Biology & Marine Biology

Faculty & Staff

Joseph A. Covi, Assistant Professor

CoviPh.D., Biological Sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, 2005
B.S., Biological Sciences/Zoology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, 1996
Dobo Hall 222 | (910) 962-2514 | 601 South College Road, Wilmington, NC 28403-5915

Broadly speaking, I am an integrative physiologist interested in the impact of environmental toxicants on crustaceans. As reported by the National Toxicology Program under the US Department of Health and Human Services, over 80,000 chemicals are registered for use in the United States and approximately 2,000 new ones are introduced each year for use by the general public. Many of these compounds appear in water resources long before potential impacts on local species are known. Using an integrative approach allows us to assess the effects of potential toxicants without being tied down to a specific level of organization, experimental technique, or toxicant class. Students in my lab use an ever changing set of experimental tools in their work with DNA, RNA, protein, isolated mitochondria, cultured tissues and whole animals. The organism, level of organization, and tools we use are dictated, first and foremost, by the experimental question at hand. My lab is currently focused on two lines of investigation:

  • We are examining the effects of lipophilic toxicants on the early development of zooplankton species that exhibit developmental arrest when environmental oxygen is limiting. These animals persist in anoxic sediments for weeks to decades in an arrested state. The effects of exposure to lipophilic toxicants during this period are currently unknown.
  • We are also developing an empirical model to examine the effects of environmental toxicants on the regulation of molting in decapod crustaceans. Our goal is to develop a methodology that is not limited to a single model species or class of toxicant, thus making it broadly available for environmental assessment.
Select Publications:

MacLea KS, AM Abuhagr, NL Pitts, JA Covi, BD Bader, ES Chang, and DL Mykles (2012) Rheb, an activator of target of rapamycin, in the blackback land crab, Gecarcinus lateralis: cloning and effects of molting and unweighting on expression in skeletal muscle. The Journal of Experimental Biology. In Press.

Covi, JA, ES Chang, and DL Mykles (2011) Neuropeptide signaling mechanisms in crustacean and insect molting glands. Journal of Invertebrate Reproduction and Development. In Press (DOI:10.1080/07924259.2011.588009)

Covi, JA, BD Bader, ES Chang and DL Mykles (2010) Molt cycle regulation of protein synthesis in skeletal muscle of the blackback land crab, Gecarcinus lateralis, and the differential expression of a myostatin-like factor during atrophy induced by molting or unweighting. Journal of Experimental Biology. 213:172-183.

Covi, JA, ES Chang, and DL Mykles (2009) Conserved role of cyclic nucleotides in the regulation of ecdysteroidogenesis by the crustacean molting gland. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A. 152:470-477.

Covi, J., A Gomez, S Chang, K Lee, ES Chang, and DL Mykles. (2008). Repression of Y-organ ecdysteroidogenesis by cyclic nucleotides and agonists of NO-sensitive guanylyl cyclase. Proceedings of the 4th CPB Meeting in Africa: Mara 2008. "Molecules to migration: The pressures of life" (Ed S. Morris & A. Vosloo). Medimond S.r.l., Bologna, Italy. pp. 37-46.

Covi, JA, HW Kim, and DL Mykles (2008) Expression of alternatively spliced transcripts for a myostatin-like protein in the blackback land crab, Gecarcinus lateralis. Comparative Biochemistry Physiology Part A. 150:423-430.

Covi, JA and SC Hand (2007) Energizing an invertebrate embryo: bafilomycin-dependent respiration and the metabolic cost of proton pumping by the V-ATPase. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. 80:422-432.