Analysis of factors affecting phlorotannin synthesis and fate in marine brown algae.
In this project, we are examining the rates of phlorotannin synthesis, turnover and exudation, as well as variations in phlorotannin concentration and molecular size profiles by monitoring algal assimilation of a stable isotope substrate and the subsequent incorporation of the label into phlorotannins. Changes in labeled phlorotannin concentrations in response to manipulations of nutrients, light, and herbivore grazing intensity are also being monitored.
Analysis of factors mediating assimilation of phlorotannin-rich food by temperate and tropical marine herbivores.
In an effort to better understand the mechanisms that affect the putative defensive properties of marine phlorotannins, we are studying (in vivo) the interaction of herbivore gut parameters (such as pH and redox state) and plant phlorotannin characteristics (such as size and type) on polyphenolic complexation in marine herbivores. In particular, we are examining the effects of different gut conditions on herbivore assimilation efficiencies.
Identification of chemoattractants in horseshoe crabs and production of an artificial bait.
Our aim in this project is to develop an economical artificial bait that could be used as a substitute for adult female horseshoe crabs in the American eel and whelk fisheries. We are examining the components of the female horseshoe crab that evoke the feeding stimulant response, seeking to isolate and identify the active components. (See the related projects section below for additional information.)
Determination of chemical signals influencing marine crab settlement and metamorphosis.
We are using the mud crab, Panopeus herbstii, as a model system in which to study the influence of biofilms and their associated chemical cues on settlement and metamorphosis of decapod crustaceans.