Mammal Adaptation to Seasonal Environments
In temperate environments, seasonal cycles of resource availability pose unique challenges to endothermic organisms. Despite a need to understand how individuals maintain positive energy balance across these changes, functional trait data for many groups exist at the species level, are of course granularity (e.g., categorical variables), and lack explicit functional evidence from studies of wild populations. The lab is studying size, structure, and function in a key soft tissue trait - the gastrointestinal (GI) tract - to understand response to seasons and seasonal dietary change. Our goal is to establish robust GI form-function relationships, document new natural history and phenotypic data for small mammals, and use GI proxies as a lens into mammalian response to changing resource availability and land use.