Endotherms are highly specialised in their thermal physiology and generally maintain a high body temperature over a narrow range. However, environmental factors such as extreme temperatures, and fluctuating food and water resources cause physiological stress in many small endotherms, which greatly increases their living expenses. The research in my lab investigates how evolutionary drivers have shaped thermoregulatory patterns as well as energy and water demands in small birds and mammals. By gaining a mechanistic and functional understanding of variation in thermal physiology, we become better equipped to address various ecological, evolutionary, life-history and biodiversity questions - such as why certain taxa exhibit greater survival and reproductive success than others in a shared environment, and how performance is traded-off against energy and/or water balance under adverse conditions.
To address these questions, and others involving environmental selective pressures, my research integrates physiological, behavioural, and ecological factors on an individual, population and community level.