Department of
Biological Sciences

Postdoc, PhD
Rachael Morgan

I am a fish physiologist carrying out a combination of laboratory and field experiments focusing on hypoxia tolerance in coral reef fishes.

Research Interests

Two ways in which fish can buffer the effects of climate change are through acclimation and adaptation. I am interested in the extent to which fish can use these two processes to mitigate the effects of high temperature and hypoxia. I work mostly with tropical fish, many of which are living at the edge of their tolerance limits and are already experiencing temperature extremes and severe hypoxia. I am therefore interested to explore what physiological mechanisms are limiting fish performance when temperatures become too extreme or waters too hypoxic. I am also interested in understanding what phsyiological adaptations have evolved to allow fish to live in such extreme environments.

Experimental approach

To have a mechanistic understanding of what is limiting fish performance under environmental change, I believe it is essential to know what is happening across different levels of the organism. To address my research questions, I therefore carry out laboratory experiments that use a combination of physiological and behavioural techniques, such as mitochondrial physiology, intermittent flow respirometry, thermal tolerance tests and swim performance measures.

Current projects

In the heat of the night - Is late-night hypoxia acting as a bottleneck for coral reef-dwelling fish?

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