Collaborative Research: The Chemical Ecology of Shallow-water Marine Macroalgae and Invertebrates on the Antarctic Peninsula - continuingEntry ID: USAP-1341333_1
The coastal environments of the western Antarctic Peninsula harbor rich assemblages of marine animals and algae. The importance of the interactions between these groups of organisms in the ecology of coastal Antarctica are well known and often mediated by chemical defenses in the tissues of the algae. These chemicals are meant to deter feeding by snails and other marine animals making the ... Antarctic Peninsula an excellent place to ask important questions about the functional and evolutionary significance of chemical compound diversity for marine communities. This project will focus on three main objectives: the first objective is to expand the current understanding of the relationship between algae and their associated marine animals. The second objective focuses on the diversity of chemical compounds used to defend algae from being consumed. The third objective seeks to understand how marine animals can benefit from these compounds by consuming the algae that contain them, and then using those compounds to chemically deter predators. The field components of this research will be performed during three expeditions to the US Palmer Station, Antarctica. During these expeditions, a variety of laboratory feeding bioassays, manipulative field and laboratory experiments, and on-site chemical analyses will be performed. The investigators will also foster opportunities to integrate their NSF research with a variety of educational activities. As in the past they will support undergraduate research, both through NSF programs as well as home, university-based, programs, and they will also continue to support and foster graduate education. Through their highly successful University of Alabama in Antarctica interactive web program (two time recipient of awards of excellence from the US Council for Advancement and Support of Education), they will continue to involve large numbers of teachers, K-12 students, and other members of the community at large in their scientific endeavors in Antarctica. In addition, the investigators have hosted K-12 teachers on their Antarctic field teams through the former NSF Teachers Experiencing Antarctica and the Arctic program and will pursue participation in PolarTREC, the successor to this valuable program. Moreover, they will actively participate in outreach efforts by presenting numerous talks on their research to local school and community groups.
The near shore environments of the western Antarctic Peninsula harbor rich assemblages of macroalgae and macroinvertebrates. The importance of predator-prey interactions and chemical defenses in mediating community-wide trophic interactions makes the western Antarctic Peninsula an excellent place to ask important questions about the functional and evolutionary significance of defensive compound diversity for marine communities. This project will focus on three main objectives which are a direct outcome of the past studies of the chemical ecology of shallow-water marine macroalgae and invertebrates on the Antarctic Peninsula by this group of investigators. The first objective is to expand the current understanding of a community-wide mutualism between macroalgae and their associated amphipods to include gastropods, which are also abundant on many macroalgae. The second objective focuses on the diversity of chemical compounds used to defend macroalgae from being consumed, particularly in the common red alga Plocamium cartilagineum. The third objective seeks to understand the relationship between P. cartilagineum and the amphipod Paradexamine fissicauda, including the ecological benefits and costs to P. fissicauda resulting from the ability to consume P. cartilagineum and other chemically defended red algae. The investigators will focus on the costs and benefits related to the ability of P. fissicauda to sequester defensive compounds from the alga P. cartilagineum and use those chemicals to defend itself from predation. The field components of this research will be performed during three expeditions to Palmer Station, Antarctica. During these expeditions, a variety of laboratory feeding bioassays, manipulative field and laboratory experiments, and on-site chemical analyses will be performed. Phylogenetic analyses, detailed secondary metabolite chemical analyses and purifications, and other data analyses will also be performed at the investigators' home institutions between and after their field seasons.
Email: amsler at uab.edu
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Email: bjbaker at usf.edu
University of South Florida
Email: mcclinto at uab.edu
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Amsler, C.D., M.O. Amsler, M.D. Curtis, J.B. McClintock, & B.J. Baker (2019-01-01T00:00:00.000Z), Impacts of macroalgal-associated gastropods on epiphytic microalgae on the ecologically important Antarctic brown alga Himantothallus grandifolius, Antarctic Science, 31, doi:10.1017/S0954102019000014
von Salm, J.L., K.M. Schoenrock, J.B. McClintock, C.D. Amsler, & B.J. Baker (2019-01-01T00:00:00.000Z), The status of marine chemical ecology in Antarctica: form and function of unique high-latitude chemistry. Puglisi, M.P. & M.A. Becerro (eds.), Chemical Ecology: The Ecological Impacts of Marine Natural Products, pp. 27-69, CRC Press
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