Andy Turko

Andy Turko
Wilfrid Laurier University | WLU · Department of Biology

PhD

About

45
Publications
7,614
Reads
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701
Citations
Citations since 2017
33 Research Items
624 Citations
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Introduction
I am interested in the morphological and physiological strategies used by amphibious fishes to survive in both aquatic and terrestrial habitats. My research is focused on understanding how fish out of water support their bodies, which are effectively weightless in water. Other areas of interest include understanding the mechanisms used by amphibious fishes to maintain oxygen delivery, and trying to discover what phenotypic traits are most important for increasing emersion tolerance of fishes.
Additional affiliations
January 2013 - October 2018
University of Guelph
Position
  • PhD Student
Description
  • Evolutionary physiology of amphibious fishes.

Publications

Publications (45)
Article
Full-text available
Fishes acclimated to hypoxic environments often increase gill surface area to improve O2uptake. In some species, surface area is increased via reduction of an interlamellar cell mass (ILCM) that fills water channels between gill lamellae. Amphibious fishes, however, may not increase gill surface area in hypoxic water because these species can inste...
Article
Full-text available
The morphology of fish gills is closely linked to aerobic capacity and tolerance of environmental stressors such as hypoxia. The importance of gill surface area is well studied, but little is known about how the mechanical properties of gill tissues determine function. In some fishes, the bases of the gill filaments are surrounded by a calcified 's...
Article
Full-text available
Urbanization tends to increase water temperatures in streams and rivers and is hypothesized to be contributing to declines of many freshwater fishes. However, factors that influence individual variation in thermal tolerance, and how these may change seasonally, are not well understood. To address this knowledge gap, we studied redside dace Clinosto...
Article
Amphibious and aquatic air-breathing fishes both exchange respiratory gasses with the atmosphere, but these fishes differ in physiology, ecology, and possibly evolutionary origins. We introduce a scoring system to characterize inter-specific variation in amphibiousness and use this system to highlight important unanswered questions about the evolut...
Article
Full-text available
Habitat choice can either speed up or slow rates of phenotypic evolution, depending on which trait is measured. We suggest that habitat choice plays an analogous, and generally overlooked, role in shaping patterns of phenotypic plasticity. Using our work with an amphibious fish, we discuss two case studies that demonstrate how habitat choice can bo...
Article
Major ecological transitions such as the invasion of land by aquatic vertebrates may be facilitated by positive feedback between habitat choice and phenotypic plasticity. We used the amphibious fish Kryptolebias marmoratus to test the hypothesis that aquatic hypoxia, emergence behaviour, and respiratory plasticity create this type of positive feedb...
Article
Full-text available
When amphibious fishes are on land, gill function is reduced or eliminated and the skin is hypothesized to act as a surrogate site of ionoregulation. Skin ionocytes are present in many fishes, particularly those with amphibious life histories. We used nine closely related killifishes spanning a range of amphibiousness to first test the hypothesis t...
Article
Transcriptomic research provides a mechanistic understanding of an organism's response to environmental challenges such as increasing temperatures, which can provide key insights into the threats posed by thermal challenges associated with urbanization and climate change. Differential gene expression and alternative splicing are two elements of the...
Article
Understanding the mechanisms that create phenotypic variation within and among populations is a major goal of physiological ecology. Variation may be a consequence of functional trade-offs (i.e. improvement in one trait comes at the expense of another trait) or alternatively may reflect the intrinsic quality of an organism (i.e. some individuals ar...
Article
Full-text available
Sociality in animals depends on identification and recognition of conspecifics and social interactions can be a key driving force in ecological processes. We capitalized on the environmentally dependent sociality and unique reproductive strategy of the self-fertilizing mangrove rivulus (Kryptolebias marmoratus) to disentangle the influence of relat...
Preprint
Full-text available
Transcriptomics provides a mechanistic understanding of an organism’s response to environmental challenges such as increasing temperatures, which can provide key insights into the threats posed by thermal challenges associated with urbanization and climate change. Differential gene expression and alternative splicing are two elements of the transcr...
Preprint
