Amazing Aquatic Athletes in the Anthropocene

THU, MAY 11, 2017

Globally, coral reefs are at risk from human-induced stressors – such as ocean warming, acidification, and hypoxia – now more than at any time in recorded history. Dramatic effects on fish performance, distribution, and overall ecosystem health are predicted. While the evolutionary success of fish is credited to their adaptations to challenging environmental conditions, whether they can keep pace with the large-scale, rapid changes plaguing their habitats today is not known. Coral reef fishes may be at greater risk as they diversified during a time of relative stable environmental conditions, and today’s rapidly changing conditions may heighten their vulnerability.

Through her research, Dr. Jodie Rummer is tracking metabolic and swimming performance of fishes under climate-change relevant conditions, across development and species, and over multiple generations. This information is crucial for making predictions as to which species and/or populations may be most at risk from climate change and whether the fishes’ long evolutionary history will be enough to protect them from future changes in their habitat.

+ BIO: Jodie Rummer

I earned my Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in November 2010 and have had excellent opportunities throughout my research career thus far both as a Ph.D. student, as a Post-doctoral Fellow, and now as a Research Fellow. My PhD. thesis, under the supervision of Prof. Colin Brauner, focused on the evolution of oxygen uptake and delivery in fishes and the mechanisms used to maintain performance during stress.

Upon completing my Ph.D., I worked with Prof. David J. Randall (emeritus, UBC), at the City University of Hong Kong as a Post-doctoral Fellow (2010-2011) where I investigated the role of secondary circulatory systems during stress in fish. In 2011, I was awarded an Australian Research Council “Super Science Fellowship” at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoECRS) at James Cook University (JCU). Here at the CoECRS, I am currently a Senior Research Fellow (Assistant Professor level in North America) and was just awarded an ARC Discovery Grant (early career) to fund the next 3 years of my research. Broadly, my research program addresses coral reef fish adaptation and the resilience of coral reef ecosystems to climate change.

New England Aquarium