Donald L. Lovett
 Professor
Department of Biology
The College of New Jersey

                    Office:  Biology 129                                       Office Phone: (609) 771-2876
                Research Lab:  Biology 134                          Lab Phone:  (609) 771-2675
                EM Facility:  Biology 143                               e-mail lovett@tcnj.edu

 


 

Research Interests
Vitae
Publications
Courses Taught
Curricular and Pedagogical Work
Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society
Scholarships, Fellowships and Research Opportunities for Students
Microscopy Facilities at TCNJ


 

RESEARCH INTERESTS


Osmoregulation in Crabs  
        My long-range research goals have been to
understand how crabs osmoregulate (maintain salt balance in the blood).  In this work I study anatomy, ultrastructure, cell biology, and physiology of the gill in estuarine crabs.  The estuarine crab is an interesting creature:  it is able to tolerate exposure to a wide range of environmental salinity from fresh water to full-strength seawater to hypersaline conditions.  Not only does it tolerate a wide range of salinities, but it can tolerate a rapid transfer from hypersaline to freshwater a treatment that would kill most organisms.  We know that the gills are the primary organ in the crab used to osmoregulate and that during acclimation to various salinities, the crab modulates the activity of the enzyme Na+,K+-ATPase in the gills.  The real question is how does the crab do this?

       
 Previous investigators have examined either crab gill morphology or ATPase activity following acclimation to a change in salinity.  My research has examined how morphology and enzyme activity are linked and how they each may be regulated in the crab.  Specifically, I have described the differences between short-term (acute) and long-term (acclimation) responses to change in salinity.  If the crab is exposed to an acute change in salinity, the size of the osmoregulatory patches on the gills remains unchanged.  However, around four days after transfer to a different salinity, the size of the patch begins to change (it gets larger in low salinity).  Through studies of RNA and DNA ratios, I have determined that this change occurs through differentiation of existing cells in the gill, rather than by addition of new cells.

        In the course of examining the anatomy of the crab gill, I have found
that the gill does not function in the manner that has been hypothesized
for many years.  For example, I now hypothesize that a microvasculature
system in the crab actually represents a unique vascular system that is
separate from the blood circulatory system.  Furthermore, I serendipitously
discovered a new gland in the crab (which is connected to this micro-
vasculature).  If my hypotheses about the microvasculature and this new
gland prove to be correct and can be supported adequately by my data,
then this discovery could revolutionize the entire field of invertebrate
endocrinology.
         In recent years, my research has turned toward examining
endogenous compounds that may function in triggering osmoregulatory
mechanisms in crabs.  In particular, I have examined the effects of both
polyamines and methyl farnesoate (MF).  Polyamines have been shown to
affect both the activity of Na+,K+-ATPase and the differentiation of cells
in other organisms; I also have demonstrated that levels of polyamines in
the crab change when salinity changes.  Thus, it is logical to predict that
polyamines may be involved in modulating Na+,K+-ATPase activity in crabs
and in stimulating the differentiation of cells in gill during acclimation. 
Despite these discoveries, I had been unable to determine until recently
what triggers either the production of polyamines or other aspects of
osmoregulatory responses in gills.

        MF is a little-known hormone that is related chemically to insect juvenile hormone (JH).  Because JH is associated primarily with molting, metamorphosis, and sexual maturation, most research on MF in crustaceans has focused on similar functions.  I have hypothesize that MF is involved in the regulation of salt balance in the blood of crabs.  I have determined that MF, indeed, is intimately involved in the response of crabs to changes in salinity.  When salinity decreases, the level of MF in the blood increases and remains elevated as long as the salinity remains low.  The amount of MF in the blood and the activity of ATPase are inversely proportional to the salt content of the water.  My current research goal is to demonstrate whether changes in MF levels actually initiate the osmoregulatory response or whether levels of MF change in response to the stress induced by the crab being exposed to changes in salinity.  If there is an interaction between MF and the osmoregulatory response, the application of this work could be extended beyond the study of crabs; it may have application in medical research.   My work has been used by other investigators to develop controlled protocols for increasing hormone levels in arthropods, using techniques less stressful than the eye ablation that has been the standard technique for years.

