Biology Department Global Connections

The faculty and staff of the Biology Department at SUNY Oneonta come from various backgrounds and maintain their connections to different cultures and languages through education, research, and outreach activities. Equitable global collaboration is essential for the advancement our scientific knowledge, and we strive to guide our students to gain skills and experiences to become a productive member of the global STEM community that respects scientific integrity, justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. Examples include Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) activities in classes, credit-earning faculty-led study abroad programs, exchange programs, international research conferences, and interacting with guest researchers in research labs and at seminars and symposia hosted by the Biology Department.

Trinidad and Tobago | Jamaica | University of the West Indies (UWI)

Trinidad and Tabago
University of the West Indes

In July and August of 2023, Dr. Heilveil hosted Desireina Delancy, a doctoral student from Tobago who studies at the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Kingston, Jamaica. Ms. Delancy has performed the first Jamaica-wide survey of planthoppers (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae), which includes a plethora of native species as well as many introduced pests. Ms. Delancy came to SUNY Oneonta to learn molecular techniques for the genetic identification of species. This will not only allow her to finish her doctoral work, but also gives her the experience and knowledge she needs to set up a molecular laboratory at UWI, fostering academic independence in the Global South.

Japan | Tokyo Metropolitan University (TMU)

Tokyo Metropolitan University

Biology in English Program, Tokyo Metropolitan University (TMU)

Biology opportunities at TMU available to SUNY Oneonta students

Biology research labs at TMU

Duration: academic year or Spring semester (SUNY Oneonta students are not able to do a Fall semester only as TMU's Fall semester overlaps with the beginning of the SUNY Oneonta Spring semester.)

Courses: SUNY Oneonta Biology majors who have completed introductory core courses in biology can earn credits towards the 3000/4000 level BIOL electives by completion of equivalent biology courses at TMU, taught in English. Japanese language and culture courses for international students are also offered in English, which may count towards general education or general electives at SUNY Oneonta. All course equivalencies are contingent upon approval by SUNY Oneonta.

Finances: Students pay tuition to SUNY Oneonta while in an exchange program abroad, and financial aid can cover your cost of participation (consult Global Program Coordinator first). TMU has affordable housing options on and near campus for exchange students that co-mingle international and Japanese students to promote cultural exchange and language acquisition. The rent is < 450 US Dollars* per month, including all utilities, for a single bedroom in a 3BR suite; the 18,000 JPY "Other Expenses" are a one-time non-refundable move-in fee, not a recurring cost.

*at 140 Japanese Yen = 1 US Dollar, as of 4 Aug 2023

Program details on SUNY Oneonta Office of Global Education portal

Contact: Kiyoko Yokota,

Undergraduate courses taught by Dr. Yokota usually have Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) activities within their regular coursework with biology students and faculty at TMU.

SUNY Oneonta students are also eligible to apply for the Tokyo Global Partner Scholarship Program (contingent on funding availability at TMU), which provides substantial financial support to qualified international students who pursue a graduate degree at TMU. Biology professors at TMU are interested in recruiting graduating seniors with solid research experience (for master's degree in science [MS], 2 years*) and thesis-track MS students (for Ph.D., 3 years) from SUNY Oneonta into their research labs where the students will pursue an MS or Ph.D.

Interested students should contact Applicants must establish contact with a TMU professor who leads a research lab of their interest by December of the previous year for consideration for fall (October) admission. While conversational Japanese language skill is useful, many labs at TMU do or can conduct their lab business in English, and graduate students are expected to make oral and poster presentations, write theses, and publish research articles in English.

*In Japan, an MS in a closely related subject area is a prerequisite for applying for a Ph.D. program (3-4 years); there is no direct path from a bachelor's degree to a Ph.D.

TMU-SUNY Oneonta Biology Symposium

2024 Presentation abstracts

Hiromu Takahashi & Ririka Noda (Tokyo Metropolitan University) The tolerance for alcohol between mated and unmated individuals of Drosophila

Our research is about whether there are differences in alcohol tolerance between mated and unmated individuals of Drosophila. Alcohol can make Drosophila dizzy and unable to maintain their own posture, but Drosophila also lose control of their own posture after consuming a certain amount of alcohol. This study was conducted to take advantage of this characteristic. As an overview of the study, Drosophila were bred for the required amount and divided into 10 female mated and unmated individuals each. Then, 1 milliliter of 25 percent alcohol was placed in the bottom of a vial with paper and sealed. The vial was allowed to stand in this condition for 1.5 hours, after which 20 Drosophila were placed in the vial. The criterion for alcohol tolerance was determined by preparing 20 Drosophila and measuring how long it took for half of them to reach a situation where half of them were at the bottom and the other half were attached to the wall, and then examining whether there was a significant difference based on that value.

Hina Takai (Tokyo Metropolitan University) The effect of blue light on the behavioral condition of Drosophila melanogaster

I will conduct my experiment using Drosophila melanogaster. D. melanogaster is a species of fruit fly that has photoreceptors in its eyes. These photoreceptors help Drosophila to distinguish the surrounding environment such as light. The surrounding environment is very important to Drosophila. For example, it is well known that chronic exposure to blue light and such stress accelerates aging and decreases locomotor performance. However, few studies have investigated how blue light exposure from the early growth stage, the so-called egg, affects D. melanogaster. Therefore, my study will investigate the extent to which the locomotor performance of flies is affected when they are raised in a stressful environment from the early growth stage. For this purpose, I prepared flies that were exposed to blue light from their eggs and flies that were exposed to blue light after hatching, I will analyze the differences in locomotion using a climbing assay as the locomotion indicator.

