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Marine Metabolomics

How can we monitor the health of marine organisms and how is health affected by changes in the environment? Answering this question is one of the goals of the Marine Metabolomics Laboratory at CMAST. What’s unique about this program is that the health of marine organisms is not always apparent; by studying various biomarkers in either a lab setting or in the field, we can assess the health of an organism before it shows visible signs of stress.

Under the guidence of Dr. Michael Stoskopf, this program uses advanced analytical techniques to study the complex patterns of metabolism of species and groups of species as they interact with their environments.  A primary focus is the study of the kinetics and dynamics of changes in lipid products of metabolism and how those profiles can be used to evaluate the health of marine animals for early detection of stress and disease.

Analytical equipment such as gas chromatography, high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and other instruments can be used to identify the sources of stress such as toxins or poor environmental conditions. Most recently this program has been looking at the ecological kinetics of malathion at the terrestrial/aquatic interface.