Meeting Abstract

BART-1  Monday, Jan. 4 19:00  Interfacing Energetics, Behavioral Ecology and Evolution to Illuminate Blind Spots and Elicit Discovery CAREAU, V; CAREAU, Vincent; University of Ottawa

A long-standing goal in integrative and comparative biology is to explain variability in metabolic rate across levels of organization (species, populations, individuals). The overall objective of my research is to identify the functional causes and consequences of co-adaptations among metabolic, behavioral, performance, and life-history traits. In this special address I will highlight how – perhaps by a twist of fate – my research exemplifies some of Bartholomew’s precepts in integrative biology. Bart recognized that behavior should be incorporated as a basic part of physiological ecology, which has been a major source of inspiration for my work on the “energetics of personality”. I will also show how studying chipmunks in their natural environment can reveal the energetic and survival costs of botfly parasitism. Finally, I will show an example of what Bart called a "blind spot" a readily accessible but unworked area of genuine interest that lies in plain sight but untouched within one discipline while being heavily worked in another. Indeed, little attention has been paid to individual variation in thermal sensitivity of metabolism. Therefore, we can elicit discovery by taking the standard questions and statistical techniques employed in behavioral ecology and quantitative genetics and applying them to study thermal sensitivity. Now more than ever, studying complex traits and crossing disciplinary barriers represents a rewarding strategy for making scientific progress.

Dr. Vincent Careau completed a B.Sc. degree in Biology at Université de Sherbrooke (2000-2003), a M.Sc. degree at the Université du Québec à Montréal (2004-2006), and a Ph.D. at the Université de Sherbrooke (2007-2010). He then obtained a NSERC postdoctoral fellowship, which he held at the University of California Riverside (2011-2012) and later moved to Australia as an Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2013-2015). Dr. Careau is now an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa where he holds a Canada Research Chair in Functional Ecology. Dr. Careau's research program involves the combination of several approaches (quantitative genetics, comparative methods, experimental evolution, and field studies) to examine trait co-variation across multiple levels of organization (e.g., intra-individual, inter-individual, inter-population, and inter-specific levels). He studies co-adaptations among metabolic rates, performance, behavior, and life-history strategies favored under different ecological conditions.