         In addition to the traditional cell biology and invertebrate anatomy and physiology aspects of my
research, I recently have begun to incorporate techniques from molecular biology into my research.  Irrespective of what actually turns the osmoregulatory mechanism off and on in the crab, this response involves some aspect of genetic regulation.  Over the past year and a half I have adapted standard molecular biology techniques to use in my study of the crabs.  Using Western blots, I have quantified the amount of Na+, K+-ATPase enzyme present in gill tissue (which is different from measuring the activity of the enzyme) have determined that the crab synthesizes more enzyme when it acclimates to low salinity.  Using real time PCR, I have been able to quantify the amount of mRNA for Na+, K+-ATPase in the gills, and have found that the amount of mRNA increases transiently during acclimation to low salinity.  BY the time that crabs have acclimated to low salinity, the amount of mRNA returns to levels found in crabs acclimated to high salinity.

Shrimp Nutrition and Development of the Digestive System
        My anatomical and physiological studies of developmental changes in the digestive system of the shrimp have revealed a previously unknown model of metamorphosis.  My results have contradicted widely-held ideas about feeding and nutrition in crustaceans and served as a nucleus for debate about the validity of trends assumed to be universal for all crustaceans (i.e., mastication of food shifts from the mandibles to the gut at metamorphosis; lack of assimilation of foods is due to the absence of essential nutrients).  Most significantly, I observed and documented a process of reverse peristalsis in the gut of shrimp and demonstrated that the part of the shrimp designated as the intestine does not function in a manner similar to that of the human intestine. I continue to be involved with the field, and have recent collaborated with an investigator from Iran in studying the effects of probiotics in the ability of shrimp to digest and assimilate food.

Relative Growth in Crustaceans 
        Allometric (relative growth) characteristics have been used to estimate the size of an organism at the onset of sexual maturity.  In my work, I have proposed an argument against the common method used to quantify relative growth (i.e., least squares regression of log-transformed meristic data).  .The basic argument is that body parts typically do not grow logarithmically in relation to to total body length; they grow proportionally at a linear rate.
 



 

Vitae for Donald L. Lovett

EDUCATION

    University of Montana, Missoula
             B.A.S., Zoology (High Honors), 1975
             B.S., Fisheries (High Honors), 1975
                  Honors Thesis: Distribution of aquatic macroinvertebrates in thermal waters.
    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
             M.S., Resource Ecology, 1977
                  Master's Thesis: Horizontal migrations of zooplankton in a dystrophic bog lake.
    University of Southwestern Louisiana, Lafayette
             Ph.D., Evolutionary and Environmental Biology, 1988
                  Dissertation: Ontogeny of morphology, ultrastructure, and function in larval and
                  postlarval white shrimp Penaeus setiferus (Linnaeus 1767).

RESEARCH GRANTS AWARDED

     John O. Crane Fellowship and Baxter Fellowship.  2004.  The Marine Biological
        Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA.  Principal Investigator.  Physiological significance of methyl
        farnesoate in osmoregulation by crabs.  $7,550.

     National Science Foundation
, Integrative and Animal Biology (IBN-0240903).  2003-
        2006.  Co-principal Investigator with D.W. Borst.  Studies of methyl farnesoate in
        crustaceans: physiological significance and peptide regulation.  $480,300 ($126,396
        funded at TCNJ) plus $5,500 REU supplement.

     Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory. 
2002.  New Investigator Fellowship.
        Principal Investigator.  Modulation of Na+,K+-ATPase in estuarine crabs during acute and
        acclimation responses to salinity change.  $7,000. 
    
