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EcoPhysiology and Conservation: The Contribution of Endocrinology and Immunology

Organizers: Robert Stevenson (UMass Boston), Shea Tuberty (Appalachian State University), John Wingfield (University of Washington) and Peter deFur (Virginia Commonwealth University; Environmental Stewardship Concepts).

Sponsored by DCE, DDCB, DIZ, National Science Foundation, and The Crustacean Society

From hormones to antibodies: Physiologists offer new approaches in the global biodiversity conservation effort.

Climate change, ozone depletion, habitat loss and the release of toxic chemicals are among many factors that threaten the health of our environment and directly or indirectly contribute to biodiversity loss.

This year the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology is sponsoring a symposium titled "Ecophysiology and Conservation: The Contribution of Endocrinology and Immunology" to help address the loss of biodiversity.

Physiologists from many sub-disciplines (integrative, comparative, evolutionary, and environmental) are gathering to compare approaches and to define the unique contributions they can make in the emerging field of Conservation Physiology.

A host of conservation issues are being addressed. Scientists are developing new tools that identify stressed and unhealthy animals in the field based on immunological and endocrine signals. They are also using physiological tools to investigate the mechanistic underpinnings of behavioral choices that determine source and sink populations and the carrying capacity of specific habitats.

One of the co organizers of the symposium, Dr. Rob Stevenson of UMass Boston thinks that the presentations about amphibians will generate lots of interest because amphibian populations are so threatened. He added "Their porous skins make them especially vulnerable to many kinds of toxic chemicals."

Another co organizer, Dr. Shea Tuberty of Appalachian State University has gathered a number of scientists working on endocrine disrupters in invertebrates. He commented, "due to their important positions in all aquatic and terrestrial food webs, invertebrate populations must be conserved to ensure the health of fish, bird, and mammal species."

The goal of our symposium is to initiate a field the organizers have termed Conservation Physiology. Conservation physiology will help establish better mechanistic and theoretical linkages across levels of biological organization and between the ecological, behavioral, and genetic studies currently of focus in Conservation Biology.

Society president and co-organizer Professor John Wingfield of the University of Washington noted, "This symposium represents a concerted effort by our society to address the global issue of 'ecosystem health'." He added, "Young scientists are especially concerned about biodiversity loss and the older generation of ecophysiologists have first-hand experience with the losses of populations at their field sites."

Dr. Stevenson hopes that papers produced from the symposium will encourages physiologists to use their knowledge in the preservation of biodiversity.

This symposium will begin the process of drawing these scientists together and identifying conservation as a new direction in physiology. This symposium is supported in part by The Crustacean Society, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the SICB Divisions of Comparative Endocrinology and Invertebrate Zoology.

Supported by a Grant (#034822) of the National Science Foundation.

Click here to download MS Word file containing all abstracts.


Day 1

Session I

Conservation Physiology: Overviews in Vertebrate Endocrinology and Immunology

Chair: Rob Stevenson


Robert Stevenson

Welcome and Symposium Introduction.


Susumu Ishii

Endocrine Approaches to Conservation Biology using Classic and Modern Techniques.


Cynthia Carey

How Physiological Methods and Concepts Can Be Used in Conservation.


John Wingfield

Field Endocrinology and Conservation Biology.


Sam Wasser

Integrating Physiological and Genetic Approaches for Landscape Conservation.


Mickie Powell

Reproductive Hormone Concentrations in the Atlantic Hagfish Myxine glutinosa.


Louise Rollins-Smith

Antimicrobial Peptide Defenses in Amphibian Skin.


Tyrone Hayes

Conservation Physiology: The Amphibian Response to Pesticide Contamination.


Cathy Propper

Non-conventional Measures of Endocrine Disruption: From Orphan Nuclear Receptors to Pheromones.


Michael Baker

Xenobiotics and the Evolution of Multicellular Animals.


Lou Guillette

Aquatic Species in Ecosystems at Risk: Genomic Approaches for Assessing Normal and Abnormal Endocrine Responses.


Poster Session

Day 2

Session II

Conservation Physiology: Invertebrate Endocrine Disruptors I

Chair: Shea Tuberty


Shea Tuberty



Milton Fingerman

A retrospective look at the development of ecotoxicology from Rachel Carson to the present.


Enmin Zou

Impact of xenobiotics on crustacean molting.


Geoff Scott

Agricultural and Urban NPS Runoff Effects on Grass Shrimp Population Life History Dynamics.


Chuck McKenney

The Influence of Insect JHA’s on Metamorphosis and Reproduction in Estuarine Crustaceans.


Shea Tuberty

Ecdysone responses of two estuarine crustaceans exposed through complete larval development to juvenile hormone agonist insecticides.


Sandy Raimondo

Population-level response of the mysid, Americamysis bahia, to varying thiobencarb concentrations based on age-structured population models.


Coffee Break

Day 2

Session III

Conservation Physiology: Invertebrate Endocrine Disruptors II

Chair: Peter deFur


Peter DeFur

Importance of invertebrate models for EDC's in the field.


Michael Horst

Acute Effects of Methoprene on Survival, Cuticular Morphogenesis and Shell Biosynthesis in the American Lobster, Homarus americanus.


Tom Wilson

Response of Drosophila melanogaster to insect growth regulator insecticides.


Koji Arizono

The occurrence of intersex in Japanese freshwater crab.


Matthew Sanders

Vitellin-like proteins in larval Crustacea: potential biomarkers of xeno-oestrogen exposure.


Ernie Chang

The Hormones Regulating Crustacean Growth, Metabolism, and Reproduction: Multiple Targets for Endocrine Disruption.



Day 2

Session IV

Conservation Physiology: Invertebrate Endocrine Disruptors III

Chair: Shea Tuberty


Ian Callard

Caenorhabitis elegans and Elliptio complanata: steroid responses and potential steroid response pathways.


Eva Oberdorster

Expression of the peptide hormone APGWamide in imposex and normal snails: A neurotoxicity mechanism for imposex induction.


Gerald LeBlanc

Testosterone-Fatty Acid Esterification: A Unique Target for the Endocrine Toxicity of Tributyltin to Gastropods.


Kevin Krajiniak

A survey of invertebrate FMRFamide-Related Peptides: Annelid Endocrine Disruptors.


Carsten Muller

Pheromonal communication in Nereids and the likely intervention by petroleum derived pollutants.


Ann Tarrant

Effects of Estrogens on Reef-building Corals: Comparisons with Vertebrates.


Jennifer Fox

Non-traditional target of endocrine disrupting chemicals: the roots of hormone signaling.


Poster Sessions