Kari Minissale (SUNY Oneonta, MS Biology student) A survey of American Eel within fish communities of the Upper Susquehanna watershed

American Eel (Anguilla rostrata) are an important predator within freshwater systems. They were previously common in the Upper Susquehanna River watershed, but populations have declined in recent decades. This decrease in abundance has been primarily caused by the presence of dams within the watershed. SUNY Oneonta, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC), and other organizations have collaborated to ascertain the presence of American eels and determine their distribution within the upper Susquehanna River and its tributaries. This was accomplished using standardized electrofishing surveys for the physical collection of fish and eDNA sample collection to detect American Eel DNA present at sites. The goal of this ongoing study is to improve the understanding of American Eel distribution within New York so they may be managed effectively and there is a greater understanding of how to detect them. A graduate student from SUNY Oneonta conducted electrofishing surveys to characterize all fish species at nineteen sites in the upper Susquehanna River watershed, as well as eDNA sampling for American eels at each site, in July 2023. We have preliminary fish counts from backpack electrofishing surveys, but we do not yet have eDNA analysis results. One American eel was detected through backpack electrofishing.

Yuzu Mori (Tokyo Metropolitan University) The behavior of Scopula superior hiding behind the leaves of Trifolium

Our team studied the hiding behavior of Scopula superior. The moth is a lepidopteran moth belonging to the family Geometridae and the subfamily Hemeshidae, and is a relatively small species with a body length of about 2 cm. The motivation for this research was that when Scopula superior was discovered in the Matsuki Hyuga green space on the Minami-Osawa campus of Tokyo Metropolitan University, multiple individuals were observed to perch on the underside of Trifolium leaves and hide when the discoverer approached. That's what happened. Therefore, ``Scopula superior has a habit of hiding when natural enemies approach'', and ``Scopula superior uses Trifolium leaves because it is a convenient size to hide from natural enemies''. Based on this hypothesis, we conducted research with the following two objectives. The first is to understand the habits of Scopula superiors, and the second is to clarify whether Scopula superiors habitually hide when their natural enemies approach. In this study, we conducted an experiment targeting various choptera moths, such as Scopula superior, Maruca vitrata, and Scopula nigropunctata imbella, in which we observed the places where the moths stayed in a breeding case equipped with paper imitating Trifolium.

Ryusei Sato (Tokyo Metropolitan University) Do headless planarians show positive phototaxis?

A planarian is a flatworm living in freshwater rivers and waterways. It is known to have regeneration ability and to show negative phototaxis. In my previous research I cut the Girardia dorotocephala (One of the planarians) and divided it into two bodies (with eyes or without eyes). The body with the eyes showed negative phototaxis, the same as the normal body. On the other hand, the body without eyes (Headless) showed positive phototaxis. However, it was not clear because light and dark areas don't change, and Headless included part of the brain. So, this time, I experimented with different cutting positions and randomly changed the brightness. However, the result of headless didn’t show positive phototaxis. I researched why Headless no longer showed positive phototaxis. I thought of two reasons. 1st, the experimental device was changed between the previous research and this time. 2nd, Headless does not exhibit positive phototaxis from the first. In conclusion, Headless might not exhibit positive phototaxis. Suggesting positive phototaxis might have reasons other than light.

Keigo Ichinomiya (Tokyo Metropolitan University) Quantifying morphological differences in earthworms and developing the species taxonomy

Japan’s species taxonomy in earthworms is less common than in other countries (e.g. Vietnam). Therefore, I focused on morphological differences in earthworms, with the aim of connecting these differences to species classification. The morphological variation I focused on this time was the weight ratio of each part of the body. I focused on the difference in weight ratio between mid-gut and body-wall. When I divided the earthworms into two groups (subterranean SF and surface-dwelling SD), I found that the ratio of body wall weight was generally large in SF, while the ratio of epidermis weight was small in SD. Differences were also observed when I measure proportion for each species. Based on previous studies, this difference is most likely due to differences in the thickness of the septa. The septa are the multiple structures inside the earthworm. Each species has a different percentage of thick membranes, and these percentages were taken from the literature. The ability to quantify differences in septa thickness in terms of the ratio of epidermal weights may be useful in developing a taxonomy of earthworms. For example, it may allow us to construct new groups from existing groups, or to classify juveniles for which little morphological information is available. From this study, I take the first step toward establishing a new classification index. I would like to increase the number of samples and make it a reliable indicator of classification. We would also like to find a solution to the disadvantage of disassembling the samples.

Hannah Whitcomb (SUNY Oneonta, MS Biology student) A search for the missing fish parasites, a survey of the Oneida Lake tributaries

Oneida Lake is the largest in-state lake in New York state and a premier fishing destination. In 1932, Van Cleave and Mueller conducted a study on the parasite fauna of the fish in Oneida Lake and its tributaries, where they made many discoveries. Since 1932, the lake has undergone many environmental changes which have impacted the parasite fauna which has been recorded through surveys conducted by Dr. Florian Reyda and his students. The surveys conducted by Dr. Reyda have included mostly the lake with one tributary, Chittenango creek. Through these surveys, Dr. Reyda suggested evidence of extirpation of certain parasite species because where Van Cleave and Mueller found certain parasites in the lake, we have not. However, there were several species of parasites found in the creek, for example, the trematode Rhapidocotyle papillosa in a sample of only four Smallmouth bass. R. papillosa uses a native clam as its first intermediate host, which is believed to have been displaced from the lake and moved into the tributary due to invasive species. The methods of this study will include the collection of twelve fish species via backpack shocking, full necropsy of fish to collect parasites, the mounting of parasites for identification by myself or other collaborators using light and scanning microscopes. This survey will fill a knowledge gap on the fish parasite data in the tributaries and will add to the current survey knowledge of the lake system. Through an extensive survey of the fish parasites in Oneida Lake’s tributaries, I hope to compare my results to Van Cleave and Mueller’s study and see if the fish parasite species in the tributaries are different than those found in the lake.

