Student Summer Scholars
 

Abstract

Proper sensory input and motor output relies on constant nervous system activity. We proposed to test the neurological effects of a chemical pollutant on crayfish, Orconectes propinquus. Nonylphenol is a chemical used in detergents and pesticides that is commonly concentrated in crayfish, fish, and birds. Crayfish were exposed to 0.20 μL of nonylphenol for seven days. At the conclusion, crayfish sensory and motor neuron capabilities were tested by allowing crayfish to find food in a Y-maze. Data recorded included percent success finding food, time to find food, time spent motionless, and time spent in the food arm of the Y-maze. In phase two of experiments, primary sensory and motor neurons will be isolated to test changes in membrane potential across axonal membranes. By doing so, we will elucidate any alterations in neuronal signals due to nonylphenol exposure. For example, a reduction in neuronal signaling would indicate the pollutant directly affects the crayfish nervous system.

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