Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Robert Hinrichsen, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Robert Major, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Cuong Diep, Ph.D.


Paramecium tetraurelia exhibit spontaneous behavioral responses, which operate under an ultradian rhythm with a periodicity of 45-60 minutes 3,4. There was evidence that zinc plays a role in the control of this rhythm. The goal of this study was to determine how zinc concentrations affect the ultradian rhythm. Zinc was added to the cells’ media to increase the concentration, and TPEN, a zinc chelator, was added to the media to lower the zinc concentration. Results showed that increasing zinc has no effect on the ultradian rhythm, but decreasing zinc eliminated the rhythm. When zinc and TPEN were added simultaneously, the zinc overcame TPEN’s effects. Finally, the TPEN’s effect was not long-term, as removal from TPEN allowed the cell to return to its normal ultradian rhythm. These results indicate that zinc is necessary for the maintenance of the ultradian rhythm of spontaneous behavioral responses in Paramecium tetraurelia, a novel finding.