Ian Lawn is interested in the origin of behaviors. He studies an anemone, Stomphia, to try to understand how an animal with a simple body plan and nervous system is capable of complex behavior. Underwater we see Stomphia free itself from a rock and swim away to escape from a predatory sea star. In the lab Lawn conducts experiments to record the nerve activity of feeding and escape behavior. His recordings reveal that the same nerves are firing more rapidly when the animal detachers from the rock and swims than when the animal feeds.
Ian Lawn, Neurobiologist: Anemone Nervous System
Next Generation Science Standards for this Video
The cnidarian body plan constrains most anemones’ ability to move away from predators. But there is one species that can break free and swim. The only way it can swim is by contracting its entire body back and forth.