April 22, 2017

Hydrothermal events in Hong Kong: constraints on timing and depth of occurrence, by Prof Chan Lung Sang

Prof Chan Lung Sang
(PHKU and HKU SPACE)

Prof Chan Lung Sang is currently Principal of HKU SPACE Community College and HKU SPACE-Po Leung Kuk Stanley Ho Community College, as well as professor in Department of Earth Sciences at HKU. He received his bachelor degree from CUHK and his Masters and PhD in geology and geophysics from University of California-Berkeley. He taught geology at the University of Wisconsin for 10 years before he joined The University of Hong Kong in 1994. His research interests include the tectonics and geology of South China and applied geophysics. He has been actively promoting science education in Hong Kong. Currently he is a member of the Board of Directors of the HK Academy for Gifted Education and scientific advisor of HK Observatory. He chaired the Geological Society for the period 2001-2005 and was invited to be a guest host in several television documentaries on earth science subjects. In 2010, he was bestowed the first University Distinguished Teaching Award by The University of Hong Kong and the Best Original Research Award by HK Medical Journal in 2013.

About the talk

The Jurassic-Cretaceous magmatism in Hong Kong region was followed by multiple hydrothermal episodes during the Late Cretaceous through Cenozoic. The hydrothermal events resulted in deuteric mineralisation and silicification of sedimentary layers. A few hydrothermal episodes are found to postdate fold and thrust events as well as the Eocene Ping Chau formation. Authigenic aegirine and the cherty siltstone layer found in the lower member of Ping Chau formation are attributable to hydrothermal events with temperatures estimated at about 300oC. Stromatolitic structures are found to have been preserved in the silicified siltstone. In Double Island, folded sediments of the Pat Sin Leng formation were silicified within a, speculatively, breccia pipe. An examination of the hydraulic fractures in some quartz dikes on Lantau Island has enabled us to estimate the depth at which the fracturing occurred, based on thermodynamic consideration of the phase relation between water and gas as well as the geostatic gradient of the crust. The talk presents an overview of interesting hydrothermal features in Hong Kong and a discussion of their tectonic significance.

April 22, 2017

Evolution of the late Mesozoic magmatic systems in Hong Kong: New perspectives from zircon geochronology and trace element analyses, by Denise Tang

Denise Tang
(GEO/CEDD, Hong Kong)

 

Denise graduated from the Department of Earth Sciences, HKU and joined the Geotechnical Engineering Office (GEO) as a graduate trainee in 1999. Since then, she has dedicated herself to the geology profession, and been working at the GEO for over 15 years. Denise co-authored the popular geology book “Hong Kong Geology – A 400-million year journey”, which has been one of the GEO’s best seller publications since its publication in 2009. Denise obtained her MPhil degree from the Department of Earth Sciences HKU in 2007, and has recently completed her PhD study at the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

About the talk

Spatial and temporal correlation of four late Mesozoic volcanic centres and their sub-volcanic plutons are well-constrained in Hong Kong. Of the four volcanic episodes, the youngest caldera-forming eruptions (of c. 140 million years ago) from the High Island Caldera have been interpreted to be of super-eruption scale. Multiple techniques including field studies, zircon SIMS geochronology and trace element analyses have been employed to gain new insights into the evolution of these ancient volcanic systems. The results show that in individual large volcanic systems, source composition and temperature may change over millions of years, and thereby generate two distinctly different groups of volcanic and granitic products. In this talk, some latest findings of Hong Kong’s magmatic history and their implications to our understanding of Yanshanian orogeny will be presented.

April 22, 2017

Reconstructing the architecture of the late Mesozoic Southeast China continental margin, by Dr. Roderick J. Sewell

Dr. Roderick J. Sewell
(Hong Kong Geological Survey, GEO, CEDD, HKSAR)

 

Rod Sewell has been a member of the Hong Kong Geological Survey for over 27 years. Following completion of his PhD on an extinct volcano in New Zealand, he worked for the New Zealand Geological Survey studying volcanic geology and tectonics, with excursions to the Antarctic and USA. He has coauthored several books, papers, and maps on the geology of Hong Kong, New Zealand and Antarctica. Rod is Chief Training Geologist in the GEO/CEDD and is an Honorary Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Hong Kong. He currently heads the Hong Kong Geological Survey, GEO/CEDD.

