The projects have been carefully chosen to fulfill a number of important criteria essential to the success of our CREST Center and were designed to bring together an impressive array of disciplines, organizational subtypes, and approaches. We have selected four main research areas that focus on a particular ecosystem type: 1) Marine Systems, 2) Estuary Systems, 3) River Systems, and 4) Terrestrial Systems. Examples include 1) the development of bioprobes to monitor levels of contaminants in sediments, water and animal tissue samples from San Juan estuaries, 2) the application of the most exciting and current concepts, such as the role of RNA editing in neural adaptation to environmental stress, 3) the incorporation of powerful models such as the zebrafish to understand mechanisms of response to environmental stress, and 4) the application of the latest techniques in bioimaging, such as TIRF microscopy, to study coral-algae associations in a way not before done. Never before has a team of this sort been brought to bear on the problems caused by environmental stress.

Current projects by system

  1. Marine systems: A mechanistic understanding of calcification in Puerto Rican coral reefs.
  2. Estuary systems: Consequences of estuary contamination on crab heart and neurosecretory systems.
  3. River systems: Impact of anthropogenic changes in Puerto Rico urban rivers on behavior and underlying neural circuitry of fish and crustacean species.
  4. Terrestrial systems: Physiological and molecular consequences of environmental change on the nervous system of wild Drosophila melanogaster.