Andrew Whitehead - Ecological and Evolutionary Genomics

If you are newer to the genomics approach, this is a good paper to start with:
Whitehead, A. (2012). Comparative genomics in ecological physiology: Toward a more nuanced understanding of acclimation and adaptation. Journal of Experimental Biology, 215: 884-891

Gill plasticity came up in discussion on Thursday. F. heteroclitus is our gill plasticity superstar. However, plasticity is a bit of a broad term- and we had a discussion in our lab today about the difference between developmentally programed changes that result in gill morphology reconstruction vs. the alterations that occur in our fish, where the response is due to an altered environmental parameter. Obviously, there is some grey area with of the type of trigger. Are alterations that occur in concert (programmed) with other reproductive physiology shifts functionally different from those that allow F. het to tolerate a wide range of salinities? Our killifish stay put in their spot, despite dramatic changes in salinity. It is an estuary fish, so a big rain event would cause a dramatic shift in salinity. They have plasticity in that their gills undergo compensatory changes that allow it to osmoregulate in the face of salinity stress. Salmon prepare, and undergo a sort of metamorphosis in anticipation of salinity differences, where killifish reconstruct gills if salinity is altered. My labmate mentioned that salmon die when acutely stressed by salinity (depending on the stage in reproduction). We are curious about the similarities/differences in physiological mechanisms underlie the two strategies for dealing with the same environmental stressor. My labmate, Reid has a bit more insight about salinity challenges- that is what he is writing his dissertation on (in killifish). If anyone has any insight/arguments- please contact him- rsbrennan@ucdavis.edu it would be interesting to discuss this with anyone. Cheers


Whitehead, A., J.L. Roach, S. Zhang, and F. Galvez (2012). Salinity- and population-dependent genome regulatory response during osmotic acclimation in the killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus) gill. Journal of Experimental Biology, 215: 1293-1305


Whitehead, A., F. Galvez, S. Zhang, L.M. Williams, and M.F. Oleksiak (2011). Functional genomics of physiological plasticity and local adaptation in killifish. Journal of Heredity, 102(5): 499-511.