My group’s research is at the forefront of the emerging field of conservation physiology, which explores the responses of organisms to anthropogenic threats. We integrate a wide range of tools (respirometry, performance testing, cardiovascular physiology, biochemical assays, field-monitoring, niche-modelling and meta-analyses) to determine the eco-physiological constraints dictated by current conditions and future environmental change.
Currently, our research is focused on how fish, reptiles and amphibians respond to a multivariate set of changes in their habitat. To survive, species must navigate a milieu of stressors (e.g. climate warming, contamination, acidification, hypoxia, invasive species, etc.) and stressors often interact in complex ways. Global climate change is expected to exacerbate the multitude of stressors organisms face, particularly for aquatic species in higher latitude regions, such as New Zealand. Essential to our ability to generate robust predictions of how New Zealand’s fauna will fare in the face of climate warming, is an understanding of the physiological mechanisms these organisms use to respond to multiple threats. Our research explores how exposure to stressors modulates a species’ capacity to cope with climate warming. Specifically, we explore the impact of stressors on thermal acclimation capacity, heat tolerance, and thermal reaction norms of locomotor performance, metabolism and lower-level physiological functions. For more information about my group’s research and opportunities visit our website (www.rodgerslab.com).