Featured New Research

photo of Dr. Gustavo Betini in the lab

Evolutionary trade-off causes multigenerational population cycles

Many wild populations undergo seasonality where they cycle between peaks of high and low numbers across several generations. 

Research from four members of the Department of Integrative Biology, Dr. Gustavo S. Betini, Dr. Andrew McAdam, Dr. Cortland Griswold, and Dr. Ryan Norris provides empirical and mathematical evidence that seasonality caused by density-dependence and evolutionary trade-offs may be driving these population cycles.

zebrafish embryo

Anoxia during a 4-hour window can lead to dominant and aggressive behaviour in zebrafish

Earlier research had shown that zebrafish embryos could survive hypoxia (low oxygen) and even anoxia (complete absence of oxygen) during the first 24 hours which is quite a feat.

This piqued the interest of Prof. Nick Bernier and his students, Catie Ivy and Cayleigh Robertson who are now both PhD students at McMaster University under Profs. Graham Scott and Grant McClelland, respectively.

photo of fish heart

Temperature-induced cardiac remodeling in fish

The body temperature of fish is the same as their environment. This means that a change in environmental temperatures, such as in the winter, results in a decrease in the physiological temperatures of fish. Such a change represents a significant challenge for temperate fish species, such as rainbow trout, that remain active in the winter as a decrease in temperature causes the heart to lose function. 

Daphnia embryo

Calcium can protect freshwater organisms from copper toxicity

Freshwater habitats like the shield lakes of Northern Canada have experienced dramatic water chemistry changes over the last century due to human activities such as mining, farming and forestry. Acidification of these habitats has emerged as a major problem for freshwater organisms living in these habitats and depend on calcium. For example, Daphnia, small freshwater crustaceans have to rebuild their exoskeleton in a regular basis and require calcium to do so.

Prof. Liz Boulding doing field work on the shores of Northern Spain

Insights into snail size as a 'magic trait' for speciation

Predator-driven selection has been shown to cause the evolutionary change in prey populations. A newly published paper shows evidence that selection by a predatory crab may be responsible for ongoing speciation of the marine snail Littorina saxatilis. In Northern Spain L. saxatilis has evolved into two ecotypes (genetically distinct population within a species): crab-resistant and wave-resistant.

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