Murray State University

Poster Title

The Effects of Water Quality on the Immune Function of Plathemis Lydia

Presenter Information

Matt Dennis, Murray State University

Institution

Murray State University

Abstract

Immune suppression of an individual may be an early indicator of environmental stress that could lead to the disappearance of a species. Many invertebrates cover foreign objects in their bodies with a layer of immune cells in a process know as encapsulation. The amount of encapsulation of the parasite can be used as a measure of the immune status of the animal. We are researching the correlation between immune status of Plathemis lydia larvae and organic and inorganic pollutants levels obtained from thirteen ponds in western Kentucky. A piece of monofilament was inserted into the body cavity of each larva collected and removed 24 hrs later. Once dissected out of the dragonfly, the monofilament was photographed under a bright-field microscope. The photograph was then analyzed using UTHSCSA Image tool for Windows which measures the area of encapsulation in number of pixels. The degree of encapsulation of each individual was measured taking into account the effects of body size on immune function. The results are currently under analysis. We predict that there will be a negative correlation between encapsulation and water quality, suggesting that dragonflies undergo immune suppression in condition of poor water quality. The results of this research will establish data that will be used in laboratory testing of pollutant effects. This research is part of a larger project to determine whether immune status and developmental symmetry can be used to provide an early warning system of habitat degradation via pollution.

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The Effects of Water Quality on the Immune Function of Plathemis Lydia

Immune suppression of an individual may be an early indicator of environmental stress that could lead to the disappearance of a species. Many invertebrates cover foreign objects in their bodies with a layer of immune cells in a process know as encapsulation. The amount of encapsulation of the parasite can be used as a measure of the immune status of the animal. We are researching the correlation between immune status of Plathemis lydia larvae and organic and inorganic pollutants levels obtained from thirteen ponds in western Kentucky. A piece of monofilament was inserted into the body cavity of each larva collected and removed 24 hrs later. Once dissected out of the dragonfly, the monofilament was photographed under a bright-field microscope. The photograph was then analyzed using UTHSCSA Image tool for Windows which measures the area of encapsulation in number of pixels. The degree of encapsulation of each individual was measured taking into account the effects of body size on immune function. The results are currently under analysis. We predict that there will be a negative correlation between encapsulation and water quality, suggesting that dragonflies undergo immune suppression in condition of poor water quality. The results of this research will establish data that will be used in laboratory testing of pollutant effects. This research is part of a larger project to determine whether immune status and developmental symmetry can be used to provide an early warning system of habitat degradation via pollution.