Hard-core PHYS meets Ecotox at Austevoll!

17 January 2019 – Holly Shiels and Ph.D. student Martins Ainuera from the University of Manchester, UK, join Elin Sørhus to work in the electrophysiology lab at Austevoll.

The work is one component of a large IMR project – EGGTOX, led by IMR researcher Sonnich Meier – the aim of which is to unravel the mechanistic effects of crude oil toxicity on early life stages of cold-water marine teleosts. This knowledge is vital for understanding the impact of accidental oil spills from offshore petroleum activities on fishes. The heart is the first organ to develop in fish larvae and its correct maintenance is crucial for survival into adulthood. Thus, a secondary goal is to define the mechanisms of crude oil toxicity on the electrical and contractile properties of the fish heart.

To do this, Elin, Holly and Martins are investigating how various oil components affect the electrical activity if the cod and halibut heart. Specifically, they are studying the impact of a single component of crude oil with known cardiotoxicity, and two of its metabolic derivatives, with potentially potent cardiotoxic effects. A thorough understanding of cardiotoxic mechanisms will improve ecological risk assessments, environmental health monitoring, and the development of advanced technologies.

The heart preparation – 50 mg (5mm) hearts from 60 g (20 cm) Atlantic
cod perfused, exposed to the toxin, and stimulated to
record electromyograms
And… electromyograms!