Terrestrial Systems

Terrestrial systems: Physiological and molecular consequences of environmental change on the nervous system of wild Drosophila melanogaster.

This project will bring together three researchers and their students. It will focus on the Drosophila species, which is a widely used model organism, best known for the incredible power of genetic manipulation possible. The vast majority of studies with this fly have been in a purely laboratory setting, ignoring the possibilities for combined fieldwork and laboratory investigation as planned here. Drosophila genetics, synaptic homeostasis, RNA editing, local entomology and the terrestrial ecology of Puerto Rico will all come together in this project assessing the consequences of environmental change on neuronal plasticity in wild populations. This project has three objectives designed to address the effects of environmental change on this terrestrial organism. We will: 1) test the hypothesis that different local Drosophila melanogaster populations are exposed to drastically different environmental stressors within the island of Puerto Rico; 2) test the hypothesis that synaptic growth and synaptic homeostasis are affected by environmental stressors encountered in different habitats; finally, we will test the hypothesis that RNA editing is affected by environmental stressors encountered in different habitats.


Researchers: Bruno Marie (Project leader), Joshua Rosenthal, Alonso Ramirez