Cooperative Research Units
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Can plasticity protect populations from rapid environmental fluctuation?


August 2014 - May 2018


Rates of population extirpation from habitat loss have reached unprecedented levels and climate change is predicted to be a leading cause of future species extinctions. Accordingly, conservation of emergent properties that promote resistance and resilience to environmental perturbation will be vital to future population persistence. Though it has been demonstrated that phenotypic plasticity increases resilience to habitat loss, the ability for plasticity to promote population persistence under climate change and habitat degradation has not been explored. If plasticity does increase survival, failure to conserve highly plastic genotypes could accelerate species extinction. This research focuses on an economically and socially important species, brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis), to determine how the interactive effects of genetics and behavior influence differential survival of fish populations under a changing climate.


Current Staff

Federal Staff: 95

Masters Students: 240

Phd Students: 143

Post Docs: 52

University Staff: 245

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 702

Scientific Publications: 1948

Presentations: 4246



Funding Agencies

  • RK Mellon Freshwater Research Initiative
  • USGS


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey