Our research interests have focused on understanding the underlying physiological processes that contribute to the ecological adaptations of organisms. Our research group has continually strived to approach ecological physiology through the basis of comparative studies. My primary fields of research include crustacean and nemertean reproductive ecophysiology and endocrinology. I have secondary interests in herpetological endocrinology and environmental toxicology.
Our research has detected the presence of heat shock proteins (HSP) in nemerteans from the marine intertidal and in the Utah land sail, Oreohelix wasatchensis andO.strigosa from the nearby Wasatch Mountains. We have determined the lethal temperatures for these animals and the induction ofHsp during thermal stress. In both nemerteans and snails, we have isolated and identified HSP70 and HSP90 through SDS-PAGE and western immunoblots
We have just completed a study on the osmotic induction of stress proteins in nemertean, Paranemertes peregrina. Once again we have detected SP70 and SP90 in both hyperosmotic and hyposmotic treatments.
In the past, our research group has investigated the role of hormones in the reproductive life history stages for crabs, ribbon worms, and the red backed salamanders. We have detected ecdysteroids, the arthropodan molting hormones, during crustacean embryogenesis. We have also detected these hormones in a non-arthropodan phylum, Nemertea (ribbon worms). We have correlated hormonal titers to the reproductive life history stages of the nemerteans. We quantify ecdysteroids through radioimmunoassay (RIA) and separate and quantify these hormones through high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Our research has conclusively identified the presence of the molting hormones in nemerteans through gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (GC-MS) analysis.