    Phi Kappa Phi, The College of New Jersey.  2001.   Student-Faculty Research Scholarship.
        Faculty Mentor.  Modulation of ATPase enzyme level and activity in the blue crab during
        acclimation to salinity change. $400 (awarded to student Joseph Burgents).
    Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research. 1998.  Faculty Mentor. Osmoregulatory modulation
        of Na+,K+-ATPase activity in crab gills by methyl farnesoate. $700 (awarded to student
        Michael Verzi).
    The Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA. 1998   MBL Associates
        Fellowship. Principal Investigator. Modulation of Na+,K+-ATPase by methyl farnesoate.
        $2,500. (declined).
    Phi Kappa Phi, The College of New Jersey. 1998.  Student-Faculty Research Scholarship.
        Faculty Mentor. Osmoregulation in crabs. $400 (awarded to student Michael Verzi).
    The Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA. 1997.  John O. Crane Fellowship
        and Esther and Joseph Klingenstein Fellowship. Principal Investigator. Methyl farnesoate
        and polyamine modulation of crustacean Na+,K+-ATPase. $9,130.
    National Science Foundation Research Opportunity Award. 1997.  Co-principal
        Investigator with D.W. Borst, NSF IBN-93-19206. The regulation of crustacean
        development and reproduction. $7,500.
    National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates. 1997.
        Co-principal Investigator with D.W. Borst, NSF IBN-93-19206. The regulation of
        crustacean development and reproduction. $3,000.
    Council for Undergraduate Research Summer Opportunity for Research (CURSOR).
        1993.  Principal Investigator with Jason Faris (student). In vitro effect of polyamines on
        kinetics of Na+/K+-ATPase from the gill of the blue crab Callinectes sapidus. $3,150.
    New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium Development Grant. 1990.  Principal
        Investigator. Mechanisms of osmoregulatory response in gills of the blue crab. $7,496.
    Lake Forest College Summer Research Grant. 1989.  Principal Investigator. Shoreline
        avoidance in Diaptomus leptopus. $1,750,
    Louisiana Sea Grant College Program. 1985-88.  Co-Principal Investigator with D.L.
        Felder. Ontogeny of feeding habits and of gut structure and function in the white and
        brown shrimp. $81,747,
    USL Foundation Development Research Grant. 1983-84.  Co-Principal Investigator with
        D.L. Felder. Evaluation of rotifer Brachionus plicatilis as a substitute for Artemia in feeding
        larvae of Macrobrachium rosenbergii. $1,000.

PUBLICATIONS (*-indicates student co-author)

Lovett, D.L., M.P. Verzi*, J.E. Burgents*, C.A. Tanner*, K. Glomski*, J.J. Lee*, and
           D. W. Towle.
 2006.  Expression profiles of Na+,K+-ATPase during acute and chronic
         hypo-osmotic stress
in the blue crab Callinectes sapidus.  Biological Bulletin 
         211:58-65.
Lovett, D.L., T. Colella*, A.C. Cannon*, D.H. Lee*, A. Evangelisto*, E.M. Muller*,
          and D.W. Towle.  2006.
  Effect of salinity on osmoregulatory patch epithelia in gills
        of the blue crab Callinectes sapidus.  Biological Bulletin 210:132-139.
Lovett, D.L., C.A. Tanner*, K. Glomski*, T.M. Ricart*, and D.W. Borst.  2006. The effect
        of seawater composition and osmolality on hemolymph levels of methyl farnesoate in the
        green crab Carcinus maenas.  Comp. Biochem. Physiol. Part A. 143:67-77.

Ziaei-Nejada*, S., M.H. Rezaeib, G.A. Takamic, D.L. Lovett, A.R. Mirvaghefia , and M.

          Shakourie.  2006.
 The effect of Bacillus spp. bacteria used as probiotics on digestive
        enzyme activity, survival and growth in the Indian white shrimp Fenneropenaeus indicus.                  
        Aquaculture
252:516-524.

Lovett,
D.L. , C.A. Tanner*, T.M. Ricart
*, and D.W. Borst.  2003.  Effect of seawater
        osmolality on hemolymph levels of methyl farnesoate in the green shore crab
Carcinus
        maenas.  Bull. Mount
Desert Island Biol. Lab. 43: 42:83-84.

Lovett,
D.L. , C.A.
Tanner*, T.M. Ricart*, and D.W. Towle.  2003.  Modulation of Na+,K+-   
        ATPase expression during acclimation to salinity change in the blue crab
Callinectes
        sapidus.
 
Bull. Mount Desert Island Biol. Lab. 42:103-104.

