Sophie den Hartog MSc

PhD Student

My PhD research aims to elucidate the sensory systems guiding marine invertebrate larval settlement. Specifically, the apical organ which acts as a chemo- and mechano-sensory structure and is thought to play a crucial role in larval settlement and metamorphosis. Thereby also shaping benthic communities. I am particularly interested in Cnidarians (anemones, jellyfish & coral) and Bilaterians (primarily marine worms). As well as showing an incredible diversity in body plan and life-cycle strategies, these sister groups may be key in providing insight into the evolutionary history of the apical organ.

In my free time I enjoy art and design, which influences my research in that I am continuously exploring new ways to visualise and communicate scientific data. For example, as part of my PhD research I am describing the sensory structures in marine larvae through the use of various bioimaging techniques, such as electron microscopy and in situ hybridization.