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Adaptations to Acidic Environments

Surface pH of fresh waters can differ dramatically on both spatial and temporal scales in many regions of the planet, presenting many physiological challenges for resident fish species. Acidic lakes and rivers are natural phenomena resulting from permanently or transiently low buffering capacity, and/or high concentrations of organic acids. Atlantic Canada is home to many acidic water bodies that host fish populations, yet our understanding of the evolutionary physiology of these populations is not well understood.


Tusket River Wilderness Area, Nova Scotia

Main Research Questions

1) Do populations inhabiting acidic fresh waters represent physiological diversity that should be managed and protected?

2) Are there correlates between interspecific and intraspecific differences in acid tolerance?


3) Which genes or genetic loci are under selection in acid populations and what can these tell us about the mechanisms of acid adaptation in fishes?

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