Lovett, D.L., M.P. Verzi*, P.D. Clifford*, and D.W. Borst.
2001.  Hemolymph levels of
        methyl farnesoate increase in response to osmotic stress in the green crab, Carcinus
        maenas
. Comp. Biochem Physiol. A.  128:299-306.
Lovett, D.L. 1999. A metamorphosis in teaching biology. Biosis 70(1):30-35.
Lovett, D.L., P.D. Clifford*, and D.W. Borst. 1997. Physiological stress elevates hemolymph
        levels of methyl farnesoate in the green crab, Carcinus maenas. Biol. Bull. 193(2):266-   
        267.
Ogan, J.*, A. Shaub*, D.L. Lovett, and D.W. Borst. 1997. Relationship of methyl
        transferase activity and methyl farnesoate levels in the spider crab, Libinia emarginata.
        Biol. Bull. 193(2):267-268.
Lovett, D.L., and S.A. Watts. 1995. Changes in polyamine levels in response to acclimation
        salinity in gills of the blue crab Callinectes sapidus Rathbun. Comp. Biochem.
        Physiol.110B:115-119.
Lovett, D.L., D.W. Towle, and J.E. Faris*. 1994. Salinity-sensitive alkaline phosphatase
        activity in gills of blue crab Callinectes sapidus Rathbun. Comp. Biochem. Physiol.
        109B:163-173.
Lovett, D.L. 1991. Review of Functional Morphology of Feeding and Grooming in Crustacea,
        B.E. Felgenhauer, L. Watling, and A.B. Thistle (eds). Crustacean Issues, Vol. 6, F.R.
        Schram (ed.). A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam. Quarterly Review of Biology 66:214.
Lovett, D.L. and D.L. Felder. 1990. Ontogenetic change of enzyme distribution and midgut
        function in developmental stages of Penaeus setiferus. Biol. Bull. 178:160-174.
Lovett, D.L. and D.L. Felder. 1990. Ontogenetic change in digestive enzyme activity of larval
        and postlarval white shrimp Penaeus setiferus. Biol. Bull. 178:146-159.
Lovett, D.L. and D.L. Felder. 1990. Ontogeny of kinematics in the gut of Penaeus setiferus.
        J. Crustacean Biology 10:53-68.
Lovett, D.L. and D.L. Felder. 1989. Ontogeny of gut morphology in the white shrimp
        Penaeus setiferus.  J. Morphology 201:253-272.
Lovett, D.L., and D.L. Felder. 1989. Application of regression techniques to studies of
        relative
        growth in crustaceans. J. Crustacean Biology 9:529-539.
Felder, D.L. and D.L. Lovett. 1989. Relative growth and sexual maturation in the estuarine
        ghost shrimp Callianassa jamaicense Schmitt. J. Crustacean Biology 9:540-553.
Lovett, D.L., and D.L. Felder. 1988. Evaluation of rotifer Brachionus plicatilis as a substitute
        for  Artemia in feeding larvae of Macrobrachium rosenbergiiAquaculture 71:331-338.

Lovett, D.L.  1981. 
A Guide to the Shrimps, Prawns, Lobsters, and Crabs of Malaysia and
       
Singapore.   Occasional Publications of the Faculty of Fisheries and Marine Science,
        Universiti Pertanian Malaysia No. 2. 156 pp. 


PUBLISHED ABSTRACTS (*-indicates student co-author)

McKeon-Fish, A.F.*, Treitler, P.C.*, and Lovett, D.L.  2006.  Modification of the α-subunit modulates Na+,K+-ATPase activity in gills of the euryhaline crabs Callinectes sapidus and Carcinus maenas. Integrative and Comparative Biology 46(6): in press.

Parikh, P.C.*, K.J. Tierney*, N.L.Gerber*, D.L. Lovett.  2005.  Na+,K+-ATPase activity in    
        gills of the green crab Carcinus maenas may be modulated by membrane trafficking
        during salinity change.  Integrative Comparative Biology 45(6):1175.

