From: York University
Published October 5, 2017 08:31 AM

York University research ends 50-year speculation on mayfly biology

Mayfly nymphs are prominent insects in freshwater ecosystems worldwide and an important food source for fish, amphibians, birds and mammals. Unfortunately they are also very sensitive to pollution.

Researchers in the Faculty of Science have been interested in better understanding why mayfly nymphs are so vulnerable to environmental insult. They believe that the answer lies in the insects’ gills, which help them acquire oxygen from the surrounding water. But little is known about the physiology of these organs.

During her undergraduate thesis, Faculty of Science student Fargol Nowghani wanted to learn more about the role of the gills in salt uptake. For almost 50 years, scientists have speculated that the nymph’s gills help the insect acquire salt from the water, but until now, there has been no direct evidence to support this view.

Nowghani has now answered this age old question in a paper published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.


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Photo via York University.

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