Dr. Katie Lotterhos’ lab investigates effects of thermal stress on rockfish



Kelly Clement and Katie Lotterhos



Sara Schaal (Ph.D. student)

Due to changing ocean temperatures occurring on contemporary timescales, research focused on understanding the response of marine organisms to thermal stress is becoming more important. Here at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre, under the supervision of Dr. Katie Lotterhos at Northeastern Marine Science Center, PhD student Sara Schaal conducted an experiment aimed at understanding the performance of two rockfish species across a range of temperatures.

Copper and black juvenile rockfish recruit under different ocean conditions and their recruitment success is highly dependent on ocean conditions.

Studies have found that black juvenile rockfish recruit early in the season during cool, upwelling events, whereas copper juvenile rockfish recruit later in the season during warm, down-welling events, making this an interesting system to compare thermal tolerances within a genus. Phenotypic measurements of respiration, growth and activity rates were collected and will be used to characterize the thermal performance of each species.

To complement the phenotypic measurements of performance, tissue samples from the gills, muscle and fin were sampled and will be used to examine changes in gene expression across this temperature gradient. This will allow Sara to link changes in phenotypic performance to the molecular response of those organisms to the various temperature treatments.