Biology Seminar on February 20, 2017

The Department of Biology and Allied Health Sciences sponsored a Biology seminar entitled, ”Nature vs Nurture, and Life at the Extreme: How Do African Cichlid Populations Respond to Hypoxia?”  given by Erika Crispo, Ph.D. assistant professor of Biology from Pace University.

Here are some of the points presented as reported by Biology student, Jillian Salvodon.

  • Nature was defined in this seminar as the heredity that is inherited throughout generations.
  • Nurture was defined in this seminar as the phenotypic plasticity, meaning the genes expressed through environmental impacts.
  • The environmental impact that was studied was hypoxia, the levels of oxygen or lack there-of in an ecosystem of cichlids.
  • The level of hypoxia in the water is regulated by oxygen and nitrogen gas; oxygen to bring the levels up and nitrogen to bring the levels down.
  • The level of oxygen in the cichlids was measured by taking readings of cytosine methylation.
  • Since the cichlids cannot take oxygen by breathing air like most fish, they can only obtain oxygen through water.
  • Multiple broods were made from fish collected from a river in Uganda, in varying locations; one brood consisted of fish collected from an area with hypoxia, and the other consisted of fish collected from an area with normixia.
  • Each of the broods were split up and one-half of the brood was exposed to hypoxic conditions, and the other half was exposed to normoxic conditions.
  • After one year of these conditions, the gills, muscle tissue and brain were observed. This showed that as the oxygen levels were decreased, their gill size increased.



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