The effect of temperature on the locomotion of Caenorhabditis elegans


  • Jared Martin
  • Yaeko Oka
  • Parvin Pabla
  • Osama Qubain


Many biological processes such as homeostasis and thermotaxis allow animals to thermoregulate, to stay within temperatures in which they can survive and reproduce. Although thermotaxis is an important principle for thermoregulation and animal survival, it is not known whether this principle also applies to higher-level biological processes such as animal behavior within a fixed incubation temperature. This investigation looks at mobility behavior of C. elegans, specifically speed of movement, at different incubation temperatures comparing the wild type and unc-2 mutants. Twenty-four samples of C. elegans were incubated at three temperatures, 11°C, 15°C, and 20°C, video-taped and had their speed analyzed via the computer program, Wormlab).  There were no significant differences in nematode speed at different incubation temperatures (p-value= 0.43). However, our analysis suggests that the effect of incubation temperature on C. elegans motility differs between the wild type and mutant (p-value= 0.01). This might be due to different behavioral strategies for each genotype across the incubation temperatures tested. We suggest further research for the effects of temperature on locomotion and animal behavior.