Full-text available
Major ecological transitions such as the invasion of land by aquatic vertebrates have been hypothesised to be facilitated by positive feedback between habitat choice and phenotypic plasticity. We tested whether aquatic hypoxia, emergence behaviour, and plastic changes in gill surface area could create such a positive feedback loop and drive an amph...
Article
Full-text available
With over 30,000 recognized species, fishes exhibit an extraordinary variety of morphological, behavioural, and life-history traits. The field of fish cognition has grown markedly with numerous studies on fish spatial navigation, numeracy, learning, decision-making, and even theory of mind. However, most cognitive research on fishes takes place in...
Article
Full-text available
Reintroduction is an increasingly common conservation tool to recover populations of imperilled species, but success depends on the suitability of the introduced animals’ phenotype for their new habitat. For fishes, thermal tolerance may be a key trait in urbanized habitats. We compared thermal tolerance (CTmax) among three lineages (western, centr...
Article
When the amphibious mangrove rivulus (Kryptolebias marmoratus) leaves water for extended periods, hemoglobin-O2 binding affinity increases. We tested the hypothesis that the change in affinity was a consequence of hemoglobin isoform switching driven by exposure to environments associated with increased internal CO2 levels. We exposed K. marmoratus...
Article
A powerful way to evaluate scientific explanations (hypotheses) is to test the predictions that they make. In this way, predictions serve as an important bridge between abstract hypotheses and concrete experiments. Experimental biologists, however, generally receive little guidance on how to generate quality predictions. Here, we identify two impor...
Article
Full-text available
Article
Metabolic rate and life history traits vary widely both among and within species reflecting trade-offs in energy allocation, but the proximate and ultimate causes of variation are not well understood. We tested the hypothesis that these trade-offs are mediated by environmental heterogeneity, using isogenic strains of the amphibious fish Kryptolebia...
Article
Full-text available
Article
Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a potent respiratory toxin that makes sulfidic environments tolerable to only a few organisms. We report the presence of fishes (Kryptolebias marmoratus, Poecilia orri, Gambusia sp., and Dormitator maculatus) in Belizean mangrove pools with extremely high H2S concentrations (up to 1,166 mM) that would be lethal for most fi...
Article
Fishes are effectively weightless in water due to the buoyant support of the environment, but amphibious fishes must cope with increased effective weight when on land. Delicate structures such as gills are especially vulnerable to collapse and loss of surface area out of water. We tested the ‘structural support’ hypothesis that amphibious Polypteru...
Article
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Article
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The invasion of land required amphibious fishes to evolve new strategies to avoid toxic ammonia accumulation in the absence of water flow over the gills. We investigated amphibious behaviour and nitrogen excretion strategies in six phylogenetically diverse Aplocheiloid killifishes (Anablepsoides hartii, Cynodonichthys hildebrandi, Rivulus cylindrac...
Article
Amphibious fishes moving over land between aquatic habitats likely encounter abrupt changes in a number of environmental conditions, including salinity. This study characterized the 1) spatial heterogeneity in salinity in the mangrove forest habitat of the self-fertilizing, amphibious mangrove rivulus (Kryptolebias marmoratus), 2) metabolic cost an...
Article
Full-text available
Skeletal muscle remodeling in response to terrestrial acclimation improves the locomotor performance of some amphibious fishes on land, but the cue for this remodeling is unknown. We tested the hypothesis that muscle remodeling in the amphibious Kryptolebias marmoratus on land is driven by higher O2 availability in atmospheric air, and the alternat...
Article
Full-text available
The skin of amphibious fishes is a multipurpose organ, important for gas and ion exchange and nitrogen excretion when fish are out of water (emersed). We tested the hypothesis that skin permeability is altered to maintain water balance through changes in water permeability and skin thickness during salinity acclimation and/or when fish emerse, usin...
Article
Full-text available
Terrestrial animals must support their bodies against gravity, while aquatic animals are effectively weightless because of buoyant support from water. Given this evolutionary history of minimal gravitational loading of fishes in water, it has been hypothesized that weight-responsive musculoskeletal systems evolved during the tetrapod invasion of la...
Article
Full-text available
