Sam Collins is an undergraduate student at Heriot-Watt University studying Biological Sciences (BSc).
Project: Investigation of heat shock gene expression to evaluate effect of anthropogenic noise on Lymnaea stagnalis.
Project funding: Carnegie Trust
Supervisors: Dr Ted Henry (Heriot-Watt University) and Dr Karen Diele (Napier University)
Project summary: Anthropogenic sources of noise can be prominent in the environment and the potential for noise to cause important negative responses in organism physiology are beginning to be realised. The principal aim of this project is to investigate how exposure to noise influences the expression of stress response genes in the nervous system of a model organism. The freshwater snail Lymnaea stagnalis has emerged as a powerful model for research linking stressor exposure with biochemical changes and neurobehavioural outcomes.
Changes in expression of HSP gene transcripts provide a novel approach for determination of time course stress response induced by exposure to noise, and interrogation of different characteristics (e.g., vibration energy) of noise that contribute to stress responses. Understanding the aspects of acoustic pollution that influence stress response can contribute to approaches for reducing the impacts of this anthropogenic stress in the marine environment.