The Payne Lab
We have a broad interest in ecology and marine biology, but here are a few research themes we are currently most excited about!
To see our PUBLICATIONS, go to our Scholar page
Temperature has a profound influence on the physiology and fitness of ectotherms, but we still have much to learn about the role of temperature in setting where species can live, and how well they can perform there. Our lab uses a wide ranges of approaches - from bio-logging with wild animals to laboratory experimentation and theoretical modelling - to explore how temperature regulates individual performance of animals, and how that relationship then sets limits to the environments they can inhabit in nature.
We think this kind of knowledge is very important for predicting how species will respond to future changes in environmental temperature, as is happening with climate change.
You can check out some of our papers on thermal biology at these links:
Optimal temperatures for tiger sharks - Global Change Biology
New idea about global patterns in thermal tolerance - Ecology Letters
Temperature vs performance in wild fishes - Functional Ecology
SUSTAINABLE MARINE ECOTOURISM
Ecotourism is a blossoming industry worldwide, and often considered a sustainable way of interacting with wildlife. But what impact does ecotourism have on the animals being interacted with? We address this question by conducting respirometry experiments, recording behaviour of wild animals, and undertaking bioenergetics modelling. Our recent ecotourism research has been conducted in Ireland, Fiji, and Australia, and in species including Atlantic Bluefin Tuna and white sharks.
You can check out one of our papers on ecotourism impacts at this link:
Ecotourism changes energy budget of whitetip sharks - Biological Conservation
ENERGETICS OF MARINE ANIMALS
Energy is a key currency of life, and animals need to carefully manage the balance between acquiring and using it. We have a keen interest in the energetics of marine animals, and use tools such as hydrodynamic modelling, biologging and respirometry experiments to estimate the energetic costs of different activities. Such information can be really important for understanding how much food animals need to eat, their role in broader ecosystems, and even basic things like how fast fish can swim.
You can check out some of our papers on energetics at these links:
Crazy side-swimming in hammerhead sharks - Nature Communications
World's largest treadmill for fishes - Methods in Ecology & Evolution