Dr. Gail Schwieterman, University of Maine School of Marine Sciences:
“Dueling Stressors: Mimicking the natural environment in lab-based studies”
Coastal and estuarine fishes have the physiological mechanisms necessary to thrive in highly variable habitats, witnessing large changes in dissolved oxygen, pH, and temperature on both daily and seasonal time scales. Understanding how these stressors limit each other at different levels of biological organization can help shed light on the physiological processes that are impacted by acute environmental stress. Here, I share several examples of various methods I’ve used to assess these interactions with an eye towards future research directions. I will especially focus on work done at the organismal and organ levels, presenting results from both multi- stressor respirometry studies that examine the impacts of rising temperature, hypoxia, and reductions in pH, and experiments on cardiac function which manipulate multiple stressors in concert. Examining the impact of simulated reductions in pH on the metabolism of coastal elasmobranch fishes revealed highly species-specific responses. When multiple stressors were applied in combination, we found instances of antagonistic, masking, and additive responses depending on the species in question. At the cardiac level, we used ecologically relevant levels of physiological stressors (e.g., acidosis, hypoxia, temperature) to examine their individual and combined impacts on contractility and upper thermal limits. We again found species-specific results that underpin the necessity for studies on a diverse suite of organisms.
Dr. Gail Schwieterman received her undergraduate degree from Oberlin College, and her Ph.D. from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, William & Mary. She then completed postdoctoral fellowships at University of California, Santa Barbara and Carleton College before joining the School of Marine Sciences at UMaine this January. She enjoys reading fantasy books and hanging out with her dog, Luna.
hosted by Danielle Levesque