Some cyprindid and cyprinidontiform fishes undergo gill remodeling via the proliferation or regression of an interlamellar cell mass (ILCM), resulting in the modification of gill surface area in response to environmental hypoxia or ion levels. We hypothesized that ion-related gill remodeling is regulated by water hardness through the interactions o...
Article
Elevated levels of metals have been reported in mangrove ecosystems worldwide. Mangrove fishes also routinely experience severe environmental stressors, such as hypoxia. In the amphibious fish Kryptolebias marmoratus (mangrove rivulus), a key behavioural response to avoid aquatic stress is to leave water (emersion). We hypothesized that copper (Cu)...
Article
Full-text available
Air and water differ dramatically in density and viscosity, posing different biomechanical challenges for animal locomotion. We asked how terrestrial acclimation influences locomotion in amphibious fish, specifically testing the hypothesis that terrestrial tail flip performance is improved by plastic changes in the skeletal muscle. Mangrove rivulus...
Article
Full-text available
Amphibious fishes spend part of their life in terrestrial habitats. The ability to tolerate life on land has evolved independently many times, with more than 200 extant species of amphibious fishes spanning 17 orders now reported. Many adaptations for life out of water have been described in the literature, and adaptive phenotypic plasticity may pl...
Article
Full-text available
Recent studies suggest that projected rises of aquatic CO2 levels cause acid-base regulatory responses in fishes that lead to altered GABAergic neurotransmission and disrupted behaviour, threatening fitness and population survival. It is thought that changes in Cl- and HCO3- gradients across neural membranes interfere with the function of GABA-gate...
Article
Full-text available
Amphibious fishes often emerse (leave water) when faced with unfavourable water conditions. How amphibious fishes cope with the risks of rising water temperatures may depend, in part, on the plasticity of behavioural mechanisms such as emersion thresholds. We hypothesized that the emersion threshold is reversibly plastic and thus dependent on recen...
Article
Full-text available
Few teleost fishes incubate embryos out of water, but the oxygen-rich terrestrial environment could provide advantages for early growth and development. We tested the hypothesis that embryonic oxygen uptake is limited in aquatic environments relative to air using the self-fertilizing amphibious mangrove rivulus, Kryptolebias marmoratus, which typic...
Article
The order Cyprinodontiformes contains an exceptional diversity of amphibious taxa, including at least 34 species from six families. These cyprinodontiforms often inhabit intertidal or ephemeral habitats characterized by low dissolved oxygen or otherwise poor water quality, conditions that have been hypothesized to drive the evolution of terrestrial...
Article
Full-text available
Aquatic hypercapnia may have helped drive ancestral vertebrate invasion of land. We tested the hypothesis that amphibious fishes sense and respond to elevated aquatic PCO2 by behavioural avoidance mechanisms, and by morphological changes at the chemoreceptor level. Mangrove rivulus (Kryptolebias marmoratus) were exposed to 1 week of normocapnic con...
Article
Full-text available
Despite the abundance of oxygen in atmospheric air relative to water, the initial loss of respiratory surface area and accumulation of carbon dioxide in the blood of amphibious fishes during emersion may result in hypoxemia. Given that the ability to respond to low oxygen conditions predates the vertebrate invasion of land, we hypothesized that amp...
Article
Full-text available
Thermal acclimation can alter cardiac function and morphology in a number of fish species, but little is known about the regulation of these changes. The purpose of the current study was to determine how cold acclimation affects zebrafish (Danio rerio) cardiac morphology, collagen composition, and connective tissue regulation. Heart volume, the thi...
Article
Full-text available
The skin-breathing amphibious fish Kryptolebias marmoratus experiences rapid environmental changes when moving between water- and air-breathing, but remodelling of respiratory morphology is slower (~1 week). We tested the hypotheses that (1) there is a trade-off in respiratory function of gills displaying aquatic versus terrestrial morphologies and...
Article
Full-text available
The self-fertilizing mangrove rivulus, Kryptolebias marmoratus, can produce homozygous ‘clonal’ offspring and are highly tolerant of severe environmental conditions, including air exposure (emersion) for weeks at a time. We tested the following hypotheses: (1) individual fish that voluntarily emerse more possess gill and skin features better suited...

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Projects

Projects (3)
Project
My postdoc work has focussed on understanding the physiological mechanisms leading to population declines of endangered freshwater fishes, particularly redside dace. A second focus is translating this knowledge into conservation policy and planning.