27 July 2016

Nominations for 2017 Gherardi Prize

It is once again time to work on applications for the Francesca Gherardi Memorial Prize! You are eligible if:

  • You study aquatic invasive species;
  • You’re young (less than 40);
  • Don’t have a permanent position (a grad student or post-doc, usually)

Applications are due 30 November 2016.
External links

Francesca Gherardi Memorial Prize

26 July 2016

Incoming: Biology and Ecology of Crayfish

A new crayfish book is out! Biology and Ecology of Crayfish has ten chapters of freshwater crustacean goodness. Marmorkrebs make a few cameo appearances in chapters marked with an asterisk.

  1. Taxonomy and identification. 
  2. Population genetics of crayfish: endangered and invasive species. *
  3. Crayfish growth and reproduction. *
  4. Behavior of freshwater crayfish. 
  5. Chemical ecology of crayfish. 
  6. Parasites, commensals, pathogens and diseases of crayfish. *
  7. Environmental drivers for population success: population biology, population and community dynamics. *
  8. Sampling techniques for crayfish. 
  9. Laboratory methods for crayfish studies. 
  10. The management of invasive crayfish. *

External links

Biology and Ecology of Crayfish (Publisher website)

19 July 2016

Jackson, 2016

Jackson CJ. 2016. Characterization of locomotor response to psychostimulants in the parthenogenetic marbled crayfish (Procambarus fallax forma virginalis): a promising model for studying the epigenetics of addiction. Master’s thesis, Department of Biology, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/!etd.send_file?accession=bgsu1467967151&disposition=inline


Chapter I: Epigenetic regulation has been implicated as an important factor in understanding the molecular mechanisms of drug addiction. This is due to the life -long behavioral changes that commonly afflict addicted individuals long after drug exposure has been extinguished. Invertebrates, such as crayfish, offer excellent model systems to study these molecular mechanisms because they retain the ancestral neural reward circuit that is evolutionarily conserved across taxa, possess relatively few, large neurons, and have an accessible, modularly organized nervous system. The marbled crayfish (Procambarus fallax forma virginalis), in particular, has potential as a model for epigenetic studies because it is parthenogenetic, and thus all individuals are genetic clones. To provide the foundation of this model system for parsing the epigenetic mechanisms of drug addiction, here I characterize the locomotor response of juvenile P. f. f . virginalis exposed to the psychostimulant, d-amphetamine sulfate. Custom video-tracking software was used to record the movement patterns of juveniles exposed to water infused with varying concentrations of d-amphetamine sulfate. ANOVA demonstrated that crayfish locomotion was significantly impacted by drug concentration. These psychostimulant effects, along with the non-invasive mode of drug delivery, which avoids potential epigenetic changes resulting from the stress of direct injection into the hemolymph, set the stage for using P. f. f . virginalis as an animal model for epigenetic studies.

Chapter II: With the rising interest in using invertebrate models for behavioral epigenetic studies, and the tissue- specific nature of epigenetic changes, there is a need for effective methods of extracting genomic DNA from neural tissue. Invertebrates, such as crayfish, represent useful models in which to parse out the basic underlying epigenetic changes because of the relatively simplified anatomical structure of their nervous system. The parthenogenetic marbled crayfish (Procambarus fallax forma virginalis) offers a particularly elegant system because it reproduces asexually and produces large numbers of genetically identical offspring. However, the low DNA yield of fatty neural tissue combined with small sample size represent technical challenges in using invertebrate brains. The present study seeks to support the use of the marbled crayfish as a model for studying the mechanisms of behavioral epigenetics by providing an optimized method for genomic DNA extraction from invertebrate neural tissue.

Keywords: None provided.