Open Access Thesis
Master of Science (MS)
Department or School
The bloom-forming alga Microcystis produces the hepatotoxin microcystin-LR. Removing this toxin from drinking water requires expensive treatments; current analytical methods are incapable of real-time monitoring. Crayfish are resistant to microcystin-LR toxicity and respond well to operant conditioning. I hypothesized that crayfish could sense and be trained to respond to microcystin-LR via electroshocks for use as biomonitors. In the microcystin detection experiment, Procambarus clarkii moved away from microcystin-LR (p < 0.001) while Orconectes rusticus did not respond (p = 0.28). Neither species could be reliably trained to move to the tank’s center when microcystin-LR was present. To understand why, I tested Procambarus clarkii’s ability to respond to a neutral scent using positive and negative reinforcement. They associated the scent with positive reinforcement (p < 0.001) but not negative reinforcement (p = 0.21), suggesting crayfish may be incapable of associating scents with negative tactile stimuli.
McRobb, Kayla, "Crayfish as a biomonitor for the algal toxin microcystin-LR" (2016). Master's Theses and Doctoral Dissertations. 849.