Cayleih E Robertson

Cayleih E Robertson
McMaster University | McMaster · Department of Biology

Doctor of Philosophy

About

18
Publications
1,313
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253
Citations
Introduction
I am a postdoctoral fellow at McMaster University in Canada and I am broadly interested in the developmental origins of adaptive physiological traits. I use a comparative physiology approach to ask three big questions about animals that live in extreme environments. What special adaptations allow juveniles to survive to adulthood? How does rearing environment program adult phenotype? How does maternal-offspring conflict alter the physiology of both moms and babies?
Additional affiliations
September 2010 - December 2012
University of Guelph
Position
  • Master's Student
Education
September 2014 - October 2019
McMaster University
Field of study
  • Comparative Developmental Physiology

Publications

Publications (18)
Article
Full-text available
In recent years, natural and anthropogenic factors have increased aquatic hypoxia the world over. In most organisms, the cellular response to hypoxia is mediated by the master regulator hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1). HIF-1 also plays a critical role in the normal development of the cardiovascular system of vertebrates. We tested the hypothesis...
Article
Full-text available
Altricial mammals begin to independently thermoregulate during the first few weeks of postnatal development. In wild rodent populations, this is also a time of high mortality (50-95%), making the physiological systems that mature during this period potential targets for selection. High altitude (HA) is a particularly challenging environment for sma...
Article
Aerobic performance is tied to fitness as it influences an animal's ability to find food, escape predators, or survive extreme conditions. At high altitude, where low O2 availability and persistent cold prevail, maximum metabolic heat production (thermogenesis) is an aerobic performance trait that is closely linked to survival. Understanding how th...
Article
Full-text available
Small, non-hibernating endotherms increase their thermogenic capacity to survive seasonal cold, through adult phenotypic flexibility. In mammals, this response is primarily driven by remodeling of brown adipose tissue (BAT), which matures postnatally in altricial species. In many regions, ambient temperatures can vary dramatically throughout the br...
Article
Full-text available
High-altitude environments, characterized by low oxygen levels and low ambient temperatures, have been repeatedly colonized by small altricial mammals. These species inhabit mountainous regions year-round, enduring chronic cold and hypoxia. The adaptations that allow small mammals to thrive at altitude have been well studied in non-reproducing adul...
Article
Full-text available
Effective thermoregulation is important for mammals, particularly those that remain winter-active. Adjustments in thermoregulatory capacity in response to chronic cold can improve capacities for metabolic heat production (cold-induced maximal oxygen consumption, \({\dot{\text{V}}\text{O}}_{{2}} {\text{max}}\)), minimize rates of heat loss (thermal...
Article
High altitude environments challenge small mammals with persistent low ambient temperatures that require high rates of aerobic heat production in face of low O2 availability. An important component of thermogenic capacity in rodents is non-shivering thermogenesis (NST) mediated by uncoupled mitochondrial respiration in brown adipose tissue (BAT). N...
Article
At high altitude (HA), unremitting low oxygen and persistent cold push small mammals close to their metabolic ceilings, leaving limited scope for aerobically demanding activities. However, HA breeding seasons are relatively short and endemic rodents compensate with larger litters than low altitude (LA) conspecifics. Rodent mothers are the sole sour...
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
Full-text available
High-altitude environments are cold and hypoxic, and many high-altitude natives have evolved changes in respiratory physiology that improve O2 uptake in hypoxia as adults. Altricial mammals undergo a dramatic metabolic transition from ectothermy to endothermy in early post-natal life, which may influence the ontogenetic development of respiratory t...
Preprint
Full-text available
Aerobic performance is tied to fitness as it influences an animal's ability to find food, escape predators, or survive extreme conditions. At high altitude, where low O 2 availability and persistent cold prevail, maximum metabolic heat production (thermogenesis) is an aerobic performance trait that is intimately linked to survival. Understanding ho...
Article
Full-text available
Many endotherms native to cold and hypoxic high altitude (HA) environments have evolved a highly vascularized and aerobic skeletal muscle. This specialized muscle phenotype contributes via shivering to an enhanced capacity for aerobic thermogenesis (cold-induced VO2max). However, it is unclear how selection at HA for shivering thermogenesis acts ea...
Article
Synopsis: Effective aerobic locomotion depends on adequate delivery of oxygen and an appropriate allocation of metabolic substrates. The use of metabolic substrates during exercise follows a predictive pattern of lipid and carbohydrate oxidation that is similar in lowland native cursorial mammals. We have found that in two highland lineages of mic...
Article
Full-text available
Eutrophication and climate change are increasing the incidence of severe hypoxia in fish nursery habitats, yet the programming effects of hypoxia on stress responsiveness in later life are poorly understood. In this study, to investigate whether early hypoxia alters the developmental trajectory of the stress response, zebrafish embryos were exposed...
Article
Full-text available
The present study investigated the potential role of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) on calcium homeostasis in developing zebrafish (Danio rerio). It was demonstrated that zebrafish raised in hypoxic water (30 mmHg; control=155 mmHg) until 4 days post fertilisation exhibited a substantial reduction in whole body Ca(2+) levels and Ca(2+) uptake. Ca(2...
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
Abstract Chemical and molecular chaperones are organic compounds that protect and stabilize proteins from damage and aggregation as a result of cellular stress. Using the dogfish (Squalus acanthias) red blood cell (RBC) as a model, we examined whether elasmobranch cells with naturally high concentrations of the chemical chaperone trimethylamine oxi...

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