Research in the Bystriansky Lab is generally focused on how animals regulate salts and water in their bodies especially during acclimation to changing environmental salinity.

Some current/recent projects include:

Microplastics seem to be everywhere, even finding their way into the gills of fishes. How do microplastics effect fish gill function? That’s the question MS student James Hach will be asking for his thesis.

How stenohaline are ‘stenohaline’ fishes? With so many species of fish out there, we often make assumptions about their biology. For many freshwater fish, there may be a small, but potentially important tolerance to elevated salinity. MS student Alex Krak is examining the swordtail’s salinity tolerance in hopes of better understanding how it might limit their geographic range.

Olivia LaMore is interested in how fluctuating pH and CO2 affect the metabolism and physiology of sea urchins. The echinoderms aren’t given as much attention as other shell producing organisms when it comes to climate change research, but they are such important organisms in marine ecosystems that we really need to give them a little extra love.

Unfortunately, not all animals are as hardy as sturgeon.  How will changes in ocean acidity and carbon dioxide effect others? Mary Jones is a Master’s student looking at the challenges oysters face producing shells in hypercarbic conditions and how this may impact their capacity to sequester lead from the environment.

Does exercise training improve seawater acclimation success of rainbow troutGeena Fritzmann investigates this question as part of her Masters thesis. Preliminary work suggests swimming effects sodium pump isoform expression in the gills…

Amphibians are freshwater animals…right?  Don’t tell that to the tiger salamanders living in the prairie pothole region of Saskatchewan!  Recent MS graduate Kimberly Boyle studied salamander tadpoles living in elevated salinity.  How do they do it??  Check out her paper…

The challenge of osmoregulating low temperaures.  When a rainbow trout needs to deal with the challenges of acclimating to seawater AND the water is really cold, what happens?  How do different gill sodium pump isoforms perform when it gets really cold?  MS student Heidi Luczynski is working on answering these questions.

Osmoregulation and acid-base balance in the white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) during exposure to aquatic hypercarbia and elevated salinity.  When sturgeon are faced with these two environmental challenges at once, they prioritize salinity  acclimation over acid-base balance.  Read all about it in former MS student Ciaran Shaughnessey‘s first publication.

Muscle Na+/K+ ATPase isoform expression following swimming challenges rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss).  Mattina Alonge‘s MS project examined how trout muscle sodium pump isoforms respond to exercise.  The results of her thesis have opened several new doors…maybe these muscles are for more than swimming?

Na+/K+-ATPase isoform regulation in three-spine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) during salinity acclimation.  Turns out stickleback respond to salinity challenges in much the same way as the often studied salmonids.  They switch isoforms.  Former MS student Shelby Judd tells us how.