Jenny Ouyang: Analyzing effects of artificial light at night on animal function

Jenny Ouyang

Title

Effects of artificial light at night on organismal function

Mentor

Jenny Ouyang

Department

Biology

Biosketch

Jenny Ouyang, Ph.D. is an assistant professor in the department of biology. She teaches comparative animal physiology (bio 316) and endocrinology (bio 414). She received her Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Princeton University in 2012. She has been doing research on avian behavior, physiology, and genetics both in the field and in the lab. Since joining the University of Nevada, Reno in 2016, she has mentored over 20 undergraduate students with her undergraduate research program, the Fledge Program. She has mentored one McNair student, and her students have received NURA, Tri Beta, and University and departmental scholarships. Research students from her lab are currently in graduate, vet, pharma, or medical programs.  

Project overview

Cycles of light are a fundamental component of natural environments, but over the last half century, electric lighting has inundated the world with artificial light at night (ALAN). ALAN profoundly disrupts the temporal organization of light cycles, and the growing diversity of electric lights also provides light with spectra different from any natural light. The student will work on a proposed project to evaluate the effects of ALAN spectra on behavior, physiology, and the internal clock. We will use zebra finches, Taeniopygia guttata, to test the effects of nocturnal lighting with modified spectra on behavior, physiology, reproduction, and gene expression. The student will learn about animal husbandry, video recording, and behavioral observations with the opportunity to assist in hormone analyses and gene expression (using PCR) in the lab. By uncovering the mechanisms underlying responses to artificial light, we will be able to measure, predict and ameliorate potential harmful effects of light pollution, especially because the disruptive effects vary depending on the spectral composition of light. For more information, please visit the Ouyang Lab.