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Dr. Stephen J. Salek

Aquatic Research Laboratory at FSU


 The Aquatic Research Laboratory at Fayetteville State University specializes in both marine and freshwater research.  We maintain over 300 gallons salt and freshwater aquariums used for research, teaching and community outreach.

Coral toxins as Chemotherapeutic agents

                           Undischarged (left) and discharded (right) stinging cells.  Images from Biodidac.

    We are maintaining different species of coral for the purpose of extracting toxins from cnidocytes (stinging cells) used in feeding and defense.  We maintain several reef tanks with metal halide lights in order to grow corals and study their toxins.  Coral toxins may be useful in the fight against cancer.
Research student Sydney Lanier  and Dr. Salek constructing a reef aquarium with South Pacific live rock.

Coral Reef Education Programs

  The Aquatic Research Lab also contains a touch tank stocked with hermit crabs, lobsters, brittle stars and anemones that can be handled and examined under the microscope.  The goal is to expose K-12 students to, science, the wonder and beauty of coral reefs, and their potential benefits to mankind.

                                                        Touch tank animals and a curious student.

Toxicology, Hormones and Behavior

        In my laboratory we are completely characterizing the courtship and spawning behavior of zebrafish. We are investigating the effects of herbicides on acetyl cholinesterase  and carboxylesterase levels in brain tissue of zebrafish.  We are also studying the its effects on courtship behavior, and fecundity.  Many chemicals have been show to alter brain function and behavior of organisms.

                                      Zebrafish rearing system.

The Aquatic Research Laboratory is funded in part by the LSAMP and FICAMS grants at Faytteville State University.





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