Discipline: Ecology, Environmental & Earth Sciences
Subcategory: STEM Research
- Hampton University
Co-Author(s): Kendra Dorsey and Olivera Stojilovic, Hampton University, Hampton, VA; Richard Brill, NOAA, Silver Spring, MD
The goal of Project OANeuro is to develop neurosensory research capacity at Hampton University to examine how projected changes in environmental conditions over the next century may affect the organism-environment interface in aquatic fauna. The project investigates the effects of ocean acidification on the form and function of the sensory systems of marine fishes from diverse phylogenies, habitats, and ecologies. Behavioral and morphological changes resulting from CO2 exposure are documented in marine fishes. However, the extent to which fish neurosensory function is altered as a consequence remains largely unknown. The unifying synthesis linking environmental conditions to changes in form and sensory function is thus an important research frontier. Project OANeuro provides new infrastructure to develop novel student-oriented inquiry-based research experiences that address high-impact questions while enriching STEM education and career trajectories in a predominantly African American undergraduate population. The project applies electrophysiological and morphological techniques to assay the effects of acute (2 week) and chronic (2 month) aqueous carbon dioxide exposure to concentrations that are representative of projected changes over the next century on: a) the morphological development of visual and auditory sensory structures, b) their electrophysiological performance, and c) the capability of a GABA receptor antagonist to alter potential sensory deficits. Collectively, the proposed interdisciplinary approach will enable novel mechanistic insights, with potential for the undergraduate scholar-researchers significantly impact this rapidly emerging field.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): NSF-HBCU-UP
Faculty Advisor: None Listed,