Simon Mom

Project Investigate the effect of body size variation at the species level on resistance to various drought-induced stressors
Candidate Simon Mom
EmailS.Mom@latrobe.edu.au
Supervisor/sProfessor Peter Pridmore (La Trobe University)
Dr Rick Stoffels (CSIRO/MDFRC)
Funding Body La Trobe University
Duration April 2014 – April 2017

Summary

Southern Australia is expected to experience more severe and more frequent droughts in the future. At present there is little understanding as to how the animals that live in wetlands will respond to such changes; especially, as some changes are likely to be too rapid to allow for evolutionary adaption.

Body size is a determinant of many critical rates in biology.  Indeed, the relationships between body mass, and many ecological processes transcend species, suggesting that body mass is likely to influence the resistance-resilience of fishes to many environmental factors. Whilst between species variation in the physiological responses of several Australian native fishes to drought-induced stressors has been investigated, intra-specific (i.e. within species) variation has been largely unexamined.

My PhD project will investigate the effect of body size variation at the species level on resistance to various drought-induced stressors; namely, increased water temperature and low dissolved oxygen. If body size does affect the resistance of fish to hypoxia, the mechanisms underlying any size-related differences in resistance (such as down-regulation, up-regulation or switching to anaerobic metabolism) will be further investigated.