Rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss (picture source: http://tinyurl.com/8fzequq)
Early stress-research pioneer Dr. Hans Selye defined two types of stress: "eustress", which occurs every day and does not affect the day-to-day functions of an organism, and "distress", whereby the response may lead to a state that is life-threatening. When performing research on the subject, stress is defined as the condition in which an organism's internal balance (known as homeostasis) is threatened or disturbed as a result of the actions of stressors. Stressors work in two ways: they produce effects that threaten or disturb homeostasis; however, as a result of millions of years of evolution, they also elicit a coordinated set of behavioral and physiological responses that are thought to compensate for the imbalance or help the animal to adapt and overcome the threat. The physiological response is what happens on the cellular level to correct the imbalance caused by the stressor. While most stress is temporary and will not affect the long-term health of an organism, chronic stress may inhibit the animal from adapting and cause it to become dysfunctional; usually resulting in the retardation of growth, reproductive failure, and a reduced immunity to disease. Stressors can be specific or general, and while each stressor elicits a characteristic reaction, many different stressors can activate the same pathway, achieving the same integrated stress response from a physiological point of view. My current research focuses on how the main stress hormone in fish (cortisol) may be affecting reproduction in farmed female rainbow trout.
I never imagined I'd end up in a small town again, but I'm enjoying the peace and quiet and lack of traffic! If you've never been to the area and had no idea that Idaho was good for anything but potatoes, think again and check it out online at Luminous Landscape and/or The Palouse Scenic Byway.
|University of Idaho|
|Department of Biological Sciences|
|PO Box 443051|
|Moscow, ID 83843-3051 USA|