Novotney, D.*, Ding, X., Lahey, B.*, Lovett, D.L., and Borst, D.W.   2004. 
The site of yolk protein
        synthesis in the green crab.  Integrative and Comparative Biology 44(6):732.
Lee, J.J.*, Glomski, K.*, Tanner,
C.A.*, Borst, D.W., Lovett, D.  2004.  Hemolymph levels of
        Ca2+ may modulate methyl farnesoate levels in the green crab Carcinus maenas. 
        Integrative and Comparative Biology
44(6):718.
Lovett, D.L., C.A.Tanner*, K. Glomski*, and D.W. Towle.  2003.
  Induction of gene
        expression for Na+,K+-ATPase and actin during acclimation of the blue crab Callinectes
        sapidus
to dilute seawater.  Integrative and Comparative Biology 43(6):1044.

Tanner,
C.A. *, T.M. Ricart*, D.W. Borst, and D.L. Lovett.  2002. The effect of osmotic
        conditions on methyl farnesoate levels in the green crab, Carcinus maenas.  Integr.
        Comp. Biol.
422(6):1322.  
Lovett, D.L., T.M. Ricart*, C.A. Tanner*, and D.W. Towle.  2002.  Chronic exposure of the
        blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, to low salinity stimulates expression of Na+,K+-ATPase α-
        subunit mRNA and protein in gills.  Integr. Comp. Biol. 422(6):1269.
Burgents, J.E.*, and D.L. Lovett.  2001.  Is the increase in Na+,K+-ATPase activity observed
        hyperosmoregulation in the blue crab Callinectes sapidus due to stimulation of
        translation? Am. Zool. 421(5):84A.
Verzi, M.P.*, and D.L. Lovett.  1999.  An immunological analysis of the Na+,K+-ATPase
        protein in the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, during osmoregulation.  Am. Zool.
        39(5):66A.
Verzi, M.P.*, J.T. Ogan*, D.L. Lovett, and D.W. Borst. 1998. Change in methyl farnesoate
        levels in response to hemolymph osmolality in the green crab Carcinus maenas.
        Am. Zool. 38(5): 102A.
Verzi, M.P.* and D.L. Lovett. 1998. Osmoregulatory modulation of gill Na+,K+-ATPase
        activity from the blue crab Callinectes sapidus by endogenous compounds. Bull. N.J.
        Acad. Sci. 43(1):21.
Lovett, D.L., P.D. Clifford*, and D.W. Borst. 1997. Hypoosmotic stress causes sustained
        elevation of methyl farnesoate levels in the green crab Carcinus maenas.  Am. Zool.
        37(4):86A.
Ogan, J.*, A. Shaub*, D.L. Lovett, and D.W. Borst. 1997. Methyl farnesoate (MF) levels
        and the mandibular organ (M0) activity in the spider crab, Libinia emarginata.  Am. Zool.
        37(5):150A.
Megjugorac, N.J.*, and D.L. Lovett. 1997. The microvasculature within gills of the blue crab
        Callinectes sapidus is a network of ducts extending from a newly-discovered gland.
        Bull. N.J. Acad. Sci. 42(1):17.
Stevenson, V.A.*, and D.L. Lovett. 1995. A new gland in the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus:
        A new model of secretion delivery? Am. Zool. 35(5):113A.
Muller, E.M.*, E. Terrill*, and D.L. Lovett. 1995. Further studies of the effect of
        polyamines on the activity of Na+,K+-ATPase from gills of the blue crab, Callinectes
        sapidus Am. Zool. 35(5):75A.
Gallagher, M. *, and D.L. Lovett. 1994. In vitro effects of polyamines on reaction kinetics of
        Na+,K+-ATPase from the gills of the blue crab Callinectes sapidus.  Bull. N. J. Acad.
        Sci. 39(1):27.
Gallagher, M.*, and D.L. Lovett. 1994. Morphology of the "microvasculature" in gills of the
        blue crab, Callinectes sapidus.  Am. Zool. 34(5):97A.
Bloor, J.J.*, and D.L. Lovett. 1994. A re-evaluation of the histology of gills of the blue crab
        Callinectes sapidus: The "microvasculature" actually is a series of excretory ducts.
        Bull. N. J. Acad. Sci. 39(1):26.
Rogalski, L.*, R. Bhattacharya*, M. Kayne, and D. Lovett. 1994. Ultrastructural studies
        of the freshwater alga Haematococcus pluvialis, during transition from the vegetative to
        the akinete stage. Bull. N. J. Acad. Sci. 39(1):35.
Lovett, D.L., and J.E. Faris*. 1993. Polyamines affect Na+,K+-ATPase and alkaline
        phosphatase in blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) gills. Am. Zool. 33(5):31A
Faris, J.E.*, and D.L. Lovett. 1993.  Isolation and characterization of two species of alkaline
        phosphatase from the gills of the blue crab Callinectes sapidus.  Bull. N. J. Acad. Sci.
        38(1):15.
Smith, B.E.*, R.F. Ott, Jr.*, and D.L. Lovett. 1993.  Polyamines may modulate both the
        acute and acclimation osmoregulatory response in the blue crab Callinectes sapidus.
        Bull. N. J. Acad. Sci. 38(1):15.
Evangelisto, A.*, and D.L. Lovett. 1993. Acclimation changes in size of osmoregulatory
        patch size of gill lamellae in Callinectes sapidus reflect changes in Na+/K+-ATPase
        activity. Bull. N. J. Acad. Sci. 38(1):15.
Trivedi, D.R.*, and D.L. Lovett. 1993. The putative role of secretions from glands lining the
        branchial vessels of the blue crab Callinectes sapidus.  Bull. N. J. Acad. Sci. 38(1):15.
Lovett, D.L., S.A. Watts, R.F. Ott*, and B.E. Smith*. 1992. Effect of acclimation salinity on
        Na+/K+-ATPase activity and polyamine concentration in gills of the blue crab, Callinectes
        sapidus.  Amer. Zool. 31:58A.
Colella, T.*, and D.L. Lovett. 1992. Use of RNA/DNA ratio to examine acclimation response
        in gills of the blue crab Callinectes sapidus. Bull. N. J. Acad. Sci. 37(2):9.
Cannon, A.C.*, and D.L. Lovett. 1992. Acclimation response in the blue crab Callinectes
        sapidus: Change in size of osmoregulatory patch area on gill lamellae. Bull. N. J. Acad.
        Sci.
37(2):9.

