The Secor Laboratory of Evolutionary and Integrative Physiology

at the University of Alabama




My laboratory is equipped to provide the following analytical services in metabolic and digestive physiology.


Bomb calorimetry

We have a Parr 1266 Bomb calorimeter with water-handling and temperature-control systems. Samples sent wet or dry, will be bombed in triplicate and the energy value per mass wet and/or dry weight will be determined. If necessary, energy content can also be determined for ash-free mass. Researchers have the option of visiting my lab to bomb their samples at a cost of expendables or shipping samples that we will bomb and therefore provide wet and dry mass energy content at a prearranged fee.



Intestinal nutrient uptake

We can measure uptake rates of nutrients across the intestinal brush-border membrane using the everted-sleeve technique. This methodology provides mass-specific rates of nutrient uptake and summed uptake for the entire small intestine. Traditionally, we measure nutrient uptake rates from three regions of the small intestine (proximal, middle, and distal). Requirements for a study are animals under different treatments (feeding schedule, meal type, meal size, etc), a minimum of four assistants (my students), radio-labeled nutrients and adherent-fluid marker, and chemicals and expendables. Researchers have the option of visiting my lab with experimental animals following IACUC approval and assisting in the nutrient uptake experiments. Alternatively, animals can be shipped (following IACUC approval) and my lab will conduct the nutrient uptake experiments. The fee for this work will be prearranged based on the number of animals and the number of samples and can be waived in part by an agreement of coauthorship (manuscript to be accepted for publication within 18 months of uptake study).



Metabolic rates

Using closed-system respirometry, we can measure standard metabolic rates (fasting and postabsorptive) and postprandial metabolism of amphibians and reptiles over a wide range of temperatures. Following IACUC approval, metabolic studies can be conducted on a fee base charge or through a collaborative agreement involving our input in project design and coauthorships on publications.



Data Sets

We also maintain several very large data sets on snake anatomy that can provide researchers with data to explore questions on the scaling relationships of organ mass and position. For over several hundred individuals, we have organ wet and dry mass and organ position for both the Burmese python and diamondback water snakes. In addition, we have smaller data sets (n = 3-40) for over 30 other species of snakes. These snakes have all been skeletonized, so we also have skeletal mass for each. We are maintaining the cleaned skeletons of the diamondback water snakes for future allometric studies of skeletal elements. We will provide access to these data sets and material following a collaborative agreement that will include manuscript coauthorships (for example see publication # 50).