Evolution of Osmoregulation: salinity tolerance in sea lampreys

Project Description : 

The Karlstrom and McCormick Labs investigate how hormones control osmoregulation in fish, and have an NSF-funded project to examine the evolution of hormonal control of salinity tolerance in a basal vertebrate, the sea lamprey. This position is for students ready to pursue a serious honors thesis project, including summer research. The student will work with a graduate student and/or postdoctoral fellow, and research will be performed in the Karlstrom lab in the Biology Department and/or in the McCormick Lab the U.S.G.S. S.O. Conte Anadromous Fish research facility in Turners Falls, MA. Whole animal and tissue culture approaches will be used to 1) document the response of the brain, pituitary and gill (the tissue responsible for salt secretion) to changes during metamorphosis and after seawater exposure, and 2) manipulate hormone levels to examine their control of salt secretory ability and the underlying physiological mechanisms in the gill.

Work will include:
Tissue dissection (good hands needed, think eye surgery as opposed to orthopedics) and tissue sectioning.


Analysis of gene expression by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry.

Metabolic and enzyme assays: measurement of glucose, gluconeogenic enzymes & Na/K-ATPase activity

Measurement of Osmoregulatory parameters (plasma ions and muscle moisture content)

Student Ranks Applicable: 

Hours Per Week: 


Credit Hours: 

Honors Thesis: 

Name of Lab: 

Karlstrom and McCormick Labs

Contact Person: 

Dr. Karlstrom and Dr. McCormick

Contact E-mail: 

karlstrom@bio.umass.edu, mccormick@umext.umass.edu

Lab website: 

https://www.bio.umass.edu/biology/karlstrom, http://www.bio.umass.edu/biology/mccormick/