2017 Participants
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NAME:  Lauren Reasor

Manganese Neurotoxicity in Crayfish

The purpose of this Project is to investigate the effects of aquatic manganese exposure on the behavior and nervous system of Procambarus clarkii, the red swamp crayfish. This is an expansion on an ongoing project that investigates effects of manganese exposure on the development and behavior of juvenile crayfish. Post-embryonic crayfish have been exposed to environmentally relevant concentrations of manganese for either two days or two weeks, after which their behavior was tested immediately as well as six months following treatment. Nerve cord, hepatopancreas, muscle, and gill tissue from these crayfish has been stored from these experiments. This project will involve immunohistochemistry on these nerve cords and histology of remaining tissues, as well as the in-depth analysis of data retrieved from the behavioral tests. Analysis of these tissues may increase understanding of the mechanisms by which manganese induces neurotoxicity and behavioral changes. Investigation of behavioral changes induced by manganese exposure, over long periods of time, may also enhance understanding of the nature and extent of manganese toxicity.

            Crayfish are a keystone species, so even subtle changes in their behavior or survivability may pose a threat to their entire ecosystem. Also, as their nervous system and behavior have been extensively studied, they serve as a good model for understanding the effects of manganese neurotoxicity. Their response to manganese exposure may give insight into how such toxicity might affect humans. A better understanding of the adverse effects that are caused by the bioaccumulation of toxic levels of manganese is important to the preservation of freshwater ecosystems and to the health of those who consume contaminated water.