B.S., Marine Science, Concentration in Chemical Oceanography, University of South Carolina (2014)
I am interested in studying how adaptations can result in tradeoffs and fitness costs in Fundulus heteroclitus (Atlantic killifish) subpopulations that inhabit the Elizabeth River Superfund sites. More specifically, my research focuses on subpopulations of killifish that have an evolved resistance to the toxicity of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Although these subpopulations can survive PAH exposures that would be lethal to non-resistant fish, that resistance makes them highly susceptible to the detrimental effects of other stressors.
A secondary stressor I am concerned with is hypoxia, a condition when oxygen content of water is below 2mg/L, a level most organisms need to survive. Estuaries throughout North Carolina face challenges of seasonal hypoxia which could have major impacts on the reproduction and survival of important fish populations. I am trying to understand the link between the PAH and hypoxia response pathways (AhR, ARNT/HIF-1B, HIF-1a) and how PAH resistance affects those interactions. My work will focus on the bioenergetics, mitochondrial function, aerobic scope, and oxidative stress/antioxidant response of killifish that face hypoxia and PAH co-exposures.