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Anthony DiSipio Jr. ’23

2021 SOAR Profile

Environmental Effects on Group Dynamics in Shrimp

Major and Minor: Environmental Science with a minor in Biology
Hometown: Northampton, PA
Project Advisor(s): Dr. Joshua Lord

Briefly describe your project.

For my SOAR project, we studied the effects of ocean acidification on dominance hierarchies within grass shrimp (Palaemon pugio). We collected the shrimp from New Jersey and then brought them back to the lab. Once back at the lab, we separated the females from the males because only females are known to display the dominance hierarchy formation. Afterwards, we use the shrimp for tests, some controls and some in the acidified water. Some are used for short term experiments and some are used for long term experiments.


Anthony DiSipio Jr. ’23

Describe the origin of your project. (E.g., did you pitch the idea and choose a faculty member, or did they come to you with an idea?)

The project was originated by Dr. Lord, having studied grass shrimp last summer for SOAR with another student when they determined the species of saltwater grass shrimp have dominance hierarchies. In addition, I wanted to study the effects of ocean acidification. We put these two ideas together and tested to see if the ocean acidification affected the dominance hierarchies that were originally formed in normal pH waters.

What’s the best part about working with your faculty mentor? What valuable insights have they brought to your project?

The best part about working with my faculty mentor was being able to bounce ideas off of each other and create new ideas together.

What has been your biggest obstacle so far?

The biggest obstacle of SOAR was coming up with more than one method to test how ocean acidification affects the formation of the dominance hierarchies. There were some days of just going back and forth and bouncing ideas off of each of how we could test this and make sure the test was answering our specific question.

What has been your biggest takeaway from this experience?

The biggest takeaways from this experience were seeing what working in a lab is actually like day in and day out, as well as presenting and spreading my information to other schools and scientists.

What was the result of your project?

The preliminary results of our project are that the grass shrimp we studied are affected by the acidified waters to some degree and dominance hierarchy formation does not form as readily. This can be seen in our long-term tests (two weeks-acidified).

In your own words, how do you feel about being awarded this opportunity? Why should other students take advantage of the SOAR program at Moravian University?

I feel being awarded this opportunity to be able to do research at Moravian University was a major benefit for real-world experiences later on in life. I think if any student wants to know about research and what it is actually like then this is a great experience to do so.

Now that SOAR is over, do you plan to expand upon your research? If so, how?

Yes, I would like to continue marine biology research with an independent study senior year.

Have you, or do you plan to present this research outside the SOAR presentations? If so, where? Be specific, if possible.

I have presented this research at The Landmark Summer Research Symposium, which is out of the normal SOAR presentations. Furthermore, I will be able to present this information sometime in the spring semester.