Jonathan Velotta

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== Contact Information==
 
== Contact Information==
  
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== About Me ==
 
== About Me ==
I am currently a doctoral student at the University of Connecticut, working under the care and guidance of [http://www.eeb.uconn.edu/people/eschultz/ Dr. Eric Schultz].  <br/>
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I am currently a doctoral student at the University of Connecticut, working in the lab of [http://www.eeb.uconn.edu/people/eschultz/ Dr. Eric Schultz].  <br/>
  
 
My research interests are broad, but my work centers around the physiological, molecular and evolutionary ecology of fishes <br/>
 
My research interests are broad, but my work centers around the physiological, molecular and evolutionary ecology of fishes <br/>
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== Education ==
 
== Education ==
  
B.S. Biology 2003-2007 <br/>
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Ph.D. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology <br/>
Fairfield University, Fairfield CT <br/>
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2008-present <br/>
Research: The role of testosterone in male rat sexual behavior.   Avian stress physiology. <br/>
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University of Connecticut, Storrs CT <br/>
 +
 
 +
B.S. Biology <br/>
 +
2003-2007 <br/>
 +
[http://www.fairfield.edu Fairfield University] <br/>
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Research Experience: (1) The role of testosterone in male rat sexual behavior, with [http://www.fairfield.edu/academic/profile.html?id=89 Dr. Shannon Harding].  (2) Avian stress physiology, with [http://www.faculty.fairfield.edu/biology/sigxi/Faculty/Walker.html Dr. Brian Walker]. <br/>
  
  
 
== Dissertation Research ==
 
== Dissertation Research ==
  
My dissertation research focuses on answering questions regarding the osmoregulatory system in bony fishes, that is, the set of physiological mechanisms by which water and ion homoestasis is maintained.  Specifically, I am investigating both the micro-evolution and the ontogeny of the osmoregulatory system in an anadromous shad known as the alewife (Alosa psuedoharengus) <br/>
 
  
The reason I have chosen to study alewives is because of their interesting life history.  Most alewives are anadromous - adults inhabit the open ocean and return yearly to small, freshwater systems to spawn.  In addition, multiple populations of alewives have been independently restricted to freshwater systems year-round - a phenomenon known as land-locking.  Land-locking in alewives provide a unique opportunity to investigate the specific physiological and molecular adaptations made by fish when they transition from living in seawater to specializing in freshwater.  Not only does this represent a significant gap in our knowledge of osmoregulatory physiology, but changes to this system that permitted organisms to specialize in FW represent major evolutionary transitions <br/>
 
  
My research focuses mainly on the osmoregulatory processes of the gills, since gills are the main site of ion exchange in fish. My endpoints of interest however include survival, plasma osmolality, NKA activity, gene expression and transcriptome modifications made by these organisms after prolonged periods of salinity challenge <br/>
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[[Image:AlewifeMod.jpg|left]]
  
  
  
[[Image:Alewifegillmod.jpg|center|Gill arch from an adult alewife]]
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My dissertation research focuses on answering questions regarding the osmoregulatory system in bony fishes, that is, the set of physiological mechanisms by which water and ion homoestasis is maintained. Specifically, I am investigating the evolution of the osmoregulatory system using an anadromous clupeid fish known as the alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus). <br/>
  
 +
The reason I have chosen to study alewives is because of their interesting life history.  Alewives are ancestrally anadromous - adults inhabit the open ocean and return yearly to small, freshwater systems to spawn.  As members of the family Clupeidae, alewives are of a ancestrally and predominantly marine family.  In Connecticut, multiple populations of alewife have been independently restricted to freshwater year-round - a phenomenon known as land-locking.  Land-locking in alewives provides a unique opportunity to investigate the specific physiological and molecular adaptations made by fish when they transition from living in seawater to specializing in freshwater - environments that require drastically different methods of osmoregulating.  Not only does this represent a significant gap in our knowledge of osmoregulatory physiology, but changes to this system that permitted organisms to specialize in freshwater represent major evolutionary transitions.  Furthermore, the ecological transition from seawater to freshwater has been important in the creation of diversity among fishes, yet we know little about the adaptations that facilitate such transitions. <br/>
  
 +
My research focuses mainly on the osmoregulatory processes of the gills, since gills are the main site of ion exchange in fish.  I explore how survival, plasma osmolality, NKA activity and gene expression at several candidate osmoregulatory loci differ between landlocked and anadromous alewives when challenged in a common salinity environment.  Such experiments identify the physiological mechanisms that have diverged between landlocked and anadromous alewives.  So far I have shown that landlocked alewives are less tolerant of seawater than anadromous alewives, and have less effective ion secretion mechanisms at the gill.  These differences appear to be at least partially driven by changes in the expression of genes that code for ion transporters involved in ion secretion at the gill.  Natural selection has likely acted to reduce osmoregulatory function in seawater among landlocked alewives, since it may bear constitutive energetic costs.  My current work is aimed at understanding differences between independently evolved landlocked populations, and identifying the genomic mechanisms that underlie differences in osmoregulatory function between the two population types. <br/>
  
  
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[[Image:Alewives2.jpg|left|frame|Alewives are captured using a large purse seine]]
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[[Image:Alewifegillmod.jpg|center|frame|Gill arch from an adult alewife]]
  
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==Teaching Experience==
  
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Instructor: <br>
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[http://hydrodictyon.eeb.uconn.edu/eebedia/index.php/Field_Methods_in_Fish_Biology_2013 EEB 3898 Field Methods in Fish Biology] <br>
 +
NRE 2345 - Introduction to Fisheries and Wildlife (co-instructor)  <br/>
 +
<br>
 +
Teaching Assistant: <br>
 +
BIO 1102 - Foundations of Biology <br/>
 +
BIO 1108 - Principles of Biology <br/>
 +
EEB 3247 - Limnology <br/>
 +
EEB 4200 - The Biology of Fishes <br/>
 +
MCB 5427 - Laboratory Techniques in Functional Genomics <br/>
  
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== Publications ==
  
 +
Velotta JP, Schultz ET, McCormick SD, O'Neill RJ. 2014. Relaxed selection causes microevolution of seawater osmoregulation and gene expression in landlocked Alewives. Oecologia. Accepted manuscript.
  