Rika Ito (Tokyo Metropolitan University) Spectral tuning of the cyanobacteriochrome by random mutagenesis

Photoreceptors are proteins that bind chromophores and sense specific light colors through reversible photoconversion. Phytochromes are well-known photoreceptors in land plants, which show red/far-red reversible photoconversion and are involved in various light acclimation processes such as seed germination and shade avoidance. Cyanobacteriochromes, on the other hand, are the cyanobacteria-specific photoreceptors distantly related to the phytochromes. Photoreceptor proteins are widely used in light-based technologies such as bio-imaging and optogenetics. However, there are limitations in light colors sensed by the photoreceptor proteins. In this study, we attempted to tune the sensing light colors by introducing mutations. We selected a cyanobacteriochrome, AnPixJg2_BV4 showing red/green reversible photoconversion, as the engineering platform. We performed combined analysis of random and site-saturation mutagenesis. As a result, replacement of tryptophan residue highly conserved among the red/green reversible cyanobacteriochromes with the other residues largely affected the sensing light colors. Because the tryptophan residue directly interacts with the chromophore, replacement to the other residues would modulate the chromophore conformation leading to the sensing light color tuning.

Hana Berry (Tokyo Metropolitan University) Exploration of unidentified anoxygenic photosynthetic bacteria involved in the nitrogen cycle

Nitrogen is one of the most important materials for organisms. Nitrogen compounds are transformed globally to form nitrogen cycle, e.g., amino acids, ammonium, nitrate, nitrite, di-nitrogen (N2). Prokaryotes, bacteria and archaea, play an important role for the nitrogen cycle in nature. Among the process, ammonium oxidizing metabolisms under anaerobic environments have not been identified yet. Since 1970, it has been predicted that anoxygenic photosynthesis bacteria possess the ability to anaerobically oxidize ammonium to nitrate or N2, but no one has discovered the bacteria yet. The purpose of this study is to explore and identify ammonium-oxidizing anoxygenic photosynthetic bacteria from natural environments. Samples were collected from sediments and biofilms developed on rock in spring water, which contains less organic compounds. A piece of the samples was inoculated into a medium which contained ammonium as a sole electron donor and anaerobically cultivated at 30°C in the incandescent light. After 6 months of cultivation, absorption spectra of the culture solutions were determined. Among the samples cultivated, some of the cultures showed the absorption peaks at around 800 nm to 900 nm indicating that the growth of bacteriochlorophyll-containing bacteria. This result indicates that there are anoxygenic photosynthetic bacteria in the cultures. A part of culture solution was sub-cultivated under the same conditions. After more than five times of sub-cultivation, growth of the bacteriochlorophyll-containing bacteria was repetitively observed.

Emily Bulmer (SUNY Oneonta, MS Biology student) Susquehanna drainage Brook floaters (Alasmidonta varicosa)

The largest New York State population of the threatened freshwater pearly mussel species Brook floater (Alasmidonta varicosa) is located here in the Susquehanna watershed. Extensive research and surveys have been done on this population by SUNY Oneonta students and faculty over the past decade. Our current work with these animals is to assess their habitat by observing physical stream characteristics and water chemistry. This research will hopefully lead to future relocation of part of this population to expand this imperiled species to other streams in the watershed.

Chisato Oketani (Tokyo Metropolitan University) The role of CLAVATA2 in floral transition in Arabidopsis

In plants, after embryogenesis, all above-ground organs such as leaves and stems develop from the shoot apical meristem (SAM). SAM is a population of undifferentiated cells and provides the cells for organogenesis. CLAVATA2(CLV2) is a receptor protein maintaining the homeostasis of the SAM. On the other hand, the clv2 loss-of-function mutant flowers earlier than wild-type plants. It suggests that CLV2 is also involved in the regulation of floral transition. The floral transition, the transition from vegetative to reproductive growth, is regulated by multiple factors such as day length, temperature, and age. Among the multiple pathways, FT protein induces strongly floral transition in response to day length in Arabidopsis. I am currently investigating the possible involvement of CLV2 in the regulation of FT expression. My research will clarify how CLV2 is involved in the regulatory mechanisms of floral transition.

Alex Byrne (SUNY Oneonta, MS Biology student) Thermal stress of the Japanese Knotweed rhizome and applications to restoration

Research is needed for alternative approaches to herbicide use in the restoration of riparian forests. Although herbicide use can be a successful tool to help reduce invasive plant biomass (Delbert et al, 2012), not many environmental groups have the capability to hire a certified applicator or want to utilize chemicals next to their waterway. This study employed a series of non-chemical techniques i.e. manual removal and solarization on a population of Japanese Knotweed Fallopia japonica var. japonica in the floodplain forest of Tibbetts Brook across the Bronx-Westchester border of New York. Management (Cutting +Solarization) was followed by seeding and planting treatments and the resulting plant species community was determined. One year after management species diversity in solarized plots exceeded the number of species in control plots (p > .05). However, F. japonica became dominant in all plots during the second growth season. Additionally, experiments were performed on the thermal tolerance of the rhizome. Rhizomes were exposed to a series of temperatures in the laboratory (° C) (30°, 45°, 50°, 60°) for 24 hr. and subsequently planted in garden containers. Stem growth was monitored and the critical temperature maximum for the rhizome was determined to be 60° C. Overall results suggest that solarization is not sufficient to reduce F. Japonica biomass after the initial growing season, possibly a function of the Knotweed rhizome thermal stress tolerance. Lastly it is recommended that multiple seasons of diversity assessment are necessary to determine restoration success.

Fumiko Harakawa (Tokyo Metropolitan University) Morphological variation and body composition of Anolis carolinensis in the Ogasawara Islands, Japan

Green anole (Anolis carolinensis) is an arboreal reptile of North American origin, widely distributed in the Northern Hemisphere. Due to its fertility, this species became a problem as an invasive species in various countries, including Japan. In Japan, this species has been confirmed to have invaded the Ogasawara Islands and Okinawa Prefecture. The Ogasawara Islands are a group of oceanic islands located 1,000 km south of Tokyo, consisting of Hahajima, Chichijima and Anijima. Previous studies have shown that males of this species differ in several morphological traits among the three islands (Hahajima > Chichijima > Anijima), and that these differences follow a similar pattern of vegetation differences among the three islands. Other previous studies reported that morphological differences can be produced by behavioral strategies. Those behavioral strategies are strongly influenced by body weight. In this study, I examined whether there are significant differences in fat mass among the three islands with different morphological traits. I used two methods to measure fat mass: dividing mass by SVL and measuring the width at the base of the tail that both has proven accurate in male geckos. I should also present the results here, but the results are not yet available because I had the influenza during the week I was planning to measure. Therefore, the results will be presented on the day of the presentation.

