River systems: Impact of anthropogenic changes in Puerto Rico urban rivers on behavior and underlying neural circuitry of fish and crustacean species.
This project will compare the effects of urbanization on Puerto Rican rivers and its aquatic fauna. To do this, we will first analyze three representative rivers in which we will identify and quantify extraneous chemicals. Four animal models, zebrafish, mosquitofish, and two types of prawn, will be exposed to pollutants found in the three rivers followed by monitoring of their fast-start escape response and associated behaviors and assessment of the integrity of the underlying neural networks. Thus, this project will accomplish three objectives: 1) assess the levels of heavy metals and storm sewer runoff contaminants on acutely and chronically contaminated urban rivers in comparison with those of undeveloped areas; 2) monitor the effect of heavy metals and storm sewer runoff contaminants on the fast-start escape response and associated interactive behaviors in fish and freshwater prawn; and finally 3) we will determine the effect of heavy metals and storm sewer runoff contaminants on survival and integrity of the neural networks involved in the fast-start escape response and associated interactive behaviors in fish and freshwater prawn.
Researchers: Maria Sosa (Project leader), Martine Behra, Eduardo Rosa Molinar, Alonso Ramirez