 

About the talk

A variety of tectonic models have been proposed for the origin of Jurassic (199-145 Ma) magmatism in SE China. These include both a mature continental arc setting and a within-plate setting. Among these models, subduction of the Palaeo-pacific plate along a convergent margin has the most support. However, not much is known about the structure of the convergent margin complex. Here, we use precisely-dated, well-studied, tectonostratigraphic terranes in Hong Kong, together with geochemistry and geochronology of granitic rocks, to help reconstruct the architecture of the Southeast China convergent margin in the late Middle Jurassic.

April 5, 2017

Public lecture: Brain Cholesterol metabolism: secrets and lies

Brain Cholesterol metabolism: secrets and lies

Dr. Elsa Rodrigues
(iMed.ULisbon-FFUL)

About the Talk

Dysfunctions in brain cholesterol homeostasis have been extensively related to brain disorders. The major elimination pathway of brain cholesterol is its hydroxylation into 24 (S)-hydroxycholesterol by the cholesterol 24- hydroxylase (CYP46A1). Interestingly, there seems to be an association between CYP46A1 and high-order brain functions, in a sense that increased expression of this hydroxylase improves cognition, while a reduction leads to a poor cognitive performance. Moreover, increasing amount of epidemiological, biochemical and molecular evidence, suggests that CYP46A1 has a role in the pathogenesis or progression of neurodegenerative disorders, in which up-regulation of this enzyme is clearly beneficial. However, the mechanisms underlying these effects are poorly understood, which highlights the importance of studies that further explore the role of CYP46A1 in the central nervous system. We will summarize the major findings regarding CYP46A1, and highlight the several recently described pathways modulated by this enzyme from a physiological and pathological perspective, which might account for novel therapeutic strategies for neurodegenerative disorders.

About the Speaker

Elsa Rodrigues is an Assistant Professor at Faculty of Pharmacy, Universidade de Lisboa (iMed.ULisboa-FFUL). She holds a degree in Biology and a PhD in Molecular Biology. During her Doctoral studies at Maria Celeste Lechner’s lab at the FFUL in collaboration with Patrick Maurel (Unité INSERM 128), she elucidated mechanisms involved in gene regulation of liver-specific Cytochrome P450 genes. In the last 10 years, Elsa’s main goal is to characterize the regulatory pathways involved in brain cholesterol homeostasis, and therefore to provide a basis for the development of therapeutic approaches for diseases that stretch from genetic disorders, such as Niemann Pick Type C, to neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease. Her focus has been on the potential beneficial modulation of cholesterol homeostasis through ectopic expression or pharmacological up-regulation/activation of the neuronal specific cholesterol 24-hydroxylase encoded by the cytochrome P450 CYP46A1 gene.

 

March 21, 2017

Public lecture: Interactive effects of warming, acidification and progestins on aquatic systems

Interactive effects of warming, acidification and progestins on aquatic systems

Dr. Patrícia Cardoso
(Univ. of Coimbra and IMAR-CMA)

About the Talk

The emergence of climate change and endocrine disruptor chemicals (EDCs) as crucial societal challenges became priority topics in the last decades. Still, there is a flagrant knowledge gap in relating those 2 kinds of priority concerns. However, for global climate change, predicting the response of ecosystems and resources is problematic and is at a very early stage. Besides climate change, over the last 2 decades, considerable concern has been given to the environmental health risks posed by endocrine disruptor chemicals (EDCs) that possibly upset animal hormonal systems. Also, despite EDCs have been widely studied worldwide, little attention has been paid to some specific steroid hormones, such as progestins and the risks they pose to aquatic organisms are largely unknown. In this talk we will explore a bit the combined effects of global change and progestins in different aquatic species.

 

About the Speaker

Patrícia Cardoso concluded her PhD in Biology in 2005 from the University of Coimbra (Portugal). Since then until March 2015 has worked at IMAR-CMA at the same university, developing her research in ecosystem ecology in estuarine/marine systems. In a straight collaboration with the University of York (UK) she specialized in long term studies on benthic communities in response to multiple stressors; biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. In the last years has been interested in ecotoxicological studies, specifically the assessment of contaminants (e.g. mercury) effects on coastal systems, namely macrobenthic and planktonic communities. Since 2015, as Senior Researcher at CIIMAR (Portugal) her main scientific interests are related to the study of the combined effects of climate change and emergent contaminants on the structure and functioning of coastal ecosystems. She is author of more than 50 publications (> 1400 citations, h index = 19) in leading international journals in the area of Marine Ecology and Ecotoxicology. She is research advisor of several Ms and PhD students.

