Small Scale Changes to Handle Environmental Challenges
In many ways, an organism is the product of its environment. This is true even at the very small scale—right down to metabolism, where molecules are sorted, broken down and reassembled into the basic materials needed for an organism’s cells to function.
In animal cells, small compartments called mitochondria are vital for converting nutrients and molecules for use in the energy-intensive processes of survival and growth. Environmental characteristics, such as temperature, water and the availability and quality of food, influence how an animal must budget its available energy.
Dr. Jason Treberg, Canada Research Chair in Environmental Dynamics and Metabolism, is examining how environmental factors affect processes in animals at the mitochondrial level. He and his research team are exploring the idea that responses to environmental factors at the small-scale, mitochondrial level may limit animals’ abilities to respond to challenges and to survive and adapt.
The insights gained from Treberg’s research will play a role in our understanding of issues ranging from animals’ susceptibility to environmental stress to how diet influences an individual’s growth and resistance to metabolic disorders and disturbances.