Research

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:

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.

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.

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?

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

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.

Amphibians are freshwater animals…right?  Don’t tell that to the tiger salamanders living in the prairie pothole region of Saskatchewan!  Here, MS student Kimberly Boyle studies salamander tadpoles living in elevated salinity.  How do they do it??  Stay tuned…

Influence of hyperosmotic saline treatment on sodium transport mechanisms in epithelial cells.  When lung and kidney epithelia are exposed to increased salinity, how do sodium pump isoforms respond?  This question forms the basis of Michelle Sener’s MS thesis.