 

November 11, 2015

AGU Fall meeting New Orleans

AGU’s Fall Meeting is the largest Earth and space science meeting in the world. Fall Meeting brings together the entire Earth and space science community from across the globe for discussions of emerging trends and the latest research.

The AGU Fall meeting will be in New Orleans, between 11-15 December, 2017.

MagIC

February 2, 2015

MagIC

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WELCOME to the Mag.I.C project!

MagIC – Petrology and Geochemistry of Igneous Rocks from Macao: Implications for the Crustal Evolution of Southern China / 澳门火成岩之岩石学与地球化学—对华南地壳演化的影响)

This project aimed to develop a detailed digital cartographic map of the igneous rocks of Macao, useful for professionals from different areas and to understand the geological history of the territory. The main results included: (1) absolute age determination from Macau magmatic events; (2) based on mineralogical and geochemical studies we have constrained the magma evolution and; (3) we contributed to a deeper understanding of the South China tectono-magmatic evolution.

Project reference: FDCT 043/2014/A1 (2014-2018)

updated on Mar 2021

TEAM

Ph.D. Principal Investigator (PI) from ISE, USJ, Macau

Ph.D. Team member from FCUL/IDL, Portugal

XinYu Gao

Ph.D Team member from GIG, CAS – 中国科学院广州地球化学研究所 , China

Luisa Duarte

Ph.D. Consultant from LNEG

Varon Lou

M.Sc. Research Assistant from ISE, USJ, Macau

Ph.D. Student from ISE, USJ, Macau. Dissertation on Dec 5, 2019 – Thesis

Ricardo Borges

Research Assistant (GIS) from ISE, USJ, Macau

ABSTRACT

Igneous rocks, in particular granitic ones, are of utmost importance to assess the tectonothermal evolution of continents and to decipher their geodynamic setting. During Mesozoic ages, the Southeastern China region (Cathasya block), where Macao is localized, was affected by granitic plutonism generated during the Indosinian (Triassic) and Yanshanian orogenies (Jurasic-Cretaceous), overprinting all previous events in the South China Fold Belt (SCFB). In Macao, the most complete document reporting the geology of the territory was published, in 1992, under Luísa Ribeiro coordination, the consultant of this project. It consists of the Macao Geological Map 1:5000 scale, and its memoir, where the main geological units and structures of Macao were presented. Until the beginning of this project proposal, there was a significant gap in the knowledge of the geology and geodynamic evolution of Macao compared with surrounding areas. The geology of Hong Kong and Guangdong (also included in the Cathaysia block) has been the subject of numerous SCI publications. In contrast, there were no SCI publications on the geology of Macao. To fill this gap, this project focused in obtaining new scientific knowledge about the origin and evolution of the territory of Macao, and also to spread and publish this new knowledge within the local and international scientific community. In his project, we developed a new trilingual digital geological map of Macao and, among several new scientific discoveries accomplished along the execution of the work, we emphasize the determination of the age of Macao magmatic rocks as well as of its geodynamic evolution. Briefly, Macao granites were emplaced in two main periods ranging from 164.5 ± 0.6 Ma to 162.9 ± 0.7 Ma and 156.6 ± 0.2 Ma to 155.5 ± 0.8 Ma, separated by ca. 6 Ma. Inherited zircons point to the existence of a basement with ages up to Paleo-Proterozoic and late Archean in the region. In addition, younger dacitic rocks were dated at 150.6 ± 0.6 Ma and <120 Ma. Macao granitic suite was incrementally assembled during a period of ca. 9 Ma and the transition from granitic magmatism (Middle to Upper Jurassic) to the younger dacite dykes (Upper Jurassic to Lower Cretaceous) most likely correspond to a change in the regional tectonic setting. Isotope and geochemical compositions together with model ages and mixing modelling strongly suggest that Macao granitic magmas were generated by partial melting of infracrustal medium-to-high K basaltic Paleo-Proterozoic to Mesoproterozoic protoliths heated by, and mixed to some degrees with, the contemporaneous underplating and/or intrusion of hot, mantle-derived magmas. The Jurassic Macao granites are interpreted as being produced in an intraplate extensional setting related to the foundering of a previously flat-slab (Paleo-Pacific plate) beneath SE China continent.

