Integrative Approaches to Environmental Physiology
This RFA unites the breakthroughs in genomic sequencing, biocomputation techniques and modeling to examine the underlying causes and dynamics of the population genetics of arctic adaptation. Alaska’s northern environment, characterized by extreme seasonality in photoperiod, climate, and food availability is associated with limits in the diversity and abundance of its animal species and populations. Comparative physiologists have been traditionally drawn to species that can cope with such extreme conditions to investigate mechanisms of physiology resilience and to expose limitations to animal design. New molecular approaches and tools now offer an opportunity to research the genetic and molecular bases of how animal cells, organs and physiology and neurobiological systems respond to stress and profoundly changing environments.
Advances in understanding physiological regulation in extreme environments can provide fundamental new insights in animal physiology, assessments of the health status of endangered and economically important wildlife populations in Alaska, and detection of the responses of individuals and populations of target species (including humans) to environmental change.
Investigators study the specific candidate genes related to Arctic and alpine adaptation in plants, fungi, insects, birds, and mammals. Project during the last year include “Microbial Genome Sequencing” as it relates to the “Metagenomics of Boreal Forest Fungi;” “Relationships Among Gene Lineages, Morphology, Geography and Fungal Associations in Corallorhizinae;” “Orchid-Fungal Interactions;” “Conflict in Gynodioecious Plants and the Cost of Male Fertility Restoration;” and Megatransect Population Genetic Survey of the Andes and the Adaptive Hemoglobin Respiratory Proteins of South American Ducks.”
This RFA also continues to build on the EPSCoR Phase I capabilities in the UAF DNA Core lab by purchasing equipment for gene expression analysis. During the last year IP purchased a Cell Harvester 39 Cell. Equipment purchases in the near future include 250ml centrifuge, liquid nitrogen plant, purifier UV clean bench for pre-PCR amplification of degraded and ancient DNA, minus 86 degree upright freezer for post PCRA free lab, colony picker for screening micro satellite libraries to discover molecular markers, PCR libraries for species diversity and EST libraries, and a nanopure Diamond/UB water system.