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Student Research Projects

The release of zooxanthellae in Aiptasia pallia due to environmental stress

Student Lisa Nguyen, '17
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Biology
Course BIO 489: Research in Natural Sciences


The objective of this study was to determine zooxanthellae expelled by the sea anemone due to varying water temperatures and levels of light exposure. Temperature was tested by setting the water temperature to 20°C, 25°C, and 30°C. Light exposure was tested by exposing the anemones to 18h light/6h dark, 6h light/18h dark, and 12h light/12h dark cycles. Animals were exposed to treatments for 24 hours. After 24 hours, the anemones were incubated for 24 hours at 25°C, and homogenized. The amount of zooxanthellae released and retained were counted using a hemocytometer to determine the percentage of expelled zooxanthellae in the different treatments. Results show a higher percentage of released zooxanthellae of 14.744% in 18h light/6 h dark than 7.735% in 6h light/18h dark. This may be due to oxidative stress from overproduction of photosynthesis products. When stressed from 20°C and 30°C, percentage of released zooxanthellae were 12.991% and 12.794%, respectively.


VWC Undergraduate Research Grant


Association of Southeastern Biologists 2017