Date of Award
Honors Thesis Number
Epigean (surface) and hypogean (cave) habitats differ significantly, thereby influencing organisms that inhabit these environments in varying ways. As organisms move from surface to cave environments, they. adapt to cave conditions: constant darkness, relatively constant temperatures year-round, low food availability, and high humidity. Fish adjusted to cave life often experience reductions in pigmentation, eye size, and metabolic rate. Metabolism is, in general, influenced by temperature, seasonal• • changes, photoperiod, and food availability. The objective of this research was to understand the alteration of metabolic rate in laboratory acclimated Cottus carolinae (banded sculpin) in response to photoperiod and food availability.
Metabolic rates of C. carolinae were measured after acclimation to laboratory aquaria. After initial metabolic measurement, C. carolinae were placed into one of four treatments: 1) 24-hours dark, low food availability, 2) 24-hours dark, high food availability, 3) 12-hours light: 12-hours dark, low food availability, and 4) 12-hours light: 12-hours dark, high food availability. After eight weeks of acclimation to experimental treatments, metabolic rates of fish were measured following the same protocol used in initial measurements. Results indicated no statistically significant differences existed in C. carolinae as a result of photoperiod, food availability, or the interaction ofthe two. Also, no significant differences existed between laboratory and field measurements from cave and surface environments. However, many variables were identified that may have influenced fish metabolism in the laboratory. Further study is needed to determine influences of photoperiod and food availability on metabolism of C. carolinae.