Neuroscience (April 14, 2021)
Red-eared slider turtle; champion of survival in low oxygen environments
Dr. Rachael Hannah, Associate Professor, Biological Sciences
The red-eared slider freshwater turtle (Trachemys scripta) remarkably recovers repeatedly from anoxia; with intact and surviving neurons. The goal of this research is to advance our understanding of cerebral blood flow (CBF) regulation in vertebrates under conditions of low temperature and oxygen availability. Understanding how the turtle survives a reduction of blood flow to the entire brain, may give us clues to help brain cells survive after a global ischemic event that is a consequence of cardiac arrest.
Hearts that Beat Without Oxygen: Tips and Tricks of the Vertebrate Champions of Anoxia
Dr. Jonathan Stecyk, Associate Professor, Biological Sciences
Most vertebrates die within minutes of oxygen deprivation (termed anoxia) because the heart and brain requires a continuous supply of oxygen. For example, heart attacks and strokes are one of the most common causes of death in the Western world. However, some fish and turtle species can survive and recover successfully from weeks to months without oxygen. My presentation will highlight our current understanding of how the heart of these species can continue to beat in the absence of oxygen.