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Automated, high-throughput measurement of size and growth curves of small organisms in well plates

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JournalScientific Reports
DateAccepted/In press - 20 Nov 2018
DatePublished (current) - 9 Jan 2019
Issue number1
Volume9
Number of pages8
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Organism size and growth curves are important biological characteristics. Current methods to measure organism size, and in particular growth curves, are often resource intensive because they involve many manual steps. Here we demonstrate a method for automated, high-throughput measurements of size and growth in individual aquatic invertebrates kept in microtiter well-plates. We use a spheroid counter (Cell 3iMager, cc-5000) to automatically measure size of seven different freshwater invertebrate species. Further, we generated calibration curves (linear regressions, all p < 0.0001, r 2 >=0.9 for Ceriodaphnoa dubia, Asellus aquaticus, Daphnia magna, Daphnia pulex; r 2 >=0.8 for Hyalella azteca, Chironomus spec. larvae and Culex spec. larvae) to convert size measured on the spheroid counter to traditional, microscope based, length measurements, which follow the longest orientation of the body. Finally, we demonstrate semi-automated measurement of growth curves of individual daphnids (C. dubia and D. magna) over time and find that the quality of individual growth curves varies, partly due to methodological reasons. Nevertheless, this novel method could be adopted to other species and represents a step change in experimental throughput for measuring organisms’ shape, size and growth curves. It is also a significant qualitative improvement by enabling high-throughput assessment of inter-individual variation of growth.

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© The Author(s) 2019

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