Ecophysiology and development research

Research in this theme places the physiology of organisms at the centre of investigations in ecology and evolution. Work on the developmental ecophysiology of invertebrate models (e.g. crustaceans and molluscs) examines how timing and plasticity of larval events may affect species evolution and possible responses to environmental changes such as climatic warming, ocean acidification and hypoxia. We also explore the extent to which physiology relates to the geographical ranges of species, asking whether common species have broader physiological niches than their rarer relatives, and how tolerance, performance and plasticity vary across a species range. Research here has focussed on aquatic insects, molluscs and crustaceans, and has implications for predicting vulnerability to climate change.

Our investigations with vertebrates include those on fish with the aim to link physiological responses at different levels of biological organization (molecular to whole organism); and on the comparative physiology of marine mammals (seals) that aim to determine how fuel metabolism and cellular defences are influenced by dividing and fasting in the context of natural and anthropogenic stressors.

Finally, we are also investigating the effects of altered salinity regimes on the growth of saltmarsh plants.

Ecophysiology and development staff