2023 Presentation abstracts

Tsubasa Yoshimura, Kazuto Akashi, & Ryoku Ito (Tokyo Metropolitan University) Investigation of the peak time that moths visit flower at night

By researching the time of day when moths come to the flowers at night to suck nectar, we investigated whether there is a peak time of day when they visit the flowers. The research method involved placing a camera in front of the flowers and automatically taking pictures every two minutes. The results showed that there was a high probability that there was a peak time of day for some species.

Satoka Ono (Tokyo Metropolitan University) Production of wild-cultivated rice hybrids by in vitro fertilization

Wild rice Oryza sp. are known to possess useful traits for rice improvement, such as resistance to insects and diseases. Thus, various important traits of wild rice have been transferred to cultivated rice via breeding. Interspecific hybrids between cultivated rice (AA genome) and wild species (AA genome) were produced by artificial pollination. However, Intergeneric hybrids between cultivated rice (AA genome) and wild species (non-A genome) are completely sterile due to failure in embryo development. In this study, fertile hybrids between cultivated rice (AA) and wild species, O.officinalis (CC) were successfully produced by using in vitro fertilization (IVF) system, suggesting that, employing IVF system, pre- and post-fertilization barriers can be overcome. We also produced hybrids between cultivated rice (AA) and wild species, O.rufipogon (AA) as a control. IVF system involves a combination of three basic microtechniques: isolation of male and female gametes, electrofusion of the gametes to produce zygotes, culture and regeneration of zygotes. Notably, genome doubling was frequently detected in developing zygotes produced by this method. Hybrid zygotes derived from cultivated rice egg (AA) and O.rufipogon sperm (AA) cells were able to regenerate into plantlets. However, hybrids between cultivated rice egg (AA) and O.officinalis sperm (CC) cells ceased the development at the two-cell embryo stage. Interestingly, the development arrest of the hybrids could be abrogated by reciprocal fusion of gametes, resulting in fertile inter-AC hybrids. Ploidy levels in the hybrids were also determined and found that several plants were tetraploid. Analyses of genomes and phenotypes are now on-going.

Hayato Endo (Tokyo Metropolitan University) Earthworms similar to known species

Earthworms are familiar creatures in our lives and are found in many parts of the earth. For example, they are distributed in a variety of habitats, from the soil we usually see them in to permafrost, oceans, and freshwater. They also support many ecosystems, and our lives benefit from these supported ecosystems in many ways. Soil grows better plants and creates richer ecosystems when earthworms are present, and as one of the 17 goals of the SDGs states in "Create richer soil" it is important to create richer soil for the future of our planet. And as you know, earthworms are essential to the realization of this goal. For this reason, an understanding of earthworms is essential. However, Megascoolecidae, the most widely distributed group of earthworms in Japan, has lagged behind in even basic taxonomic research. There are many reasons for this. The most significant barrier is intraspecific morphological variation. This intraspecific variation has confused many earthworm taxonomists as to whether they are homologous or heterologous. However, with the recent development of molecular biological techniques , this is gradually being clarified, though is still incomplete. My research considers whether earthworms that are morphologically similar to known species are undescribed species by evaluating them from two perspectives: morphological and molecular biological taxonomy.

Morgan Fleming and Emily Bulmer (SUNY Oneonta) A new species of Neoechinorhynchus (Acanthocephala) from two species of redhorse (Catostomidae: Moxostoma erythrurum and Moxostoma macrolepidotum) in North America

We encountered a new species of Neoechinorhynchus (Acanthocephala) during survey work in North America that focused on catostomid fishes (suckers). Among our samples of Moxostoma specimens from the Red River in Manitoba, Canada, the Kanawha River in West Virginia, and the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania we encountered specimens of genus Neoechinorhynchus inconsistent with previously known species. All fish were captured via boat electroshocking, and examined with a dissecting microscope for parasitic worms. All acanthocephalans were stored in ethanol and vials and then stained and mounted onto slides with Canada Balsam and subsequently examined with a microscope. Measurements of >10 male and >10 female specimens of this new species were then compared to available published data for other North America species of Neoechinorhynchus. This new species differs from all but six of the 30+ species of Neoechinorhynchus from the USA and Canada in its possession of body walls that are thicker dorsally than ventrally, and in having lemnisci that are markedly unequal in length. Although the new species is similar to N. buckneri, N. bullocki, N. carinatus, N. cristatus, N. prolixoides, and N. prolixus in terms of body wall thickness and lemnisci, it differs via hook lengths of anterior, middle, and posterior hooks on the proboscis. Our morphologically-based conclusion that that this species is distinct from each of those 6 species is corroborated by sequence data for the large ribosomal subunit obtained by collaborators. Our study calls attention to the potential for more discovery of novel species in North America.

Manaka Hasebe (Tokyo Metropolitan University) Development for application to optogenetics based on cyanobacteriochrome by circular permutation

This work is to develop an application for optogenetics by using cyanobacteria's photoreceptors. Cyanobacteriochromes (CBCRs) are photoreceptors derived from cyanobacteria. CBCRs are various molecules that sense a wide range of light qualities from UV to far-red light. Almost of CBCRs bind to phycocyanobilin (PCB), a liner tetrapyrrole chromophore. But we have developed a modification that binds to Biliverdin (BV). CBCRs binding to BV is suitable for application to optogenetics. Because they efficiently incorporate BV which is a mammalian intrinsic chromophore. Also, they absorb the far-red light which facilitates deeper penetration into tissues while causing only low levels of damage. In this study, we succeeded in developing a variety of circular permutations in which the N terminal and C terminal are located near chromophore pockets to develop for application to optogenetics based on BV-binding CBCRs. As a result, we succeeded in circular permutants which can both bind BV and photo conversion. Now, we verify the availability of optogenetics tools.

