Miami University

Instrumentation Laboratory Project Page

Project: Newt Flume

Department: Zoology

Primary Investigator: Dr. Paul Schaeffer

Purpose: We are interested in how certain ectotherms (organisms that relay on external heat to regulate body temperature) adjust their physiology in order to stay active despite the seasonal variation in the temperature of their environment. Eastern red spotted-newts (Notophthalmus viridescens), a salamander common from Florida to Newfoundland, remain active in the winter by changing their physiology to compensate for the effects of low temperature. In order to determine how this acclimation affects swimming performance, we swim newts that have been living in either summer or winter temperatures across the entire range of temperatures they experience in their natural environment. The swimming flume allows us to swim these animals in a constant flow of water until they are exhausted, and therefore we can determine how their swimming performance is affected by seasonal variation in temperature.

IL Comment: User needed a variable speed/current area for his newts with no turbulence. IL designed are with adjustable input and output areas from "track" to allow for adjustment of depth and speed of flow. Incorporated a submerible pump, user also uses an external water bath to vary the temperature of the water flowing through the flume. Used straws to elimnate turbulence from newt "track".

Cost to researcher: System's cost: $351.84

Return to project page