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Environmental and physiological variation


The overarching research goal of the Dowd laboratory is to understand the interactions between environmental variation and physiological variation. Current models include rocky intertidal zone mussels (in the genus Mytilus) and tidepool copepods (Tigriopus californicus), focusing on small-scale spatial and temporal environmental variation and its relationship to inter-individual and inter-species differences in physiological phenomena such as thermal tolerance, antioxidant capacity, and measures of performance (growth/fecundity). We work in the laboratory and in dynamic coastal habitats. Going forward, we are particularly interested in:

  1. potential biochemical mediators of cross-talk between responses to multiple environmental stressors (e.g., salinity, temperature, oxygen, food availability), as well as the broader ecological and evolutionary consequences of these mechanisms.
  2. connecting variation in molecular and biochemical phenotypes to variation in performance.
  3. the community-level consequences of variation in physiology.






Click through the links at left to learn more about some of our ongoing research themes and to access our publications.