Discipline: Ecology Environmental and Earth Sciences
Subcategory: Cell and Molecular Biology
Diavion I. Beckford - Howard University
Frequently used chemical pesticides meant to limit the mosquito population have not only proved to damage the environment over-time but also, a decline in its effectiveness as mosquito populations grow more resistant with each generation. These deficiencies have led scientists to research a more natural means of vector control. The Banded Lampeye Killifish, Aplocheilichthys spilauchen feed on insect larvae from the water surface, they are not aggressive when mixed with other species, and they have the ability to produce diapausal embryos. For these reasons, The Banded Lampeye Killifish have become a favorable interest as a candidate for biological vector control. While a number of endogenous factors can affect the life cycle of aquatic animals, equally effective are exogenous factors. The exogenous factor under investigation in this experiment is the hydrogen-ion concentration levels or pH levels, and its effect on embryonic development and hatching of the Banded Lampeye Killifish. Sampling was taken from 15 different water-filled beakers each with a pH level ranging between 5 to 9 containing 8 eggs. The development and hatching were recorded through daily imaging of the embryos and eventually, hatchling, using the Motic Software Microscope. Although it was determined that there were no significant differences among the various pH levels, pH 7, neutral water, had the most optimal hatching success and the longest average length at first hatch. We are seeing poor development in growth for more acidic and alkaline pH levels. This is due to the fact that extreme pH levels cause stress on fish. Acidic waters, specifically, poison fish eggs. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, most fish embryos will not hatch in waters with a pH level of 5 or below. Therefore, if the trend of climate change continues, water pH levels will continue to decrease. This would result in lower hatching success rates as my data presents.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): Funding for this research was provided by the NSF award number 1505150
Faculty Advisor: Sharon Evans, email@example.com
Role: I performed all parts of the research with the assistance of Dr.Paul Mensah at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana.