Biochemical Mechanisms of Olfactory Injury in Salmon
Evan Gallagher, Director
Funding from National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Superfund Research Program (SRP) is supporting our investigations of mechanisms of chemical-mediated neurobehavioral injury to salmon. These physiological impacts can occur at low chemical concentrations that occur in Superfund sites, and can negatively impact salmon behaviors that are critical to survival, including homing, feeding, and predator-prey avoidance. We integrate molecular, biochemical, physiological and behavioral approaches to understand the susceptibility of Pacific salmon to neurotoxic metals and pesticides. We are also using zebrafish, including olfactory transgenics, to address mechanisms of olfactory injury that are relevant to wild salmon, including understanding the cellular processes that underlie recovery from olfactory injury following metal exposures. Genomics and microRNA technologies are identifying gene-environment interactions that occur during the process of salmon olfactory injury. Ultimately, our project aims to develop mechanism-based biomarkers of neuropathic injury that can be used in monitoring the health of salmon and other fish species at Superfund sites, and to effectively evaluate site remediation outcomes.