Lizet Martinez » Fall 2016 URS Student Profiles – NMSU

Lizet Martinez

Major: Biology Mentor: Dr. Michele K. Nishiguchi, Regents Professor,Biology Department at New Mexico State University
Home Phone: URS Fall 2016

Biographical Info

Personal Statement

I am currently a junior working on a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and plan to also graduate with a minor. I first began my research experience in Summer Community College Opportunity for Research Experience program, SCCORE, in the summer of 2016. Before the SCCORE program I had a mindset of attending medical school after graduating, however, having the opportunity to get hands-on in a research laboratory opened up more options that I even knew that I had. This led me into the Undergraduate Research Scholars program here at NMSU. I have always been fascinated in how the body functions and in the mechanisms that it used to defend itself from other organisms which is why my interested was highly directed towards medical school. Now that I realize what opportunities research has to offer I plan to attend graduate school for a PhD program in either virology or immunology.



Using Experimental Evolution to Examine How Temperature Adaptation Influences Symbiont Specificity in a Bobtail Squid-luminous Bacterium Association

Sea surface temperatures play a critical role in marine ecosystems. Oceans close to the equator tend to have a warmer temperature than oceans away from the equator. Organisms thrive in certain locations do to specific temperature for the purpose of surviving and adapting. Take for instance the Euprymna albatrossae, a species of the bobtail squid, and the bacteria Vibrio fischeri who share a mutualistic relationship in the Pacific Ocean near the Philippines. The bobtail squid uses the bioluminescent ability of V. fisheri as a self-defense mechanism and the bacteria use the squid as a host. V. fischeri are found in different locations that can vary in temperature while Euprymna albatrossae do not drift far from their location. Since sea temperatures continue to rise, this experiment will be based on whether V. fischeri can colonize different host from different regions and adapt to the difference in temperatures. Different strains of V. fischeri will be grown at temperatures of 28˚C (tropical), 18˚C (temperate), 30˚C (elevated) and 32˚C (extreme) to measure bioluminescence, growth rate/generation time and biofilm formation. The purpose of this research is to understand the adaptability in changes of temperature of V. fischeri and to study its influence of symbiosis with bobtail squids.