Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Degree Level



Biological Sciences


Nakanishi, Nagayasu

Committee Member/Reader

Lessner, Daniel

Committee Member/Second Reader

Zheng, Nan

Committee Member/Third Reader

Stauss, Kim


Nematostella vectensis is a marine sea animal that has become a model for developmental and evolutionary research. Included in the phylum Cnidaria, N. vectensis’ was chosen as the model for this research. Not only can this animal go through asexual and sexual reproduction, but it also has the ability to regenerate. Although much research has been put forth in an effort to understand regeneration better, much is still unknown. The underlying mechanisms of regeneration in Cnidaria are illusive; however, studies within vertebrates have shown the substantial role of the nervous system. The objective of this experiment is to test if the activity of the nervous system, better referred to as a nerve net in Cnidaria, is responsible for the process of regeneration in N. vectensis. This paper outlines the process of using various chemicals to block neural activities within these animals then observing the effects on regeneration to further the knowledge on the underlying factors behind regeneration. Through this research it was found that both MgCl2 and BTS slowed down the process of regeneration, but neither completely stopped regeneration from occurring. After three experiments were completed, it was concluded that the nervous system does not seem to be the main mechanism controlling regeneration. Evidence from the results show that both the nervous and muscular system seem to play a large role within regeneration. Further research could be performed to see whether anemone size, stress-responses, or chemical toxicity have specific effects on regeneration.


Regeneration, Evolutionary Biology, Developmental Biology, Nematostella vectensis, Polarity Reversal, Chemical inhibition