Karen Hissmann

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The coelacanth, Latimeria chalumnae, occurs at the Eastern coast of Africa from South Africa up to Kenya. It is often referred to as a living fossil mainly because of its nearly unchanged morphology since the Middle Devonian. As it is a close relative to the last common ancestor of fish and tetrapods, molecular studies mostly focussed on their phylogenetic(More)
Methane hydrate is an icelike substance that is stable at high pressure and low temperature in continental margin sediments. Since the discovery of a large number of gas flares at the landward termination of the gas hydrate stability zone off Svalbard, there has been concern that warming bottom waters have started to dissociate large amounts of gas hydrate(More)
We report first observations on social behavior ofLatimeria chalumnae in its natural environment at around 200 m depth in the Comoro Archipelago, Western Indian Ocean. Coelacanths aggregate in small nonaggressive groups in sheltered lava-caves. They live in open site-attached social systems with individuals occupying large overlapping home ranges of more(More)
In 1987 and 1989 coelacanths were observed for the first time in their natural habitat with the help of submersibles. Coelacanths were found between 150–253 m depth, their preferential depth seems to be around 200 m; the water temperature ranged between 16.5–22.8° C. During the day coelacanths aggregate in small non-aggressive groups in sheltered(More)
Coelacanths were discovered in the Comoros archipelago to the northwest of Madagascar in 1952. Since then, these rare, ancient fish have been found to the south off Mozambique, Madagascar and South Africa, and to the north off Kenya and Tanzania -- but it was unclear whether these are separate populations or even subspecies. Here we show that the genetic(More)
Latimeria chalumnae, a 'living fossil,' is of great scientific interest, as it is closely related to the aquatic ancestors of land-living tetrapods. Latimeria show internal fertilization and bear live young, but their reproductive behaviour is poorly known. Here we present for the first time a paternity analysis of the only available material from gravid(More)
Locomotion and fin coordination of the only living crossopterygian fish Latimeria chalumnae were studied with submersibles in the fish's natural habitat at around 200 m depth off Grand Comoro, western Indian Ocean. Latimeria is a highly specialized predatory fish adapted for nocturnal drift hunting with good fast start capability. Twelve different forward(More)
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