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About the lab

Photo: Lydia Walton

The global redistribution of species is leading to large-scale community change. Gaining a process-based understanding for what factors create species and community resilience with environmental variability is an important research objective for our time. We address this theme by linking physiological thresholds of organisms to the environment they experience, quantifying changes in animal behaviour, the outcome of species interactions, and distribution patterns.

Our team applies experimental protocols, complementary laboratory and field approaches, meta-analytic approaches, and modern statistical tools to link  spatial and temporal trends in abiotic variables at biologically relevant scales.


A pool of water near Hveravellir, Iceland, captured with a FLIR infrared camera. Such tools allow us to visualize the temperature gradient present in a habitat, and how inhabitants like the freshwater snail, Physella acuta, may alter their behaviour to utilize the air/water interface in accordance with physiological tolerance thresholds.


The lab's metabolic kit - a custom-built experimental system used to measure oxygen consumption - has been applied to green urchin (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis) from the Avalon Peninsula, NL, to ochre sea stars (Pisaster ochraceus) from Barkley Sound, BC. Linking field collections to this laboratory approach, metabolic rate measurements can provide insight on the physiological plasticity of organisms exposed to different environmental factors.

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