 

摘要

火成岩,尤其是花岗岩,对于揭开大陆的构造演化和动力学背景之谜至关重要。中生代时期,澳门所处的华东南板块(华夏古陆)受印支期(三叠纪)和燕山构造期所产生的花岗质岩浆影响,叠印了华南褶皱带以往所有的活动。澳门在地质和地理上归属于华夏陆块,从而为理解华南的地壳演化过程提供制约。1992年,在本项目顾问路易莎·里贝罗(Luísa Ribeiro)的协调下,澳门境内最完整的官方地质报告文件出版。在该研究报告中,介绍了澳门主要的地质单元和结构,其中还包含了比例为1:5000的澳门地质图。
在本项目开始前,澳门的地质与地球动力学研究和认识与周围地区相比还存在很大差距。香港和广东的地质(也包括在华夏地块中)一直是许多SCI出版物的研究对象。但相比之下,直到现在都还没有关于澳门地质的SCI出版物发表过。为了填补这一研究空白,本项目的重点是研究澳门地体的起源和地质演化,从而获得新的科学认识,并将研究成果和认识在本地和国际学界中传播和发表。在这个项目中,我们还编制了一张新的澳门三语数字地质图
在这个项目所取得的一系列新科学发现中,我们会重点强调澳门岩浆岩年龄的厘定及其地球动力学的演化过程。总的来说,澳门的花岗岩侵入活动主要分为两期,164.5 ± 0.6 Ma(百万年)到 162.9 ± 0.7 Ma为第一期, 156.6 ± 0.2 Ma 到155.5 ± 0.8 Ma为第二期,中间相隔约6Ma。花岗岩中的继承锆石指示该地区存在着一个古元古代至晚太古代的古老基底。此外,也发现更年轻的英安质岩石的年龄为150.6 ± 0.6 Ma和<120 Ma。澳门的花岗岩套是在一个约9Ma的时期内逐步侵位形成的,从中晚侏罗纪的花岗质岩浆活动向晚侏罗-早白垩的英安质岩墙的转变很可能对应于区域构造环境的变化。
澳门花岗岩的同位素和地球化学成分,模式年龄和岩浆混合模拟表明澳门花岗质岩浆是由古元古代至中元古代的下地壳中~高钾质的玄武质原岩经中生代底侵或侵入的高温地幔岩浆加热从而部分熔融产生的,在这过程中,同时伴随着一定程度的岩浆混合作用。澳门侏罗纪花岗岩可以解释为是在板内伸展的环境中产生的,这个伸展环境与古太平洋板块由平板俯冲向板块拆沉的构造转变有关。

OBJECTIVES OF THE PROJECT
Task 1. – Digital Cartography
To refine the knowledge on the main lithologies areal distribution in order to develop a detailed digital map of the igneous rocks from Macao.
 
Task 2. – Petrography
To obtain a detailed characterization of the mineralogy and petrography of igneous rocks from Macao and compare these results with data from correspondent geological areas from the Cathaysian block.
 
Task 3. Geochronology
The main goal of this task was to precisely date the magmatic events preserved in the geological region where Macao is included. 
 
Task 4 – Geochemistry
The main goal of this task was the construction of a petrogenetic model for each of the igneous lithotypes from the geological region where Macao is included by a detailed characterization of their geochemical properties (whole-rock major and trace elements, rare earth elements, and isotopic signatures).
 
For results and outputs see the Geology of Macau webpage and publications
Collaboration with other institutions
  • IDL – Instituto Don Luiz
  • LNEG – Laboratório Nacional de Energia e Geologia (Laboratório de Geologia e Minas), Portugal
  • JSGL – Jack Satterly Geochronology Laboratory, Canada
  • GeoFCUL – Departamento de Geologia da Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa
  • HKU – University of Hong Kong
Companies and public institutions that contributed to the project

With field visits and samples:
MPS – Macau Professional Services, Limited, Macau
LECM – Macau Laboratory of Civil Engineering / 澳門土木工程實驗室, Macau
LNEG – Laboratório Nacional de Energia e Geologia (Laboratório de Geologia e Minas), Portugal

CGGC – China Gezhouba Group Corporation, Macau
中德工程有限公司, Macau
南光石油化工有限公司, Macau
Macau Golf and Country Club / 澳門高爾夫球鄉村俱樂部, Macau

Other contributions:
SMG – Macao Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau / 地球物理暨氣象局, Macau