Akiharu Fukuda (Tokyo Metropolitan University) Detrimental effects of blue light on flies

According to the existing thesis, it is proved that blue light shortens the life span of flies. Therefore, it was black and white that blue light is harmful to the species before I started my own experiment. I wondered if learning behavior is inhibited by blue light exposure because neurodegeneration was one of the discoveries from the dead flies. When we memorize something, neurons play a significant role; hence, I wanted to examine how much blue light irradiation affects the learning behavior of flies: Drosophila melanogaster. However, I found out that it takes ages for an undergraduate student to conduct the experiment since it is complicated. As a substitution, I decided to gauge the climbing assay of the flies. I would like to shed blue light on flies with different intensities and time lengths so that I can figure out how much exposure is harmful. Before visiting SUNY, I would work on it and may be able to talk about bits and pieces of the results that I expect to gain until then.

Jessica Casey (SUNY Oneonta) (graduate student) Aquatic Plant Sampling & Application of Data

Point Intercept Rake Toss Relative Abundance Method (PIRTRAM) is a widely used method for assessing presence and absence of plant species and biomass estimations. In the summer of 2022, a crew of graduate students completed a full PIRTRAM survey on Chautauqua Lake, located in western New York, following many years of PIRTRAM surveys completed by Racine-Johnson Aquatic Ecologists. Data applications range depending on stakeholder concerns but can vary from full macrophyte community progression to individual species progression within a lake. Data that is publicly available was also used in order to look at long-term trends of individual species within different basins in Chautauqua Lake.

Kanami Nozawa (Tokyo Metropolitan University) The classification of mushrooms

Speaking of mushrooms, we often eat mushrooms but there are also mushrooms in the fields around the world. Wild mushrooms play an important role in forests. However, we still don't know a lot about mushrooms. We have many unrecognized species in the fields. The classification of mushrooms had been based on morphological features. However, it is not sufficient to classify mushroom taxa because mushrooms have few morphological characteristics. When mushrooms are classified based on reproductive isolation, it is possible to recognize cryptic species.
In my research, I focus on ectomycorrhizal fungi among mushrooms. The targets are Lactifluus lignyotus, Tylopilus virens and Amanita vaginata. Ectomycorrhizal fungi are mushrooms that live in a symbiotic relationship with host plant roots. I will identify their cryptic species using molecular analysis. I collected my target mushrooms in the field last summer and I performed a DNA experiment and morphological observations. Also, I will try to clarify differences of morphological characteristics and host plants in the future.

Mizuki Takasawa (Tokyo Metropolitan University) Rice breeding

Rice and bread wheat are members of the same family, but they are separated by a subfamily. It is impossible to create hybrids through normal hybridization. Recently, Tokyo Metropolitan University succeeded in producing a hybrid plant of rice and bread wheat (Oryza wheat) using the IVF (in vitro fertilization) system. In 2022, a number of rice-wheat lines were grown in the field of the Arid Land Research Center and agronomic traits were investigated at Tottori University. As a result, it was confirmed that some lines of rice-wheat showed different traits from wheat, and that there were also differences among lines. These rice-wheat seeds were used to investigate useful traits for the development of environmentally stress tolerant crops that can withstand recent global warming and extreme weather events.

Madelynn Ackley (SUNY Oneonta) Comparison of Invasive Mussels in Otsego Lake, NY

Invasive mussels in Otsego Lake, NY, Quagga mussels (Dreissena bugensis) and Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha), were collected from the lake. These mussels disrupt the lake ecosystem and are a major factor to cause harmful algae blooms on the lake. This study was conducted to evaluate the survival and development of the quagga and zebra mussels. To do this the mussels were collected and then brought back to the lab to be identified, sized, and aged. The data will then be used to determine if one of the species is outcompeting the other species within the lake.

Sakurako Kimura (Tokyo Metropolitan University) Pollinators in Ogasawara islands

Ogasawara islands are oceanic islands located about 1000 km south of the Japanese mainland and have never connected to large landmass. Flora of the Ogasawara islands have been greatly affected by invasive species. The pollination system also has been changed by invasive predator. In Ogasawara islands, diurnal visitors have been decreasing by predation of invasive diurnal lizard. On the other hands, nocturnal visitors might be not affected by the lizard. Thus, focusing on nocturnal flower visitors is needed to know the pollination system in Ogasawara islands. Also, the interval shooting function of the digital camera is useful for the research of nocturnal flower visitors. In my research, I observed flower visitors coming to widely distributed plants or endemic plants in Ogasawara islands by using interval shooting function. This presentation will report the result of the data in last summer and autumn.

2020 Presentation abstracts

Jo Kutsukake (TMU) Classification of Japanese Symphyla

Symphylans are soil-dwelling arthropods belonging to Class Symphyla. About 220 species are described worldwide. In Japan, there are only three species described in 1954. Since then, Japanese species of symphylans have been poorly characterized. This study aimed to identify and classify possible new species of Japanese symphylans using standard morphological as well as modern molecular taxonomic techniques. Samples of symphylans were collected from layers of litter and soil in about 20 places in Southern Japan, by picking or by using Tullguren funnel method. Specimens were identified morphologically as members of Family Scutigerellidae. Two species identified as Hanceniella sp. and Scutigerella sp. were processed for DNA extraction by proteinase K. Genomic DNAs were sequenced using a universal primer for mtCO1. Using ChromasPro, DNA sequences were assembled, and the phylogenetic tree was constructed using MEGA7. Phylogenetic analyses show that there are three clusters formed in the tree with a 0.20% difference, suggesting that there might be four species of symphylans existing in Japan. Interestingly, specimens taken from Tokyo Metropolitan University (TMU) soil samples differ from other specimens in size and presence of seta on tergites. A combination of morphological and molecular techniques in the present investigation identified a novel species of symphylans, which needed further studies.

