Alisha Shah

Alisha Shah
Kellogg Biological Station at Michigan State University · Integrative Biology

Ph.D. 2018

About

25
Publications
6,102
Reads
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336
Citations
Introduction
I integrate physiology, evolution, and community ecology to understand how species and communities will respond to climate change. I test ecological hypotheses by employing an array of field and lab techniques. Though I work primarily in aquatic and terrestrial insect systems, I am always keen to apply my methods and questions to other taxa.
Additional affiliations
January 2019 - present
University of Montana
Position
  • PostDoc Position
August 2011 - May 2018
Colorado State University
Position
  • PhD Student
Education
August 2012 - May 2018
Colorado State University
Field of study
  • Evolutionary Ecology
June 2002 - May 2007
University of Texas at Austin
Field of study
  • Biology

Publications

Publications (25)
Preprint
Full-text available
ABSTRACT: Species vulnerability to global warming is often assessed using short-term metrics such as the critical thermal maximum (CTMAX), which represents an organism’s ability to survive extreme heat. However, an understanding of the long-term effects of sub-lethal warming is an essential link to fitness in the wild, and these effects are not ade...
Article
In tree canopies, incoming solar radiation interacts with leaves and branches to generate temperature differences within and among leaves, presenting thermal opportunities and risks for leaf‐dwelling ectotherms. Although leaf biophysics and insect thermal ecology are well understood, few studies have examined them together in single systems. We exa...
Article
Synopsis It has long been known that the outcome of species interactions depends on the environmental context in which they occur. Climate change research has sparked a renewed interest in context-dependent species interactions because rapidly changing abiotic environments will cause species interactions to occur in novel contexts and researchers m...
Article
Like all taxa, populations of aquatic insects may respond to climate change by evolving new physiologies or behaviors, shifting their ranges, exhibiting physiological and behavioral plasticity, or by going extinct. We evaluated the importance of plasticity by measuring changes in growth, survival, and respiratory phenotypes of salmonfly nymphs (the...
Article
Full-text available
Rapid recession of glaciers and snowfields is threatening the habitats of cold-water biodiversity worldwide. In many ice-sourced headwaters of western North America, stoneflies in the genus Lednia (Plecoptera: Nemouridae) are a prominent member of the invertebrate community. With a broad distribution in mountain streams and close ties to declining...
Article
Recent experiments support the idea that upper thermal limits of aquatic insects arise, at least in part, from a lack of sufficient oxygen: rising temperatures typically stimulate metabolic demand for oxygen more than they increase rates of oxygen supply from the environment. Consequently, factors influencing oxygen supply, like water flow, should...
Article
How aquatic insects cope with cold temperatures is poorly understood. This is particularly true for high-elevation species, which often experience a seasonal risk of freezing. In the Rocky Mountains, nemourid stoneflies (Plecoptera: Nemouridae) are a major component of mountain stream biodiversity and are typically found in streams fed by glaciers...
Article
Full-text available
A fundamental gap in climate change vulnerability research is an understanding of the relative thermal sensitivity of ectotherms. Aquatic insects are vital to stream ecosystem function and biodiversity but insufficiently studied with respect to their thermal physiology. With global temperatures rising at an unprecedented rate, it is imperative that...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change is altering conditions in high-elevation streams worldwide, with largely unknown effects on resident communities of aquatic insects. Here, we review the challenges of climate change for high-elevation aquatic insects and how they may respond, focusing on current gaps in knowledge. Understanding current effects and predicting future i...
Article
Full-text available
Rapid glacier recession is altering the physical conditions of headwater streams. Stream temperatures are predicted to rise and become increasingly variable, putting entire meltwater‐associated biological communities at risk of extinction. Thus, there is a pressing need to understand how thermal stress affects mountain stream insects, particularly...
Article
Full-text available
Environmental temperature variation may play a significant role in the adaptive evolutionary divergence of ectotherm thermal performance curves (TPCs). However, divergence in TPCs may also be constrained due to various causes. Here, we measured TPCs for swimming velocity of temperate and tropical mayflies (Family: Baetidae) and their stonefly preda...
Preprint
Full-text available
How aquatic insects cope with cold temperatures is poorly understood. This is particularly true for high-elevation species that often experience a seasonal risk of freezing. In the Rocky Mountains, nemourid stoneflies (Plecoptera: Nemouridae) are a major component of mountain stream biodiversity and are typically found in streams fed by glaciers an...
Article
Full-text available
Characterizing thermal acclimation is a common goal of eco‐physiological studies and has important implications for models of climate change and environmental adaptation. However, quantifying thermal acclimation in biological rate processes is not straight‐forward because many rates increase with temperature due to the acute effect of thermodynamic...
Preprint
Full-text available
A fundamental gap in climate change vulnerability research is an understanding of the relative thermal sensitivity of tropical and temperate organisms. Aquatic insects are vital to stream ecosystem function and biodiversity. With global temperatures rising at an unprecedented rate, it is imperative that we understand how sensitive aquatic insects a...
Preprint
Full-text available
Rapid glacier recession is altering the physical conditions of headwater streams. Stream temperatures are predicted to rise and become increasingly, potentially putting entire meltwater-associated biological communities at risk of extinction. Thus, there is a pressing need to understand how thermal stress affects mountain stream insects, particular...
Article
Alpine streams and the biotic communities they contain are imperiled worldwide due to climate warming and the rapid decline of ice. The loss of glaciers and permanent snowpack may drive local populations to extinction, especially organisms with narrow habitat tolerances. We have been monitoring alpine streams in the Teton Range since 2015 that orig...
Article
Full-text available
Mitochondria provide the vast majority of cellular energy available to eukaryotes. Therefore, adjustments in mitochondrial function through genetic changes in mitochondrial or nuclear-encoded genes might underlie environmental adaptation. Environmentally induced plasticity in mitochondrial function is also common, especially in response to thermal...
Article
Alpine streams are predicted to decline as air temperatures warm and their water sources dry. Stream temperatures are expected to increase as glaciers and permanent snowfields decrease in size. For aquatic insects that are cold-adapted and restricted to small, high elevation streams fed by glaciers or snowfields, warmer water temperatures could be...
Article
Full-text available
Species richness is greatest in the tropics, and much of this diversity is concentrated in mountains. Janzen proposed that reduced seasonal temperature variation selects for narrower thermal tolerances and limited dispersal along tropical elevation gradients [Janzen DH (1967) Am Nat 101:233-249]. These locally adapted traits should, in turn, promot...
Article
Full-text available
It has long been recognized that populations and species occupying different environments vary in their thermal tolerance traits. However, far less attention has been given to the impact of different environments on the capacity for plastic adjustments in thermal sensitivity, i.e., acclimation ability. One hypothesis is that environments characteri...
Article
Full-text available
Janzen's extension of the climate variability hypothesis (CVH) posits that increased seasonal variation at high latitudes should result in greater temperature overlap across elevations, and favour wider thermal breadths in temperate organisms compared to their tropical counterparts. We tested these predictions by measuring stream temperatures and t...
Article
Full-text available
Anuran larvae (tadpoles) can alter their behavior and morphology in response to predators with which they have coevolved. Furthermore, tadpoles of a few species are capable of learning, which can elicit or reinforce predator-avoidance behaviors. However, it remains unclear how widespread this capacity for learning is among anurans and whether it is...

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Projects

Project (1)
Project
We are interested in measuring thermal physiological traits in glacial meltwater stoneflies (Lednia spp.) that are endemic to the highest elevations of the Northern Rockies. We currently have a number of projects underway that will help us predict the species' responses to climate change.