 +
Michalak K, Czesny S, Epifanio J, Snyder RJ, Schultz ET, Velotta JP, McCormick SD, Brown BL, Santopietro G, Michalak P. 2014. Beta-thymosin gene polymorphism facilitates freshwater invasiveness of Alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus). J Exp Zool A.
  
 +
Harding SM and Velotta JP. 2011. Comparing the relative amount of testosterone required to restore sexual arousal, motivation, and performance in male rats. Horm Behav: 59(5), 666-673
  
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== Professional Affiliations and Honor Societies ==
  
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Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology <br/>
 +
American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists <br/>
 +
American Fisheries Society <br/>
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Sigma Xi <br/>
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Phi Beta Kappa <br/>
  
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[[Image:JVBrideWeir1.jpg|center|frame|Being a fish biologist requires getting wet]]
  
  
 
[[Category:EEB Graduate Students|Velotta]]  [[Category:EEB People|Velotta]]
 
[[Category:EEB Graduate Students|Velotta]]  [[Category:EEB People|Velotta]]

Revision as of 12:58, 9 April 2014

JVPL.jpg

Contents

Contact Information

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of Connecticut
75 North Eagleville Road
Storrs, CT 06269

Office: Pharmacy/Biology 210
Phone: 860-486-4694
E-mail: jonathan.velotta@uconn.edu


About Me

I am currently a doctoral student at the University of Connecticut, working in the lab of Dr. Eric Schultz.

My research interests are broad, but my work centers around the physiological, molecular and evolutionary ecology of fishes

I'm also on Facebook


Education

Ph.D. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
2008-present
University of Connecticut, Storrs CT

B.S. Biology
2003-2007
Fairfield University
Research Experience: (1) The role of testosterone in male rat sexual behavior, with Dr. Shannon Harding. (2) Avian stress physiology, with Dr. Brian Walker.


Dissertation Research

AlewifeMod.jpg


My dissertation research focuses on answering questions regarding the osmoregulatory system in bony fishes, that is, the set of physiological mechanisms by which water and ion homoestasis is maintained. Specifically, I am investigating the evolution of the osmoregulatory system using an anadromous clupeid fish known as the alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus).

The reason I have chosen to study alewives is because of their interesting life history. Alewives are ancestrally anadromous - adults inhabit the open ocean and return yearly to small, freshwater systems to spawn. As members of the family Clupeidae, alewives are of a ancestrally and predominantly marine family. In Connecticut, multiple populations of alewife have been independently restricted to freshwater year-round - a phenomenon known as land-locking. Land-locking in alewives provides a unique opportunity to investigate the specific physiological and molecular adaptations made by fish when they transition from living in seawater to specializing in freshwater - environments that require drastically different methods of osmoregulating. Not only does this represent a significant gap in our knowledge of osmoregulatory physiology, but changes to this system that permitted organisms to specialize in freshwater represent major evolutionary transitions. Furthermore, the ecological transition from seawater to freshwater has been important in the creation of diversity among fishes, yet we know little about the adaptations that facilitate such transitions.

My research focuses mainly on the osmoregulatory processes of the gills, since gills are the main site of ion exchange in fish. I explore how survival, plasma osmolality, NKA activity and gene expression at several candidate osmoregulatory loci differ between landlocked and anadromous alewives when challenged in a common salinity environment. Such experiments identify the physiological mechanisms that have diverged between landlocked and anadromous alewives. So far I have shown that landlocked alewives are less tolerant of seawater than anadromous alewives, and have less effective ion secretion mechanisms at the gill. These differences appear to be at least partially driven by changes in the expression of genes that code for ion transporters involved in ion secretion at the gill. Natural selection has likely acted to reduce osmoregulatory function in seawater among landlocked alewives, since it may bear constitutive energetic costs. My current work is aimed at understanding differences between independently evolved landlocked populations, and identifying the genomic mechanisms that underlie differences in osmoregulatory function between the two population types.


Alewives are captured using a large purse seine
Gill arch from an adult alewife

Teaching Experience

Instructor:
EEB 3898 Field Methods in Fish Biology
NRE 2345 - Introduction to Fisheries and Wildlife (co-instructor)

Teaching Assistant:
BIO 1102 - Foundations of Biology
BIO 1108 - Principles of Biology
EEB 3247 - Limnology
EEB 4200 - The Biology of Fishes
MCB 5427 - Laboratory Techniques in Functional Genomics

Publications

Velotta JP, Schultz ET, McCormick SD, O'Neill RJ. 2014. Relaxed selection causes microevolution of seawater osmoregulation and gene expression in landlocked Alewives. Oecologia. Accepted manuscript.

Michalak K, Czesny S, Epifanio J, Snyder RJ, Schultz ET, Velotta JP, McCormick SD, Brown BL, Santopietro G, Michalak P. 2014. Beta-thymosin gene polymorphism facilitates freshwater invasiveness of Alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus). J Exp Zool A.

Harding SM and Velotta JP. 2011. Comparing the relative amount of testosterone required to restore sexual arousal, motivation, and performance in male rats. Horm Behav: 59(5), 666-673

Professional Affiliations and Honor Societies

Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology
American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
American Fisheries Society
Sigma Xi
Phi Beta Kappa

Being a fish biologist requires getting wet
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