In collaboration with new marine physiology professor, Nishad Jayasundara, and collaborators at Duke University, we’ve published our findings on the cost of evolving tolerance to anthropogenic pollutants in the Atlantic killifish. These fish represent a “natural experiment” in which to study the evolution of toxin resistance; they have evolved the ability to survive exposure to high levels of PAHs, making it possible to inhabit Superfund sites in the Elizabeth River, Virginia. In this system, our new paper explores the hypothesis that the evolution of resistance to one stressor makes organisms more susceptible to other stressors. For more information, check out our paper here.
Congratulations to Amanda Shuman, who successfully defended her Honors thesis entitled The Potential Impact of Climate Change on Blue Whale Migration in the Eastern Pacific. Amanda, who was co-advised by Drs. Kristina Cammen and Fei Chai, focused on three main topics for her literature review-based thesis: current blue whale migration patterns, current conditions of blue whale calving and foraging grounds, and climate change projections for those key areas. Through her synthesis of the current literature on these topics, she concludes that the foraging grounds (in particular local krill abundance) are likely to be more dramatically impacted by climate change than the calving grounds, and accordingly blue whales will likely have to extend their current migration route to find sufficient prey in the warming subpolar waters.
This fall, Amanda will begin a Masters program in Environmental Science at the University of New Haven. We wish her luck in her next steps!
Kristina officially starts as an Assistant Professor of Marine Mammal Science in the School of Marine Sciences on May 1. In this new position, Kristina will teach classes in marine mammals and ocean health, and build a research program focused on the ecology, evolution, and population health of marine mammal species in the Gulf of Maine and elsewhere.