Date of Award

Winter 12-31-2015

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Biological Sciences


Harold B. Dowse

Second Committee Member

Mary S. Tyler

Third Committee Member

Leonard J. Kass

Additional Committee Members

Erik Johnson

Aaron Domina


Chapter 1 of this manuscript is a literature review that serves as an introduction to the entire dissertation. Chapter 2 examines the effects of the melatonin injection on heart rate and rhythmicity in Drosophila melanogaster Canton-S (wild-type) pupae and pupae bearing a variety of heart mutations. Chapter 3 investigates further the possible mechanisms of melatonin’s ability to increase heart rhythmicity without significantly affecting heart rate. A melatonin antagonist, luzindole; a high-affinity melatonin agonist, 2-iodomelatonin and RNAi techniques are used to identify a possible melatonin receptor in Drosophila melanogaster.

An appendix contains a previously published manuscript detailing experiments performed at the beginning of my graduate studies before I began my work with melatonin. The paper is entitled The Relationship of Heart Function to Temperature in Drosophila melanogaster and its Heritability (Jennings et al., 2009).