|Enlarge ImageSampling copepods aboard the NOAA ship Oscar Dyson (Sept 2015)
|Enlarge ImageNematostella (sea anemones) ready to be deployed in a field study. (October 2015)
|Enlarge ImageLab summer 2014. Left to right: Ali Thabet, Amalia Almada, Ann Tarrant, Maja Edenius, and Amy Maas posing as their preferred model organisms. Not pictured: Ian Jones (photo Maggie Dwyer)
We use molecular tools to better understand how animals detect and respond to signals and stresses in the marine environment environment. Our approach is highly comparative.
New!! We have a new paper in which we characterized the transcriptional response of the copepod Eurytemora affinis to colonizing Vibrio bacteria. Microbiologists may think of copepods as "particles" for bacteria to colonize, but we like to think of the relationship as more of a conversation between the host and its microbiome.
Almada AA*, Tarrant AM. Vibrio colonists elicit targeted transcriptional responses from copepod hosts. In Press: FEMS Microbiology Ecology. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/femsec/fiw072
A pdf of the accepted manuscript is available on the publishers website.
Two areas of current research are listed below. Additional information is provided through the links on the left.
Cnidarian Regulatory Biology and Stress Responses
We study many aspects of bioregulation in corals and sea anemones. The starlet sea anemone, Nematostella vectensis is native to salt marshes along the Atlantic coast of the US. Nematostella is remarkably tolerant of large ranges of temperature and salinity as well as extended periods of starvation. Reef-building corals are relatives of the sea anemones and are impacted by diverse stressors ranging from climate change to local changes in water quality. It is not clear how these distinct stressors may interact to disrupt natural signaling pathways.
We know relatively little about how cnidarians perceive and respond to natural signals in their environment. Some areas of active research include circadian rhythms, the regulation of energetic metabolism, and effects of organic pollutants on cnidarian physiology.
Regulation of Calanoid Copepod Diapause
We are interested in the physiological signals that trigger the initiation, maintenance and termination of diapause in the calanoid copepod Calanus finmarchicus.
We have conducted Illumina-based sequencing and qPCR expression profiling to characterize changes in gene expression as animals progress toward the terminal molt (cultured animals) or prepare for diapause (most field animals).