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Welcome to the Turko Lab in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Guelph. The aim of our research program is understanding how animals integrate physiological and behavioural responses to changing environments, how these responses evolve, and what happens when these responses feed back upon one another. A major focus is understanding the mechanics and plasticity of fish respiration and what this means for performance in different environments. We are also very interested in understanding how intra- and inter-specific differences in respiratory performance and other physiological traits influences behaviours such as habitat choice. This work takes a highly comparative approach and is focused around two model systems: (1) North American cyprinids, especially the endangered redside dace, and (2) the rivuline killifishes, a group that includes amphibious species that can survive for months out of water. For more information, visit the Research page.



The phenotype of animals is shaped by the surrounding environment (phenotypic plasticity), but animals can also choose which environments they experience. I am interested in how these processes interact, and what this means for animals facing changing environments.



Why are some fishes endangered, while others are ubiquitous and even invasive? I am interested in understanding the physiological basis of these inter-specific differences, and I work with government and non-profit conservation practitioners to use these data to help endangered species recovery.


The structure and function of fish gills depends on many factors, including metabolic demand and environmental challenges. I am broadly interested in how these trade-offs shape fish gills both within lifetimes (phenotypic plasticity) and over evolutionary time, and what this means for performance.

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