REVIEWER FOR SCHOLARLY JOURNALS

        The Biological Bulletin
        Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology

       
Hydrobiologia
       
Integrative and Comparative Biology
        Invertebrate Zoology
        Journal of Comparative Physiology
       
Journal of Crustacean Biology
       
Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
        Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
        Marine Biology
        Naturwissenschaften
        Marine Ecology Progress Series
        The Quarterly Review of Biology

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS

         Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology
         The Crustacean Society
         Council on Undergraduate Research
         Beta Beta Beta National Biology Honorary (Chapter Advisor)
         The College Board
         Sigma Xi
         Phi Kappa Phi
         New Jersey Society for Histotechnology
         National Science Foundation (reviewer for proposals)
 

COURSES TAUGHT

        BIO 185 -- Themes in Biology
       
BIO 413 -- Microscopic Anatomy and Techniques
        BIO 467 -- Electron Microscopy for Biologists
        BIO 497 -- Independent Study

CURRICULAR AND PEDAGOGICAL WORK

The College Board, New York, NY

             
College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)
                       Natural Sciences, Development Committee, Chair, 1994-1999
                       Biology, Development Committee, 1994-1999
            Advanced Placement Program (AP)
                       Biology, Development Committee, 1995-1998
                       Biology, Faculty Consultant, 1991-present
                       Biology, Advisory Committee for development of an interactive CD-ROM based
                                 study guide for students, 1998-1999
                       Biology, Development Committee for the AP Teacher Preparation Course for
                                 Biology, 2001-2002

Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ

            Major Field Test (MFT)
                        Biology, Development Committee, Chair, 1994-present
            Praxis National Teacher's Examination
                        Biology Beginning Teacher Exam / National Teacher Exam, Development        
                                  Committee, 1992-1995

                        Biology and General Sciences Exam, Faculty Consultant, 1991-1992



E-mail questions, comments, etc. to: Dr. Lovett
biology@TCNJ.edu