Aquatic Research Consortium

Project History

Phases 1 and 2

The first two phases of ARC focused on the establishment of genomic and proteomic tools for investigation of stress responses in two small fish models, sheepshead minnows (Cyprinodon variegatus) and Xiphophorus spp.

Phase 3

The third phase of ARC characterized species- and life-stage-specific responses of fish to natural and anthropogenic stressors at the molecular, physiological, and organismal levels. This information is integrated with results from the previous two ARC phases (including reproductive and immunological data) to estimate possible effects at population levels of exposure to common environmental stressors. ARC researchers developed a comprehensive medaka microarray, consisting of about 8,000 genes, for use in analyzing global genomic responses to hypoxia and environmental contaminants during this phase. Proteomic technologies have been developed in the genetically well-characterized Xiphophorus fish model for comparison with similarly exposed medaka.

Phase 4

The current and fourth phase of ARC characterizes genomic, proteomic and organismal responses in early life stages of sheepshead minnow and medaka to the effects of hypoxia, pyrene (a common PAH contaminant) and cadmium.  We are examining both the effects of hypoxia as a result of continuous exposure as well as effects resulting from exposure that varies over the day and night cycle. Additionally, we are examining the synergistic effects of combined hypoxia/pyrene and hypoxia/cadmium exposures. Assessments will include hypoxia- pyrene- and cadmium-induced changes in physiology, morphology and gene/protein expression in embryos and larvae.

Development of genomic (embryo, larval, adult tisues--liver, gonad, kidney, spleen, brain) and toxicant (cadmium, copper, chromium, pyrene, chronic hypoxia, cyclic hypoxia) cDNA libraries for sheepshead minnow to assist in monitoring global gene expression is an important focus of this phase of the ARC project.  These libraries will be used to develop, characterize and validate a comprehensive 5000? gene sheepshead minnow microarray.  Finally, embryonic and larval sheepshead minnow will be exposed to a variety of PAH, heavy metal or hypoxic conditions and their gene expression measured using the newly developed sheepshead minnow microarray.