Prof. Cosima Porteus - CERA Affiliated Faculty Spotlight

Professor Cosima Porteus (She/Her) - β€‹β€‹β€‹CERA Affiliated Faculty

Department of Biological Sciences

πŸŽ™ Tell us about yourself?

I have a BSc in Marine and Freshwater Biology and an MSc in Integrative biology from the University of Guelph. I received my Ph.D. in the department of Zoology at the University of British Columbia where I studied oxygen sensing in freshwater fish. During my postdoc at the University of Exeter, I studied the effects of elevated carbon dioxide on the behavior and physiology of fish, from an environmental as well as aquaculture and animal welfare perspective. Since 2019 I have been an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough. 


πŸŽ™ What are your research interests & what are you currently researching?

Rising temperature, hypoxia, and ocean acidification are known as the "deadly trio" and have the potential to limit species distribution and biodiversity in both freshwater and marine habitats; therefore, it is essential to understand the physiological responses of aquatic species to these stressors and their potential to adjust appropriately to these rapid changes occurring in aquatic environments. Our long-term goals are to understand the functioning of the sensory systems of aquatic animals to better predict how these animals will respond to environmental change. 


πŸŽ™ What is the significance of your current research?  

Understanding how aquatic species will respond to changing environmental conditions is a vital step in mitigating the potential negative consequences of anthropogenic climate change. Our findings have potential implications for issues ranging from global food security and marine conservation to healthy recreational and commercially-important fisheries. 


πŸŽ™ Any interesting insights/results so far related to your research?  

We have shown that ocean acidification has the potential to reduce the olfactory sensitivity of marine fish, indicating they will not be able to smell their environment as well in the future, making it imperative that we curb our current carbon dioxide emissions.   


πŸŽ™ What aspirations do you have for your research? How do you see it being utilized? 

We are interested in determining the role of plasticity in mitigating some of the negative effects of climate change on aquatic organisms. 


πŸ”— Link to my website! πŸ”—