Structural and Functional Scaling of the Respiratory System of Flying Beetles

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

Insects are generally considered to be completely aerobic, with only a few documented cases of significant anaerobic metabolism (grasshopper jumping, aquatic chironomid larvae). The selected student for this project, Saman Jirjies, has gathered clear behavioral data that suggests that one of the most commonly used insects, and one of biologys best molecular genetic model species, exhibits a dramatic transition from strong anaerobic metabolic potential as a larvae to a completely aerobic adult. To quantify and compare the anaerobic metabolism of larvae and adults, we will collaborate with Dr. Steven Hand, Louisiana State University, in a calorimetric measurement of metabolic rate in larval and adult Drosophila, first in normoxia and then anoxia. We predict that metabolic rate will fall to near-zero in adults, but remain high for at least 30 min in larvae. Saman will then quantify the likely contributors to anaerobic ATP production in larvae, first measuring the accumulation of lactate and alanine and depeletion of glycogen and trehalose. We predict that larvae will have significant capacities to produce ATP from fermentation, while adults will not. This project will provide training in physiology and biochemistry to an excellent undergraduate student and provide exciting new data in insect physiology.

Description

This project is a one year RAHSS (Research Assistantships for High School Students) supplemental funding for NSF grant, IOS - 1122157,"Structural and functional scaling of the respiratory system of flying beetles". Two students will be selected from Phoenix Bioscience High School, a new science-focused high school in downtown Phoenix whose students are 75% Hispanic, African-American or Native American. These students will conduct research for ten weeks at Arizona State University. Their projects will focus on the physiology of tethered, flying scarab beetles, and 3-D tomography analysis of beetle anatomy. This project will provide an outstanding educational experience for high school students from groups currently under-represented in science.

Description

This REU supplement will provide stipend and travel funding for one student to conduct research related to this NSF grant, IOS - 1122157,"Structural and functional scaling of the respiratory system of flying beetles". The student, Jillian Ciarlarello, has been pre-selected based on her outstanding research productivity as a volunteer and for-credit student researcher. She will be analyzing micro-CT data, assessing the scaling of tracheal, brain, flight muscle, and reproductive system investment in scarab beetles, and will travel to Argonne National Labs to collect some addition micro-CT data. She has already developed the techniques, and has collected considerable data. The REU supplement stipend should allow her to complete this project and participate in writing the manuscript. This REU supplement will aid in training and recruitment of an outstanding female undergraduate and will enhance the productivity of this award.

Description

This supplemental funding to NSF grant, IOS - 1122157, "Structural and functional scaling of the respiratory system of flying beetles will promote scientific and educational linkages between physiological researchers at Arizona State University and students and teachers at Phoenix Bioscience High School. This high school is a new science-focused high school in downtown Phoenix whose students are 75% Hispanic, African-American or Native American. The funds will provide a three-week stipend for Ms. Shoshanna Kroeger, a highly awarded science educator, to work with us at ASU to develop laboratories that illustrate basic principles of insect physiology and evolution for use in her biological classes at Phoenix Bioscience High School.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date9/1/118/31/15

Funding

  • NSF: Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO): $622,608.00

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