The respiratory system of insects is evolved to deal with water in the tracheae. Water could enter the tracheae during submersion, but during embryonic development the tracheae is liquid-filled and transitions to air-filled. In addition, periodically during juvenile stages, the tracheal system is filled with liquid as the old tracheae are removed during the process of molting. Our long-term goals are to
- understand the surface properties of the tracheal system that make it amenable to liquid movement,
- identify the routes of liquid movement through the tracheal system, and
- determine the mechanism of liquid movement (i.e., absorption across or transport along tracheae). Using x-ray images of tracheae in vitro, we are able to model the speed of water movement through tracheal tubes.
In addition, x-ray images of developing embryos shed light on the routes of fluid movement during air-filling of the tracheae.
Our short term goals are to develop the model for fluid movement and prepare the first manuscript stemming from this project. We have data collected for a manuscript and would benefit from a three-day workshop to get the manuscript to a publication-ready state.