Jeremy Pember (SUNY Oneonta) Exploring the poorly known thorny-headed worm Neoechinorhynchus carpiodi

This work is part of a broader effort to fix the genus Neoechinorhynchus by collecting more information because it is poorly studied. In a recent SUNY Oneonta funded research trip in summer 2019, we traveled to Lake Erie and dissected Quillback to find Neoechinorhynchus carpiodi which is found only in that type host and type locality. The only known information about this species originates from two articles, one of which is the original description. That information is over 50 years old with no subsequent work. Therefore, updated measurements and ecological data need to be acquired to more deeply understand this parasite species. My objective is to use identification techniques that were not previously included, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), as well as other newly acquired data, to improve identification and understanding of N. carpiodi. I have obtained SEMs as well as a majority of the measurements for the 25 worms (15 male and 10 female). The measurements I have taken seem to match the sizes given with the original description. However, my measurements have expanded the known sizes of this parasite.

Miyu Enomoto (TMU) The effect of Amaranth (Red No. 2) on the lifespan of Drosophila melanogaster

Amaranth is one of the coloring dyes used in many food industries. Although it is banned in other countries, some still used this dye to color the food artificially. Previous study had shown a decrease in sperm survival time and suppression of the estrus period when this coloring was administered to rats. In our study, we determined the lifespan of Drosophila melanogaster fed with Amaranth coloring dye incorporated in the diet. Different concentrations (for example, 0.15%, 0.20%, 0.25%) of the Amaranth were used to feed the fly. Unexpectedly, results showed that the amaranth-fed D. melanogaster have longer life span compared with the control (no Amaranth food). D. melanogaster fed with 0.25% amaranth had the highest survival of 47 days. Our experiment showed that the Amaranth coloring dye incorporated in the diet increased the lifespan of D. melanogaster. However, the effect of the amaranth to the physiology of the fly still needs further investigation.

Shohei Takaki (TMU) Gravitropism in mushrooms

Gravitropism is a mechanism that enables the organ or parts of the plants to grow in response to gravity. This mechanism occurs in many mushroom species; however, the conditions influencing such response to gravity have not been entirely explained. In this study, gravitropic responses of “Shiitake” mushrooms in Japan grown under the different environmental conditions were observed. In the first experiment, mushrooms were grown on a plate in the absence of light by covering them with black vinyl. These were subjected to different temperatures (15o C, 20o C, 25 o C), pH (using Peat moss and Calcareous soil), and fertilizers using plant-vitalizing liquid. Results show that the bending of the mushroom was faster as we increased the temperature indicating that 20°or higher temperature makes bending better. A strong gravitropic response was also observed at high pH (using peat moss), suggesting that high pH makes a better bending. No significant difference in the response was observed when the mushrooms were subjected to plant fertilizer, indicating that the gradient in the vitalizing liquid does not significantly affect the bending. In the second experiment, we subjected the mushrooms to light conditions and observed their gravitropic responses. Results show that light conditions affected the bending process. Hence, we observed the effects of different light wavelengths to the mushrooms in our additional experiment using green and red lights. The wavelengths of light (green) seemed to contribute to the mushrooms' gravitropic response. Overall, environmental conditions such as temperature, pH and light wavelengths have influenced the gravitropic responses of mushrooms in the present investigation.

Sierra Stickney (SUNY Oneonta) Connecting with the Public to Prevent Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS)

Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) are wreaking havoc on both marine and freshwater ecosystems worldwide. AIS can cause algal blooms and declines of native organisms, which eventually will damage the overall health of the ecosystem. Once an invasive species has successfully established itself in a waterbody, its eradication is near impossible, and population control is often very costly. The cause of AIS is primarily due to the transportation of various watercrafts moving between locations, without proper cleaning of the vessel prior to transport. The only effective solution is prevention; therefore, education is the key.

The Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP) is a non-profit organization working to inform the public about AIS in the greater Catskills region of New York State. CRISP has hired numerous “boat stewards” to check watercraft leaving or entering a site, at no charge to boaters, to prevent AIS such as Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) or curly leaf pond weed (Potamogeton crispus). By checking for AIS and cleaning boats, CRISP can mitigate and prevent the risks of AIS. Additionally, CRISP stewards connect with boaters by explaining what type of AIS are in the specific body of water and teaching boaters on how to properly clean the boat themselves. Connecting through the shared appreciation of a waterbody allows for the boaters to see the value in prevention. Traveling from place to place has never been easier. Yet, we need to ensure that our modes of transportation are not harboring invasive species in order to protect native populations.

Arisa Tamura (TMU) Application of metal chloride to Aspergillus niger living with host plants

Aspergillus niger have been widely known as causative agent of infectious diseases of plants. Many plants have been considered as hosts of A. niger posing a threat to plants' health condition. Thus, it is important to develop new pesticide which prevent propagation of black mold without being harmful for plants. Metal ions are well-known with their antibiotic properties. To examine the antibiotic effect of metal ions to A. niger population, I applied metal chlorides (ZnCl2, KCl, NiCl2) to A. niger in three concentrations (1.0mM, 3.0mM, 5.0mM). Since it showed strong and stable antibiotic effect in all concentrations, NiCl2 is the most effective pesticide while, high concentrations of NiCl2 is harmful to plant. In order to demonstrate the NiCl2 phytotoxicity level in detail, NiCl2 at four different concentrations (10mM, 1mM, 0.1mM, 0.01mM) were applied to the leaves of T. fournieri. It showed that 10mM of NiCl2 has significantly high phytotoxicity levels whereas 1mM showed low phytotoxicity. I couldn't observe the phytotoxicity effect in 0.1mM and 0.01mM. To further narrow down the optimum concentration, I conducted the same procedure using different concentrations of NiCl2 (0.5mM, 0.75mM, 1mM, 1.25mM). NiCl2 showed high effectiveness in 0.5mM and 0.75mM with low phytotoxicity. Finally, I measured the effect of NiCl2 against A. niger on the leaves. A. niger was applied in spraying and spore adhering methods. After two days of inoculation, the plastic bag and the medium were removed, then NiCl2 was sprayed. Conditions of leaves were observed to determine the effectiveness of NiCl2 as a pesticide. Results showed that NiCl2 is effective between 0.5 and 0.75mM since seedlings with symptoms of black molds were observed more in 0.5mM, while effect of phytotoxicity of NiCl2 appeared more in 0.75mM.