Mag.I.C. Publications and Communications
  • Quelhas, P, Mata J and Dias, A Á (2021c) Magmatic evolution of garnet-bearing highly fractionated granitic rocks from Macao, Southeast China: Implications for granite-related mineralization processes. Journal of Earth Sciences. In Press. JES-07-2020-0330. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12583-020-1389-4 
  • Quelhas, P, Borges. R, Dias, A. Á, Ribeiro, L, Costa, P Mata, J. (2021b) Geological Map of the Macao Special Administrative Region (China). Journal of Maps In press.
    https://doi.org/10.1080/17445647.2021.1906340
  • Quelhas P, Mata J, Dias Á A (2021a) Evidences for mixed contribution of mantle, lower and upper crust to the genesis of Jurassic I-type granites from Macao, SE China. GSA Bulletin. 133 (1-2): 37–56.. https://doi.org/10.1130/B35552.1
  • Quelhas, P., Dias, Á A., Mata, J., Don, D., Ribeiro, L. (2019) High-precision geochronology of Mesozoic magmatism in Macao, Southeast China: evidence for multistage granite emplacement. Geoscience Frontiers. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gsf.2019.04.011
  • Quelhas P, Dias Á A, Mata J & Wayne Davis D (2019) Goldschmidt Abstracts, 258. 21st August. Barcelona. https://goldschmidt.info/2019/abstracts/abstractView?id=2019004459
  • Quelhas, P., Mata, J., Lou, U. T., Ribeiro, M. L., Borges, R., Dias, Á A (2018). A origem e evolução dos magmas graníticos de Macao à luz de dados de geoquímica elementar e isotópica / Source and evolution of Macao granitic magmas: insights from wholerock geochemistry and isotopic signatures. XIV Congresso de Geoquímica dos Países de Língua Portuguesa e XIX Semana de Geoquímica (XIV CGPLP/XIX SG, international conference. 25-29 March 2018, Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal.
  • Dias, Á A (2017) Opening talk about the geology of MacaoISE, Macao. Meeting on Mesozoic magmatism of Macao and Hong Kong in the context of SE China geodynamics / 澳門與香港的中生代岩漿作用 (oral communication) 22-27 April 2017, ISE, Macau
  • Quelhas, P. (2017) Mesozoic magmatism in Macao: What is known so far and future developments. Mesozoic magmatism of Macao and Hong Kong in the context of SE China geodynamics / 澳門與香港的中生代岩漿作用 (oral communication)22-27 April 2017, ISE, Macau
  • Quelhas, P., Mata, J., Lou, U. T., Ribeiro, M. L., Borges, R., Dias Á A. (2017) New Geochemical Constraints on I-Type Granites of Macao: Petrogenesis and Geodynamic Implications. 27th Goldschmidt Conference. 2126, 06d 13-18, August 2017. Paris, France
  • Quelhas P M, Mata J, Lou U T, Ribeiro M R and Dias Á A (2016) Mesozoic Granitic Magmatism in Macao, Southeast China. AGU Fall meeting 12-16 December 2016, San Francisco, USA
  • Dias Á A, Quelhas P, Lou U, Mata J & Ribeiro M L (2016) Petrology and Geochemistry of Granitic Rocks from Macao. 26th Goldschmidt Conference, Yokohama, Japan. 61, 05c. POSTER
  • Dias, Á A (2015) Presentation of the Magic Project. First Meeting on the Geology of Macao, Macao
  • Quelhas, P (2016) Preliminary data from Macau petrology: Summary of the field work and first petrographic analysis. First Meeting on the Geology of Macao, Macao
  • Lou, V (2015) Plutonic Rocks from SE China focused in Macau (what is mentioned in the Chinese references). First Meeting on the Geology of Macao, Macao
  • Gao X-Y (2015) Presentation of GIG-CAS (The Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences) and its facilities. First Meeting on the Geology of Macao, Macao
For more information visit: 
Geology of Macau and Mag.I.C project in the News (Portuguese language)
Other references
  • Ribeiro, M.L. (2010) Macau, evolução do conhecimento geológico, Ciências Geológicas – Ensino, Investigação e sua História, Volume VII – Geologia das Ex-Colónias da Ásia e Oceania: Lisbon, Sociedade Geológica de Portugal, p. 259 – 266. http://repositorio.lneg.pt/bitstream/10400.9/1301/1/34425.pdf
  • So, CL & Ribeiro, ML (1997) Portugal Macao Geology. Encyclopedia of World Regional Geology. pp. 620 – 621 E.M. Moores & R. W. Fairbridge, (eds). Encyclopedia of Earth Sc. Series. Chapman & Hall, London.
  • Ribeiro, M. L., Macedo, C. A. R., Ramos, J. M. F., and Dias, R. P. (2000) K – Ar ages for the Macao granites (SE China) and the magmatic migration at the Yenshianian times, in Proceedings Congresso Internacional de Geologia, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. p. G1804006.
  • Ribeiro, M. L., Ramos, J. M. F., Pereira, E., and Dias, R. P. (1992) Carta Geológica de Macau na escala 1:5000 (inclui Notícia Explicativa): Serviços Geológicos de Portugal.
  • Marques, F. M. S. F. (1988) Contribuição para o conhecimento geológico e geotécnico do Território de Macau. Master thesis: FCUL, 184 p.
  • Carrington da Costa, J., and Lemos, M. S. (1964) Fisiografia e Geologia da Província de Macau: Centro de Informação e Turismo.
  • Lemos, M. S. (1963) Esboço Geológico da Província Ultramarina de Macau, Escala 1/25 000: Centro de Informação e Turismo.
  • Carrington da Costa, J. (1944) Geologia da Província de Macau, Bol. Soc. Geol. de Portugal, Volume III: Porto, Imprensa Moderna, Ltd., p. 47.

