The National Science Foundation awarded Dr. Matthew Jenny, assistant professor of biological sciences at UA, a research grant for the project focusing on sea anemones, small animals related to the corals that build ocean reefs.
Jenny, working in collaboration with researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, will collect and preserve anemones pulled from coastal waters from Alabama to Louisiana.
“We will also bring back live specimens and maintain them in clean seawater to allow them to recover from the oil exposure,” Jenny said.
During the anemones’ recovery, the researchers will compare the live specimens to those preserved at the time of collection to see how the two groups’ functions and vital processes differ, as well as how they differ molecularly.
Jenny and his primary collaborator, Dr. Ann Tarrant, at Woods Hole, proposed using a specific kind of anemone, known by scientists as Nematostella vectensis, in part because its entire genome, or its total genetic content, has been sequenced.
This helps make it a useful model from which to learn and draw conclusions applicable to other organisms.
Following the late April explosion on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, millions of gallons of oil have poured into Gulf waters.
As microbes worked to naturally break down both the oil and the chemical dispersant added during containment efforts, this likely lowered the oxygen levels in Gulf waters, researchers say, further stressing sea life.
The UA project seeks to measure the extent of impact of the combined stressors of oil exposure and low oxygen, as well.
Using molecular techniques, Jenny and his collaborators will determine which genes in the anemones collected from oil-exposed sites have been affected and how this impacts various functions, including the animal’s ability to store energy and reproduce.
These results will be compared to complementary laboratory experiments where the one-inch-long anemones have been fed Artemia larvae contaminated with oil and dispersant. These larvae are microscopic, shrimp-like animals, raised in the laboratory within various concentrations of oil with or without dispersant.
These laboratory studies will assist researchers in determining if dispersant enhances the exposure to oil within food webs.
“The results of these experiments will provide insight into the different molecular and cellular processes that are used to protect the organism from combinations of stressors that are associated with the oil spill and exposure to oil or dispersed oil,” the researchers wrote in their grant application’s project summary.
The grant’s approximate $110,000 in funding is one of the NSF’s Rapid Response Research Grants which fund quick-response research on natural disasters or similar unanticipated events.
Results from this project, in combination with various other research efforts, are expected to assist scientists in predicting the long-term impact of the oil spill, and future disasters, on organisms and their environments.
Portions of the grant will also fund the training of two UA doctoral students in various scientific techniques used during the project.CONTACT: Chris Bryant, UA Media Relations, 205/348-8323, firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Bryant | Newswise Science News
Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München
Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
17.10.2017 | Life Sciences
17.10.2017 | Life Sciences
17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences