RESEARCH PROJECTS

My research interests are in ecological physiology, chemical ecology, and larval ecology. The major research projects in my laboratory are as follows:

1.- Mechanisms of induced pathogen resistance in seagrasses - In an effort to better understand the mechanisms underlying seagrass die-offs, we are examining the responses of seagrasses to infection by the "wasting disease" pathogen Labyrinthula 'P' and environmental factors that may affect the pathogenicity of this protist.   (Collaborators:  T. Sherman, University of South Alabama; T. Arnold, Dickinson College; and C. Tanner, St. Mary's College of Maryland)

2.- Environmental impacts on oyster larvae and spat - We are examining the link between responses to environmental stress and the expression of heat shock proteins in the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica , before, during, and after metamorphosis.  

3.- Reproductive Physiology of Syngnathids - Our research focuses on three aspects of reproduction in these sex-role reversed fish using the Gulf pipefish, Syngnathus scovelli, as our model system.   We are examining the breeding cycle of this fish, the function of its brood pouch, and the effects of environmental estrogens on its reproductive physiology. (Collaborators: T. Sherman, University of South Alabama; J. Hemming, U.S. Fish and Wildlife; J. Shardo, Middle Tennessee State University; C. Partridge, Georgia Tech)

4.- Queen Conch Physiology - We are interested in the signaling mechanisms involved in the induction of metamorphosis of the queen conch, Strombus gigas , as well as improvement in the culture of this commercially important species. (Collaborator: C. Dyer, Caicos Conch Farm).

Additional Projects:

1.- Cues used by the parasitic Rhizocephalan barnacle Loxothylacus texanus to identify its host, Callinectes sapidus . (Collaborators: J. O'Brien and T. Sherman, University of South Alabama; E. Boone, University of Richmond).

2.- Influence of invasive plant species in determining diversity of aquatic vegetation in the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta . (Collaborator: T. Sherman, University of South Alabama)

3.- University of South Alabama Joint Chemistry-Biology Merck-AAAS Undergraduate Research Program . Program Chair. Projects: Use of gas chromatography for identification and quantification of body fluid carbohydrates (Collaborator: D. Forbes, University of South Alabama);   Petroleum contamination and Antarctic limpet stress protein expression (Collaborators: E. Cioffi, University of South Alabama; D. Martin, University of California, Santa Barbara)

4.- University of South Alabama REU Protein Structure and Function Program . Use of biomarkers in monitoring natural and anthropogenic stress factors. (Collaborators: J. Turrens and numerous others, University of South Alabama)

5.- University of South Alabama Honors and Biology Honors Undergraduate Research Programs. Committee member and mentor.


MOST RECENT PUBLICATIONS

-Boettcher, A.A., and N.M. Targett.   1993.   Role of polyphenolic molecular size in the reduction of assimilation efficiency in Xiphister mucosus .   Ecology 74 :891-903.

-Targett, N.M., A. Boettcher, T. Targett, and N. Vrolijk. 1995. Tropical marine herbivore assimilation of phenolic rich plants.   Oecologia 103 :170-179.

-Boettcher, A.A., and N.M. Targett. 1996.   Induction of metamorphosis in Strombus gigas by red algal cues from their nursery grounds.   Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 196 : 29-52.  

-Boettcher, A.A., C. Dyer, J. Casey, and N.M. Targett. 1997.   Hydrogen peroxide induced metamorphosis of the queen conch, Strombus gigas . Aquaculture 148 :247-258.

-Zhainazarov, A.B., M. Wachowiak, A. Boettcher, S. Elenes, and B.W. Ache.1997. Ionotropic GABA receptor from lobster olfactory projection neurons.  Journal of Neurophysiology 77 :2235-2251.

-Boettcher, A.A. and N.M. Targett. 1998.   Role of chemical inducers in larval metamorphosis of queen conch, Strombus gigas Linnaeus: relationship to other marine invertebrate systems. Biological Bulletin 194 :132-142.

-Raab-Graham, K.F., L.J. Cirilo, A.A. Boettcher, C.M. Radeke, and C.A. Vandenberg (1999) Membrane Topology of the Amino-terminal Region of the Sulfonylurea Receptor. Journal of Biological Chemistry 274: 29122–29129

-Boone, E., A.A. Boettcher, T.D. Sherman, and J.J. O'Brien. (2003) Characterization of settlement cues used by the rhizocephalan barnacle Loxothylacus texanus . Marine Ecology Progress Series 252 :187-197.

-Tindle, S., E. Boone, J.J. O'Brien, and A.A. Boettcher. (2004) Effects of salinity on larval stages of the Rhizocephalan barnacle Loxothylacus texanus : survival and metamorphosis in response to the host, Callinectes sapidus .   Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 320: 165-176.

-Boone, E., A.A. Boettcher, T.D. Sherman, and J.J. O'Brien. (In press) What constrains the geographic and host range of the rhizocephalan Loxothylacus texanus in the wild? Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology.

-Partridge, C., C. Cazalas, J. Rozelle, J. Hemming, and A. Boettcher. (in press) Small-scale captive breeding of an euryhaline pipefish. World Aquaculture.

-Boettcher, A.A. (in review) Heat shock induced metamorphosis of the queen conch, Strombus gigas:   Comparison with induction by algal associated cues.

-Caldwell, M., B. Travana, H. Long, A. Duque. and A. Boettcher. (in prep) Role of heat shock proteins in the induction of queen conch metamorphosis.


CURRENT FUNDING

-National Science Foundation (2001-2004) RUI Collaborative Proposal: Mechanisms of Induced Pathogen Resistance in Seagrasses. Principal Investigator . (Co-PIs: Dr. Thomas Arnold, Dr. Christopher Tanner, Dr. Timothy Sherman).

-National Science Foundation (2001-2004) Proteins: Structure and Function (NSF REU site).
Co-Investigator . (PI:Dr. Julio Turrens, and numerous other co-PIs).

-Merck-American Association of Science (2001-2004) USA Joint Chemistry-Biology Merck-AAAS Undergraduate Research Program. Principal Investigator (numerous other co-PIs).

-Environmental Protection Agency-Alabama Center for Estuarine Studies. (2003-2004) Characterization of glycoprotein cues used by the parasitic rhizocephalan barnacle Loxothylacus texanus to identify its blue crab host, Callinectes sapidus. Principal Investigator. (Co-PIs: Dr.Timothy Sherman, Dr. Jack O'Brien).

-U.S. Department of Commerce, National Marine Fisheries Service - Alabama Oyster Reef Restoration Program.   (2003-2005).   Environmental Impacts on Oyster Larvae and Spat:   Use of Heat Shock Proteins as Biomarkers.   Principal Investigator .      

CURRENT GRADUATE STUDENTS
     

 

   
 

Melanie Caldwell:   Influence of environmental conditions on disease resistance in seagrass

B. Matthew Dawson:  Marine natural products

Jason Herrmann:   Cues involved in Loxothylacus texanus host identification

Anna Penton:   Community structure across invasive and indigenous aquatic plants  

Nobuo Ueda: Responses of oyster larvae to environmental stresses


CURRENT UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

Kate Sheehan:  Effects of environmental estrogens on Syngnathid reproduction

Mimi Turrens: Seagrass-pathogen interactions

PREVIOUS GRADUTE STUDENTS

Tray Weathington Hamil:   Endothelial cell phenotypes in the fully differentiated lung. MS 2003.

Charlyn Partridge: Reproductive role of the male gulf pipefish, Syngnathus scovelli .   MS 2003.

Lonnie Driskell: SAM Transport in Rickettsia prowazekii


PREVIOUS UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

Jeff Bolland:   Breeding and population cycles of the Gulf pipefish

LaTina Laws Breeden:   Influence of Labyrinthula exposure on phenolic levels in seagrass

Anya Malloy: Responses of calico scallop to hypoxia

Jessica Rozelle:  Use of gas chromatography in the elucidation of carbohydrates

 

COURSES TAUGHT
 
     
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