highlight the transport and storage of this luciferin, which for now remain unknown.

Selected Publications

Mallefet J., Duchatelet L., Coubris C. 2020. Bioluminescence induction in the ophiuroid Amphiura filiformis (Echinodermata). Journal of Experimental Biology. 10.1242/jeb.218719.

Amphiura filiformis (© J. Mallefet)

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