The Vocal Brain of Fish

November 11, 2014

The Vocal Brain of Fish

Development of Auditory Processing and Vocal Motor Control

The question of how brain coordinates vocal output is relatively unknown. While human and bird vocal communication is relatively complex, studying simpler models such as fish can provide important insights for understanding the development of fundamental units in the central nervous system for how to build auditory-vocal systems. Feedback from the auditory systems can be critical for the control of vocal behavior in many animals, including humans. In fish, auditory feedback on vocal activity remains unknown. Moreover, the relation between the development of the auditory sense and the vocal differentiation remains uninvestigated in this taxon. Preliminary data shows that the Lusitanian toadfish, Halobatrachus didactylus, uses an unusual sophisticated vocal repertoire for fish (more than five different calls) to communicate during various social contexts and this ability starts remarkably early in life. The aim of this project is threefold: (1) investigate whether and/or how auditory sensitivity, distribution of the inner ear sensory haircells, and auditory processing central units change throughout ontogeny in H. didactylus; (2) study the development of the vocal repertoire, sound generating system (swimbladder), and vocal motor control brain nuclei; and (3) evaluate whether auditory feedback plays a role in shaping vocalizations and vocal neural networks during development.

This work will consist on the first attempt to evaluate the relationship between the development of the auditory and the vocal systems in a fish species and will allow to determine whether both systems have evolved independently or in parallel. As vocal networks in all vertebrates seemed to have evolved from an ancestrally shared brain area originated in fish, we predict that our data will provide valuable insights into the evolutionary history of the brain circuits for complex behaviors such as the use of sound for social communication.

Funded by FDCT, reference 019/2012/A1.

TEAM

Raquel O. Vasconcelos
Ph.D. CoCoordinator from ISE, USJ, Macau

Andreia Ramos
Research Assistant from University of Lisbon, Portugal

Ciara Valdoria
Research Assistant from ISE, USJ, Macau

Patrícia Chaves
Reasearch Assistant from ISPA, Portugal

Paulo J. Fonseca,
Co-investigator from University of Lisbon, Portugal

Joseph A. Sisneros
Co-investigator from University of Washington, WA, USA

November 11, 2014

Behavioral Plasticity Meets Neuroplasticity

Brain Neurogenesis in the polymorphic fish Salaria pavo

Funded by FDCT, reference 012/2012/A1.

ABSTRACT

The study of the mechanisms associated with the production of new neurons in the adult brain, neurogenesis, is of paramount importance both for clinical and non-clinical reasons. Adult mammals, and humans in particular, have a very limited capacity for producing and integrating new neurons in existing networks or in places where neuronal death has occurred. This contrasts with lower vertebrates (fish, amphibian) where neurogenesis is widespread throughout the brain and where regeneration of large portions of the brain after injury, with a concomitant recovery of function, is possible. Interestingly, the high levels of behavioral plasticity observed in lower vertebrates, such as those associated with functional sex-change or alternative reproductive phenotypes, are not found in mammals. This suggests that drastic shifts in behavior within the same animal require a major reorganization of neuronal networks only possible by the recruitment of new neurons. We will test this hypothesis by studying the process of brain neurogenesis in a fish, the peacock blenny Salaria pavo. The project aims to contribute to the general understanding of the functional significance of neurogenesis in the adult brain.

TEAM

David Gonçalves 

Ph.D. Principal Investigator (PI) from ISE, USJ, Macau

Rui Oliveira 

(team member)

Pedro Vieira

Ph.D. Student from ISE, USJ, Macau

Freda Lam

(lab technician)