Nathan Rank

Sonoma State University

Local adaptation in montane leaf beetles
Study Objectives (Page 4 of 4)

Introduction & Collaborators

Enzyme polymorphisms

Environmental Gradients & Stress Proteins

Study Objectives

Research Home

See also research summary.
We will investigate thermal adaptation in natural populations ofChrysomela aeneicollis, in the eastern Sierra Nevada, California. To accomplish this goal, we will investigate quantitative physiological characters that change in response to environmental temperature and biochemical characters that vary genetically among natural populations of beetles. Our specific objectives are to:

  • Determine how genetic variation in the polymorphic enzyme phosphoglucose isomerase (PGI) relates to thermal stress tolerance.
  • Characterize effects of temperature variation on heat shock protein expression, PGI activity, and kinetics of the main PGI alloforms.
  • Quantify local adaptation in thermal tolerance by transplanting genotypes among heterogeneous environments and measuring their survival and performance.
  • Expand population surveys of allele frequency and environmental temperature into new drainages to determine the degree of local thermal adaptation to those environments.

To accomplish these objectives, we will conduct field and laboratory research at White Mountain Research Station during the summer and laboratory biochemical research at Sonoma State University and Santa Clara University during the winter.


I am looking for a Masters student to participate in this research starting in Summer 1999. Support for this research from the National Science Foundation is pending from a proposal submitted in January 1999. Additional support for graduate student research may be available from White Mountain Research Station and Sonoma State University. Sonoma State University has an active Master's program that emphasizes graduate student research in a number of areas in organismal and molecular biology.

During the summer of 1999, we will conduct the following field studies:

  • We will collect adult beetles of known body temperatures along altitudinal gradients in new drainages in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
  • We will conduct a larval transplant experiment to determine whether beetle larvae survive and perform best in their natal drainage.

During the follwoing year, we will

  • Isolate and purify PGI from field-collected adults
  • Measure stress protein levels and physiological parameters for beetles from the transplant experiment.
  • Use allozyme electrophoresis to quantify genetic variation among new populations of leaf beetles.

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Research Interests|Nathan Rank's Homepage |Department of Biology | Sonoma State University

January 23, 1999 NER