Project Title

Exploration into the effects of bisphenols on Drosophila melanogaster locomotion and behavior


Summer 8-6-2019

Document Type

Undergraduate Project





Faculty Mentor

Edward Freeman


The presence of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) in the environment can lead to problems in an organism’s metabolism, growth and reproductive capacity. Bisphenols, specifically bisphenol A (BPA), are one of the most abundantly produced EDCs globally due their presence in plastics and epoxy resins. Bisphenol F and S (BPF/BPS) are potential replacement chemicals for BPA that have similar effects. Drosophila melanogaster serves as an ideal model organism due to their inexpensive maintenance cost, rapid reproductive rate, vast knowledge of their genetics and the similarity of their genome to the mammalian genome. BPA has been reported to impact fly behavior through experiments that evaluated locomotion and social interaction following developmental exposure to the chemical (Kaur 2015). Locomotion is a behavior associated with exploration, foraging and mating. I have been investigating the potential of an existing image analysis system (developed for aquatic species) to track and study Drosophila melanogaster behavior/locomotion. Additionally, if this proves possible, I aim to evaluate the effects of BPA on these parameters to validate data from other labs. Our imaging system includes image capture with a camera mounted above a chamber housing one or more flies. Image acquisition has been modeled after procedures currently in place in the Freeman lab. Specifically, images are taken every six seconds for 30 minutes providing 300 sequential images of the position of individual flies. Image-J software (NIH, freely available) is then utilized along with pre-existing EXCEL macros (provided by Dr. Creton of Brown University) to analyze the images for fly movements over time. In my analyses I am attempting to determine preferential locations within a chamber, average speed, social interaction, edge preferences, and resting time. These parameters are currently be assessed based on the explanations from the Creton Lab. Early data analysis suggests that our system will be useful in monitoring and tracking files using similar strategies to those in place for our aquatic studies (zebrafish, water fleas).