Date of Completion

Spring 5-9-2010

Thesis Advisor(s)

Hans Laufer

Honors Major

Cell Biology


Cell and Developmental Biology | Cell Biology | Life Sciences | Molecular Biology


Alkylphenols are pollutants that are present in marine sediments and fishes. In earlier work it has been discovered that alkylphenols are present in the Homarus americanus, or the American lobster. Research suggests that alkylphenols could behave as endocrine disruptors as they have been found to affect juvenile hormone activity. It has been hypothesized that lobsters may be able to rid themselves of alkylphenol contamination through secreting these compounds into the environment or sequestering them in their tissues. In this study, I address the question of how lobsters may rid themselves of alkylphenols by analyzing hemolymph, muscle, gill, and shell samples and by looking for the presence of alkylphenols in natural and artificially injected lobsters. A total of thirty lobsters were analyzed. In my first study I found alkylphenols only in the gill tissue samples of natural lobsters after alkylphenols were initially found in the hemolymph, and found none in the muscle and shell samples. The types of alkylphenols found in the gills were often different than the alkylphenols found in the hemolymph. The gills are known as a site for exchange for the lobster. The lobster may not only be excreting alkylphenols from its gill surfaces but these findings suggest that the lobster may also be acquiring alkylphenols in the environment from these surfaces. It is possible that the lobsters may have ingested additional contaminants after the hemolymph samples were taken and before the gill samples were taken. As for the shell and muscle samples, it is possible that by our method the levels were too low to detect since we have a threshold of detection of 1ng/mL. It is also a conclusion that alkylphenols were not sequestered in these tissues. In the second study, an expanded set of muscles samples from natural lobsters were tested as well as additional lobsters that were artificially injected with one of our alkylphenol compounds of interest, compound three. We found that lobsters injected with peak three showed significantly higher alkylphenol concentrations in all tissues, most notably the gill samples. The non-injected lobsters that died shortly after being in the laboratory, showed mostly peak three but their overall values were much less than those of the injected lobsters.