Illinois Wesleyan Institution
For the vast majority of my adult life I have been fascinated by small, free-swimming invertebrate animals (both adults and their developmental stages called larvae). These small animals are abundant in aquatic ecosystems, both eat and are eaten, and are phenomenally diverse in their form. Yet, answers to the simplest questions about their biology such as, What do they eat?, How do they eat? are often absent (or incompletely known).
I have had the pleasure to study these amazing animals by collecting them from marine and freshwater environments, from polar to tropical latitudes, and from the surface to hundreds of meters in depth. From every study, I learn something new and I am continually amazed by the many ways that these animals have found to "make their living."
Previous studies have showed that a flow of water passes through the digestive system of many planktonic invertebrates. This flow represents a means to deliver any dissolved organic materials to the site of digestion and absorption within the animal (see the additional information section for examples of rotifer drinking). The proposed project is an extension of these earlier works, as we investigate whether minute, but abundant, viruses enter the digestive system of rotifers within this flow and are ultimately consumed as food.
The “Can aquatic invertebrate animals, like rotifers, consume viruses as food?” research by Dr. Will Jaeckle is a project associated with the Biology Department of Illinois Wesleyan University (Federal Tax ID 37-0662594), an Illinois nonprofit corporation with federal tax exempt status under Section 501 (c)(3). All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. 100% of your donation for this project supports research activities.
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