Grant: $313,029 - National Science Foundation - Aug. 25, 2009
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Award Description: Understanding how animals adapt to environmental changes is an important question, and has implications for many fields. Little is known about early life stages, especially their ability to deal with different environments. Aquatic invertebrate animals are very small at early life stages, and how these tiny organisms are affected by physical properties of their environment (water), or how they respond to this environment are not intuitive. As animals grow and develop they experience many differences in their physical and physiological environments and can respond through changes in structural, physiological and behavioral traits, including how they feed. Animals that feed on small particles in the water (suspension-feeding), especially bivalve molluscs, provide important ecosystem functions, are important fisheries and aquaculture species, and are the current target of restoration and conservation efforts. Suspension-feeding has been predicted to be energetically inefficient for small sized individuals, including newly metamorphosed animals. This research will integrate physiology, morphology and hydrodynamics to examine size dependence of suspension-feeding efficiency for small animals, including the smallest juvenile individuals of the suspension-feeding gastropod mollusc Crepidula fornicata, as a model animal. These snails can use two different feeding mechanisms throughout their life, but may specialize depending upon the size-specific relative efficiencies of each of mechanism. This project will use experimentation and modeling to examine limits of suspension feeding as a function of size, including consequences of feeding and nutrition at early life stages, which can produce energy stores needed later in life. It will examine the early life history of suspension-feeding molluscs, and potential physiological limits to suspension feeding at a small size, and will have implications for understanding how molluscs adjust to changing environments. Graduate and undergraduate students will be trained, especially women and members of groups under-represented in science, and results communicated to the general public, managers, and policy makers.
Project Description: See Award Description
Jobs Summary: There have been no jobs created or retained on this project to date. (Total jobs reported: 0)
Project Status: Not Started
This award's data was last updated on Aug. 25, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.