Heart Rate Sensor for Freshwater Mussels

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Daniel P Vial, Anton Kruger, James J Niemeier, Craig L Just, Houser W Lee and Hunter W Schroer, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, United States
Researchers have long been interested the cardiac activity of mollusks. First, it is important as a basic measure of the animal’s metabolism. Further, activities such as feeding and burrowing affect heart rate, as do environmental factors such as water salinity, water temperature, exposure, and predation. We have developed a small, noninvasive sensor for measuring freshwater mussel heart rate. Its working principle is as follows. An infrared (IR) light-emitting diode is placed in contact with the mussel shell. Some of the IR penetrates through the shell, reflects off internal organs, and traverses back. A photodetector detects this IR, and electronics condition the signal. The heartbeat of the animal modulates the IR, allowing one to measure the heart rate. The technique is widely-used in finger heart-rate monitors in humans. The sensors do not have to be positioned above the heart and several locations on the mussel shell work well. The sensor is small (8 mm × 10 mm) and consumes less than 1 mA, and has a simple one-wire interface that allows for easy integration into data acquisition hardware. We present heart rate measurements for the common pocketbook (lampsilis cardium) freshwater mussel.