Fish physiology, behaviour, and conservation


I am a comparative physiologist at McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada. My primary research interest is understanding the behavioural and physiological strategies fishes use to cope with changing environmental conditions. A major focus has been understanding the functional morphology of fish gills, what this means for respiration and metabolism under various environmental conditions, and investigating how intra- and inter-specific differences in respiratory performance and other metabolic traits influences behaviours such as habitat choice. My work is focused around two model systems: (1) the rivuline killifishes, a species-rich clade of tropical fishes that includes amphibious species that can survive for months out of water, and (2) the redside dace, an endangered freshwater minnow native to northeastern North America. For more information about my research interests in respiration physiology, the behaviour-physiology nexus, and conservation biology, please follow the links below.

I currently hold the Eastburn Postdoctoral Fellowship at McMaster University, where I'm working with Graham Scott and Sigal Balshine. Previously, I was a ReNewZoo Postdoctoral Fellow with Trevor Pitcher at the University of Windsor, and I completed my PhD at the University of Guelph with Patricia Wright.




The structure and function of fish gills depends on many factors, including metabolic demand and environmental challenges. I am broadly interested in how these trade-offs shape fish gills both within lifetimes (phenotypic plasticity) and over evolutionary time, and what this means for performance.



The phenotype of animals is shaped by the surrounding environment (phenotypic plasticity), but animals can also choose which environments they experience. I am interested in how these processes interact, and what this means for animals facing changing environments.



Why are some fishes endangered, while others are ubiquitous and even invasive? I am interested in understanding the physiological basis of these inter-specific differences, and I work with government and non-profit conservation practitioners to use these data to help endangered species recovery.