Mayu Nishino (TMU) Isolation of cyanobacteria with high photosynthesis under strong light conditions

Global warming is currently progressing. CO₂ is one of the major causes of global warming, which has been reported to increase significantly. This issue posed a severe problem on our planet that needs to be addressed. Therefore, we desire to develop a way of reducing CO₂ by the use of photosynthesis. We are interested in cyanobacteria because they generally have a higher ability of photosynthesis than plants. The higher CO₂ concentration and light intensity are, the more actively cyanobacteria photosynthesize. However, if there is an exceedingly large amount of light, cyanobacteria are prone to photoinhibition, thereby unable to photosynthesize. In this study, we would like to find cyanobacteria, which can potentially resist intense light and could still photosynthesize. We collected samples in different environments such as marine and fresh waters. Cyanobacteria were isolated and cultivated on petri dishes using BG11 and f/2 media. After isolating the cyanobacteria, we did light variation by changing the amount of light (8300lux, 12400lux, 16500lux) and incubated for 6 days with strong irradiance. After 6 days, we observed the growth of cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria that developed on agar plates were identified based on morphological characteristics. We discovered that cyanobacteria could grow with strong light irradiance suggesting that they can potentially perform a photosynthetic activity with strong light conditions. Further studies are being done to identify the species of the isolated cyanobacteria.

Sarah Coney (SUNY Oneonta) The Re-introduction of American Eel to the Upper NY Susquehanna Watershed

Regional and global connectedness via faster and more affordable transportation has resulted in non-native and invasive species negatively affecting native species globally. Furthermore, development often causes habitat fragmentation and loss of connectivity within ecosystems. My thesis work focuses on re-establishing lost connections and reversing the negative side effects of certain connections through the reintroduction of American eels (Anguilla rostrata) to the New York section of the Susquehanna River watershed. Dams across the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania and New York currently prevent American eels from returning to this watershed from the ocean. They were once a significant part of the local aquatic fauna. American eels are the most effective host of a native riverine pearly mussel, the Eastern elliptio (Elliptio complanata). The extirpation of American eels has led to declines in the latter as well as contributed to flourishing rusty crayfish (Faxonius rusticus) populations, an invasive species originally from Ohio, Indian, and Kentucky. As one of the historically most populous freshwater mussels, Eastern elliptio play an important role in the >71,225 km2 Susquehanna watershed, such as recycling nutrients and stabilizing sediments. The invasive rusty crayfish escapes predation by most native fish and negatively affects the benthic communities in the Susquehanna watershed. American eels have been shown to consume rusty crayfish and may potentially serve as effective predators. Little is known of the American eel in the Susquehanna watershed. This study aims to better understand the American eel as a species and its role in the ecosystem.

Toko Hisano (TMU) Do plants grow with domestic wastewater?

Water pollution has become a more serious global environmental issue these days. Domestic wastewaters coming from non-point sources have polluted aquatic life such as rivers and oceans, which sometimes considered as tourist spots. Domestic wastes such as shampoo, dishwashing detergents, and other chemical pollutants could harm aquatic life. In this study, we investigated the effects of these contaminants on plants grown using hydroponics. Plants (Cherry tomatoes, Romaine lettuce, Basil) were grown by planting the seeds on a sponge soaked in water. About one week after these plants sprouted, these plants were subjected to preliminary contamination experiments using different concentrations of shampoo (10%, 30%, 50%) and dishwashing detergents (1%, 3%, 5%) to determine at which concentrations and changes such as in color. Observations after seven to ten days show that plants of all concentrations stop growing. Another experiment was done using lower concentrations of shampoo (10%, 15%, 20%). Lettuce with 15% and 20% shampoo became brown earlier than 10%. Therefore, to determine at which concentrations we need to do experiment with shampoo lower than 15%. Also, contaminated lettuce absorbed less water than control. Future investigation will focus on how these contaminated plants will affect aquatic and human lives.

Claire Curtin (SUNY Oneonta) Parasites of Redhorse Fishes

The group of researchers at the Biological Field Station with Dr. Florian Reyda has performed several fish collections in New York and West Virginia, gathering species of Redhorse fishes and their parasites. The focus of my project is on Neoechinorhynchus sp., a genus in the group of parasitic worms called the Acanthocephala. These worms are known for the hooks present on the anterior end of their body used for attachment to their host. The species descriptions that exist of this genus were written in 1949 and lack some information about the worms that can be obtained now due to technological advancements. With these older descriptions, I am working to determine the species of each Neoechinorhynchus worm we have collected from Redhorse fishes, and to either describe a possible new species or to redescribe the existing species by including images from scanning electron microscopy (SEM), images of the worms in a compound light microscope, as well as new measurements and characteristics of the worms thanks to these instruments.

Yuna Taki (TMU) Effects of ultraviolet light on the growth of plants

In recent years, the depletion of the ozone layer has been a major environmental issue due to the excessive amounts of ultraviolet rays that penetrate our planet. The UV light causes harmful impacts to many living organisms on earth, such as plants. This study aims to determine the effect of the ultraviolet (UV) light to plants and observe how sunscreen (It's a commercial one) can eventually help to minimize the effect of the UV rays. Radish seeds were sown and grew in pots and irradiated with UV rays with sunscreen and without sunscreen. Growth was measured based on the elongation of apical meristems and leaves. Three days after sowing, plants grew at a height 3.0cm on average when irradiation was disrupted. However, when the irradiation was extended up to 1, 5, and 10mins, plants grew at the height of 2.7, 2.1, and 1.6cm, respectively, indicating there was a suppression of plants’ growth as irradiation is increased. On the other hand, the growth of plants’ apical meristems and leaves with sunscreen and extended UV irradiance of 60mins were significantly lower compared to without sunscreen, suggesting that the plants may have the ability to resist UV irradiation. However, the growth of plants with sunscreen but no irradiance was lower compared without sunscreen and no irradiance. From these, it is considered that sunscreen has ability to resist irradiance but also prevented the elongation of plants. The present investigation raised some questions on the materials of the sunscreen that may have hampered the plants’ growth, which needs further studies.

