We are broadly interested in understanding how anthropogenic stressors, such as climate change and capture, affect coastal fishes. Specifically, we study how the cardiorespiratory systems of benthic elasmobranch and teleost fishes respond to concurrent stressors (e.g., acidosis and hypoxia). We hope to broadly apply these mechanistic processes to the management process, helping refine our ability to ask meaningful questions and create effective fisheries regulations.
See below for specific projects.
Impacts of Oxygen Availability on Cardiac Function
The heart is one of the first organs to fail at high temperatures, and may be the mechanism limiting organismal thermal limits. It is unknown, however, what causes cardiac arrhythmia at high temperatures. We are investigating how oxygen availability (or lack thereof) may limit cardiac function through in vivo techniques that assess cardiac thermal scope.
Blood Oxygen Affinity in Elasmobranch Fishes
Blood oxygen affinity is the essential process that allows oxygen uptake at the gills and offloading at the capillaries. While this has been extensively studied in teleost fishes, less is know about this process in elasmobranch fishes. Specifically, we are interested in examining patterns in blood P50 across species with relation to metabolic rate and hypoxia tolerance.
Incorporating Ecologically Relevant Parameters into Lab-Based Experiments
Lab based experiments are essential for elucidating mechanisms driving observed physiological processes. When attempting to extrapolate results to the real world, however, the limitations of static or single-stressor treatments can lead to over- or under- estimation of ecological impacts. We are committed to assessing physiological responses across levels of biological organization to multiple concurrent stressors, and to using ecologically informed variability in our study designs, in order to better predict real-world consequences of climate change.