Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"Growth rates of Great Lakes larval fish"

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Fall 2011 - DURI
Research area(s):
Project Description:
Small changes in growth during early life of fishes can have huge impacts on survival and future population size. Through this project we will evaluate how physical (temperature, turbidity) and biotic (prey densities) conditions influence growth rates and ultimately survival of young fish in the Great Lakes. Growth rates will be determined by enumerating otolith microstructures and quantifying RNA:DNA ratios of larval fish. Fish deposit daily growth increments onto otoliths and by comparing the number of otolith growth increments with a fish’s size, one can estimate its growth rate. The measurement of nucleic acid ratios is based on the notion that DNA concentrations within individual cells remain fairly constant while RNA concentrations will increase as protein synthesis increases. Thus, a well-fed, active, growing individual should have a relatively high RNA to DNA ratio compared to a starving, inactive individual.
Expected Student Contributions:
The selected student should have strong interest in environmental and ecological research. In addition, the student should be very dependable and able to work effectively both independently and with a team. The student will contribute to various stages of the project including, sample preparation and analysis.
Related Website(s):
Desired Qualifications:
Previous experience in ecology or molecular biology is preferred. Student must have the ability to manage data, work independently, keep detailed lab notebook, and communicate results to project leader.
Estimated Weekly Hours:
Department awards independent research credits for this project?
Yes, 2 credit hours

Professor in Charge

Hook, Tomas
forestry and natural resources

Student Supervisor

Charles Roswell
Research Assistant

Cooperating Faculty

Cary Troy
Civil Engineering