Yuuka Hasegawa (TMU) UV pattern of flower and its breeding method

Unlike humans, insects and birds can see ultraviolet (UV) light. These pollinators are attracted to flowers because of their colors and smells. Flowers contain UV-absorbing pigments that form a UV pattern that could attract pollinators. In the present investigation, we want to observe the UV pattern of the flower by taking an ultraviolet photograph and compare it with the actual visibility by using our naked eye. Photos of flowers were taken using a camera (Canon EOS, shutter speed 1/250, ISO 1600) equipped with a UV filter (HOYA 370nm) in sunlight and processed the picture with the photo application (ImageJ). The process is to separate RGB, extract blue component, adjust brightness and contrast. Results show that in petals, the parts that looked white appeared almost white even in the UV photograph, but in the center of the flower, the parts that actually looked white appeared black in the UV photograph. In addition, the petals were more likely to appear white in UV photography, and the center of the flower did not look very white. The petals appeared white in 36.8% of the materials, and the center of the flower appeared white in 7% of the materials suggesting that the petals reflect UV light easily and the center of the flower absorbs UV light easily.

Yuka Uchida (TMU) Condition to change speed of cytoplasmic streaming

Cytoplasmic streaming is a phenomenon in which the plant organelles moved as carried by the myosin motor proteins. In the present study, we were interested in the activity of cytoplasmic streaming and how does light control it. The leaves of large waterweed, Egeria densa, were subjected to dark conditions and determined the number of cells undergoing cytoplasmic streaming when exposed to photic stimulation. Active cells increased after we subjected the leaves in two conditions (light and dark) for 30 minutes. However, streaming activity was significantly higher when the leaves were observed in the dark compared to the light. We would like to understand what are the factors (temperature, light, cutting response) affecting such differences in the cytoplasmic streaming and its relationship to photosynthesis.

Brian Mullin (SUNY Oneonta) Invasive Copepod Infections of Introduced Salmonids in Lake Ontario

Salmincola californiensis (Subclass Copepoda) parasitizes the gills of salmonids of the genus Oncorhynchus. Three species of Oncorhynchus salmon native to the Pacific Northwest, Oncorhynchus mykiss (rainbow trout), Oncorhynchus tshawytscha (chinook salmon), and Oncorhynchus kisutch (coho salmon) have been reported as hosts for S. californiensis since 1852. These three salmonids have been introduced to the Great Lakes intermittently since the mid 1800’s. The introduction of these salmonids to the Great Lakes was followed, by the introduction of their parasitic gill copepod, S. californiensis. We chose to conduct a survey to formally document the occurrence of this invasive species. Our survey took place in 2018 and 2019 at the south-eastern side of Lake Ontario. Our survey results indicate the prevalence of S. californiensis to be 70% with a mean intensity of 2.71 in the 120 rainbow trout examined and a prevalence of 39% with an intensity of 1.56 in the 223 chinook salmon examined. S. californiensis was found on 1 of the 200 coho salmon examined. The prevalence of 70% in rainbow trout is of great concern considering that it is nearly double that of its native range, (35%). This work constitutes the first formal documentation of S. californiensis in Lake Ontario.

Kanon Matsumoto (TMU) Change of calcium oxalate from plants under various conditions

Cayratia japonica is a creeping plant belonging to the Family Vitaceae that developed an acrid smell. A study showed that C. japonica stores calcium oxalate stored in its body as needle-like crystals that causes acidity. The present study aimed to determine how much of the crystals were produced when the plant was subjected to different environmental conditions. We counted the number of crystals developed by this plant when subjected to different seasons, pH, temperatures, grinding methods, and adding more nutrients. Results showed that adding a basic or acidic chemical reduces production, grinding reduces the size of crystals, and they can be released quickly under high temperature. Crystal production increased when added with nutrients, and high production could be observed in autumn. In the future, we would like to isolate the crystals and find other methods to measure the relatedness of acridity to the amount of calcium oxalate production.

Stephen Deforest (SUNY Oneonta) Species Distribution Modeling of Calopteryx maculata

Species Distribution Models (SDMs) are becoming popular in conservation biology. When applied to a threatened or endangered species, they can help conservationists to predict what environments would be suitable for relocation and survival of the species. When applied to an invasive species, SDMs can help to predict where the organism is likely to spread next. SDMs can also be applied to species that are of least concern, simply to help researchers to further understand the life history and habitat preferences/tolerances of the organism. Calopteryx maculata is one such organism. C. maculata is a locally common species that occurs in/near lotic water systems and is a predator of many other invertebrates. Understanding this organism’s behavior, requirements, and preferences can tell researchers more about the organism on which it feeds as well. Using data from the known distribution of C. maculata and performing surveys, I compiled a current distribution map via ArcGIS, and will be using R and Python to determine what environmental factors are influential in habitat suitability of C. maculata.

Eleanor Rettew (SUNY Oneonta) Aquatic Macroinvertebrates in Previously Unsampled Tributaries Within the Susquehanna Watershed

Although aquatic insects are a useful tool for assessing the water quality of freshwater systems, there are currently a large number of streams within Otsego and Delaware counties for which there is no aquatic macroinvertebrate data. This dearth of information is particularly problematic now, when the biodiversity of freshwater streams is in crisis. This study was undertaken to gather data on the aquatic macroinvertebrates living in previously unsampled tributaries of the Susquehanna watershed. 14 previously unsampled streams within this watershed were visited within a 15-week period in the fall of 2019. Aquatic insects were collected from 8 of these sites and identified to taxonomic family. Of the 8 sampled sites, species richness was highest within Ouleout Creek, and lowest at the headwaters of Mill Creek. Across all sites, Hydropsychidae, Heptageniidae, and Ephemerellidae were the most commonly found macroinvertebrate families. Overall, while this study provides information necessary to begin building multiyear datasets on previously unsampled streams in upstate New York, more research will be needed to assess the health of these Susquehanna tributaries, and to determine the presence and abundance of aquatic invertebrates in these streams.

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