Andrew J. Esbaugh
Assistant Professor, Department of Marine Science
Office: 361-749-6835; Email:
Environmental physiology; respiratory gas exchange; acid-base and osmoregulatory balance; the evolution of physiological systems; aquatic toxicology.
In general, research in my lab focuses on the interaction between physiology and the environment in marine fish. In particular, my interest lies in the integrative roles of respiratory gas exchange, acid-base balance and osmoregulation, and how these systems are adapted to allow fish to thrive in a diverse array of environments.
One particular focus of my research involves understanding the evolution and mechanisms of respiratory gas exchange in water breathing animals. The successful uptake of oxygen and excretion of carbon dioxide are integral to all vertebrates, and in most modern teleost fish these processes are tightly linked via red blood cell proteins. However, the levels of the relevant components of red blood cells seem to vary widely among teleosts, and in more ancestral water breathers, such as sharks and hagfish, the red blood cell can be completely bypassed for carbon dioxide excretion. I am interested in deciphering the relative importance of various red blood cell proteins for gas exchange, as well as the evolutionary pressures responsible for driving carbon dioxide transport from the plasma into the red blood cells.
A second major focus of my research is looking at the potential for physiological systems to change in response to varying environments, both of natural and anthropogenic origin. Of particular interest are responses of fish to salinity changes related to evaporative water loss or freshwater inflow in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as the impacts of ocean acidification. This is of particular interest today due to the potentially damaging effects of global climate change and ocean acidification on fish populations.
A final area of research involves assessing the impacts of environmental toxins on fish survival, physiology and performance. Most recently I have been involved in examining the toxic effects of polyaromatic hydrocarbons on fish species in the Gulf of Mexico.
Current species of interest include red drum, summer flounder, spiny dogfish shark, toadfish and the Pacific hagfish.
Esbaugh, A.J., Heuer, R.M. and Grosell, M. (2012) Impacts of ocean acidification on respiratory gas exchange and acid-base balance in a marine teleost, Opsanus beta. Journal of Comparative Physiology B. Epub ahead of print.
Heuer, R.M., Esbaugh, A.J. and Grosell, M. (2012) Ocean acidification leads to counterproductive intestinal base loss in the gulf toadfish (Opsanus beta). Physiological Biochemistry and Zoology 85 (5): 450-9.
Esbaugh, A.J., Brix, K.V., Mager, E.M. and Grosell, M. (2011) Multi-linear regression models predict the effects of water chemistry on acute lead toxicity to Ceriodaphnia dubia and Pimephales promelase. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part C: Toxicology and Pharmacology 154 (3): 137-45.
Gilmour, K.M., Perry, S.F., Esbaugh, A.J., Genz, J., Taylor, J.R. and Grosell, M. (2012). Compensatory regulation of acid-base balance salinity transfer in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Journal of Comparative Physiology B. 182 (2): 259-74.
Guffey, S., Esbaugh, A.J., and Grosell, M. (2011) Regulation of apical H+-ATPase activity and intestinal HCO3- section in marine fish osmoregulation. American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative. 301 (6): R1682-91.
Esbaugh, A.J. and Walsh, P.J. (2009) Identification of two glucocorticoid response elements in the promoter region of the ubiquitous isozyme of glutamine synthetase in the gulf toadfish, Opsanus beta. American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 297 (4): R1075-81.
Gilmour, K.M., Thomas, K., Esbaugh, A.J. and Perry, S.F. (2009) Carbonic anhydrase expression and CO2 excretion during early development in zebrafish Danio rerio. Journal of Experimental Biology 212 (23): 3837-3845.
Esbaugh, A.J., Gilmour, K.M. and Perry, S.F. (2009) Membrane-bound carbonic anhydrase in the respiratory system of the Pacific hagfish (Eptatretus Stouti). Respiratory Physiology and Neurobiology 166 (2): 107-116.
Esbaugh, A.J., Perry, S.F. and Gilmour, K.M. (2009) Hypoxia-inducible carbonic anhydrase IX expression is insufficient to alleviate intracellular metabolic acidosis in the muscle of zebrafish (Danio rerio). American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 296 (1): R150-160.
Gilmour, K.M., Euverman, R.M., Esbaugh, A.J., Kenney, L., Chew, S.F., Ip, Y.K., and Perry, S.F. (2007) Mechanisms of acid-base regulation in the African lungfish, Protopterus anectens. Journal of Experimental Biology 210 (11): 1944-59.
Esbaugh, A.J. and Tufts, B.L. (2006) Evidence of a high activity carbonic anhydrase isozyme in the red blood cells of an ancient vertebrate, the sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus). Journal of Experimental Biology 209(7): 1169-1178.