SICB Division of Ecology and Evolution (DEE)

DEE Researchers Database Entry

Roberto Nespolo

Energy Usage and Optimization
Animals live and reproduce in a changing environment. Resources are limiting in most cases, and organisms are faced to use those resources in the best way that allows their persistence as a population. This is natural selection: the best are those that ensure that their offspring will reproduce at least at a rate that maintains their population size constant. Only those traits with additive genetic variation will respond to such natural selection. That is, those traits that have heritable variation. The focus of my research is the quest for patterns and processes related to energy usage and optimization, which can respond to natural selection. In other words, what is the heritable variation of physiological traits in animals? Though most of my experience is from small mammals, my attitude is more concerned with processes than with type of organism. My graduate experience was in physiological ecology where an important principle prevails: "For a large number of problems there will be some animal of choice, or a few such animals, on which it can be most conveniently studied" August Krogh (1929).