Dynamics of gastrovascular circulation in the hydrozoan Podocoryne carnea: The one polyp case.

Time-lapse video microscopy and image analysis algorithms were used to generate high-resolution time series of the length and volume of a single hydrozoan polyp before and after feeding. A polyp of Podocoryne carnea prior to feeding is effectively static in length and volume. At 20{deg}C, feeding elicits 8-millihertz (mHz) oscillations in polyp length and volume. A polyp connected to a colony by a single stolon displayed an abrupt transition from low-amplitude, 8-mHz oscillations to large-amplitude, 6-mHz oscillations at 1.5-2 h after feeding. The transition was preceded by a substantial decrease in polyp volume and increase in length which coincided with the export of food items from the digestive cavity of the polyp into the colonial gastrovascular system. In contrast, 8-mHz oscillations of a polyp isolated from a colony continued for 12.7 h after feeding, at which time particulates from the digestive cavity were exported into the hydrorhiza and a 4-mHz subharmonic became briefly dominant. Regular oscillatory behavior was terminated by regurgitation at comparable intervals post-feeding in coupled and isolated polyps. These observations are compatible with the hypothesis that the presence of nutrients in the digestive cavity induces polyp oscillations and that release of nutrients into the gastrovascular system similarly induces unfed polyps to oscillate, thereby distributing the contents of the fed polyp throughout the colony.