Researcher Profile

Maryanne R. Hughes

Job Title: Research Scientist
Employer: U.B.C.
Place of Birth: Binghamton, New York, USA
High School attended: Binghamton Central
Further Education: Harpur College (B.Sc.), Duke University (M.Sc., Ph.D.).
Geographic focus of research: British Columbia

Brief synopsis of current research:
Located in the head of a marine bird are salt glands that excrete excess dietary NaCl in a hypertonic secretion of almost pure NaCl. When a bird drinks seawater, NaCl enters the body across the gut wall, is filtered and reabsorbed in the kidney, and then secreted via the salt glands. We study the integration of these processes in bird species with a wide range of osmoregulatory capacity...estaurine to open ocean by measuring drinking rates, volumes of body water compartments, renal function, and salt gland secretion. Some of these processes differ between the sexes and are being investigated in several species of ducks and gulls. Studies emphasize hormonal controls....especially melatonin, an inhibitor of salt gland secretion...and cadmium, a toxic heavy metal.