Meeting Abstract

P3.178  Friday, Jan. 6  The Vertebral Column of Sharks: Functional Morphology of the Intervertebral Joint PORTER, ME; GROTMOL, S; KRYVI, H; TOTLAND, GK; LONG, JH*; Vassar College; University of Bergen; University of Bergen; University of Bergen; Vassar College

The primary task of the vertebral column of fish – being conspicuous as a repeating pattern of vertebral bodies alternating with intervertebral joints – is as a stiffening element that supports axial oscillations of the trunk and tail during swimming. Here we describe the anatomy of the intervertebral joint of the spiny dogfish Squalus acanthias . Most structures that comprise the joint are derived from the notochord. These include a prominent intervertebral ligament made up of separate layers of lamellar elastin and type II collagen. Within the lumen of the joint there are vacuolated cells and a central fluid-filled canal that runs through the core of vertebral body, thus forming anastomoses between adjacent joints. How these morphologies may correlate with mechanical properties such as storage of elastic energy, dampening of oscillations, and stiffness of the bending joints, will be discussed. This work was funded, in part, by the National Science Foundation (IOS-0922605).