Todgham Lab

Environmental Physiology in a Changing Climate

New publications: Effects of multiple stressors on Chinook salmon development and native and non-native Delta fish physiology

Graduate student Annelise Del Rio published her first study investigating the effects of hypoxia (low dissolved oxygen) and warming on Chinook salmon development and physiology in the journal Conservation Physiology.   She found that hypoxia reduced salmon survival and growth, but improved tolerance to acute stressors. Hypoxia and warming had significant interactions suggesting both factors are important to consider for water management strategies that target salmon survival. Her work continues to investigate the effects of warming and hypoxia on early life stage salmon.

Recent PhD graduate Brittany Davis published a study she conducted as a Delta Science Fellow in the journal Conservation Physiology . She studied the physiological responses of the native Delta Smelt and non-native Mississippi Silverside and Largemouth Bass to serial increases in salinity and temperature as single and combined stressors. She found that non-native species had consistently higher thermal tolerances than the native smelt, suggesting non-native species may do better in warm San Francisco Estuary habitats while Delta smelt populations may be negatively impacted with warming water. Congratulation Britt!


New Publication: Triploid sturgeon, acute stress, and warming

Graduate student Michaiah Leal published her second study comparing the physiology of diploid and triploid white sturgeon in the journal Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular and Integrative Physiology. She found that both ploidies have a similar stress response to an acute water reduction stressor both with and without warming, but triploid sturgeon have a reduced metabolic response to stress that may negatively affect their performance. Her work continues to investigate physiological differences in diploid and triploid sturgeon, which can both be found in commercial aquaculture facilities. Congratulations Michaiah!


Michaiah taking a blood sample from a sturgeon. Photo by Fred Conte.

Chessie and Sarah present at the American Physiological Society meeting

Chessie and Sarah attended and presented posters at the 2018 American Physiological Society meeting in New Orleans, LA.  Sarah (L) presented some of her recent master’s research about the physiological effects of tidal acclimation on the green crab. Chessie (R) presented data from an NSF funded collaborative research project on California mussels, sirtuins, and various stressors. Great job!

Annelise Del Rio awarded Delta Science Fellowship

Salmon Todgham Lab UC Davis

Annelise conducting a salmon experiment

Annelise Del Rio was recently awarded a Delta Science Fellowship from California Sea Grant and the US Bureau of Reclamation. Her PhD research will examine the effects of elevated temperature and hypoxia on the development and physiological performance of early life stages of Chinook salmon. Congratulations Annelise!

Read more about her and the rest of the 2018 Fellows at


Antarctic Research Season Begins

Todgham lab members are off to Antarctica for another season of research at McMurdo station!  Anne, along with students Mandy, Ken, and Andrew, will be studying the effects of warming and ocean acidification on Antarctic fishes. Check out their expedition blog ( to see what they’re up to!


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New Publication: Physiological performance of diploid and triploid sturgeon in response to warming

Michaiah’s first sturgeon project is now published in Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology. Her work explores the differences in stress response, immunity and metabolism in white sturgeon of different ploidies acclimated to different temperatures. Read about it at Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology or under our Publications page. Congratulations Michaiah!

Leal, M.J., Clark, B.E., Van Eenennaam, J., Schreier, A.D., and Todgham, A.E. 2018. The effects of warm temperature acclimation on constitutive stress, immunity, and metabolism in white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) of different ploidies. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology

New Publication! Ocean acidification and hypoxia in rockfish: Behavior and Physiology

A collaborative project led by Todgham lab graduate student Brittany Davis is now available at Conservation Physiology. Her work investigated the effects of CO2-acidification and hypoxia on predator prey interactions as well as metabolism. She observed compensatory responses after an acclimation period that suggest these fish may be resilient to environmental changes predicted to occur with climate change. Read all about it at Conservation Physiology or under Publications!


Davis BE, Komoroske LM, Hansen MJ, Poletto JB, Perry EN, Miller NA, Ehlman SM, Wheeler SG, Sih A, Todgham AE, Fangue NA (2018)
Juvenile rockfish show resilience to CO2-acidification and hypoxia across multiple biological scales. Conserv Physiol 6(1): coy038; doi:10.1093/

Lab outreach events a success!

This spring several Todgham lab members participated in three outreach events to share our research with the public. At the annual UC Davis campus open house, Picnic Day, we had a station all about sturgeon. We had both tiny 1 month old sturgeon to view and larger 11 month old sturgeon in a touch tank so guests could experience sturgeon up close. 


Lab members also visited two elementary schools. We had a station at Marguerite Montgomery Elementary School’s Science Expo here in Davis. Activities focused on the lab’s Antarctic research from current threats facing Antarctic fish and how we study physiology to the challenges of conducting research in Antarctica.

At Marion Mix Elementary in Elk Grove we visited a 6th grade classroom. We had a lot of fun teaching this enthusiastic class about salmon conservation, Antarctic fish physiology, and how we came to be graduate students.



Undergraduates awarded departmental scholarships

Two of our stellar undergraduates were awarded scholarships from the Department of Animal Science and honored at the Animal Science Spring BBQ. Lorenzo was awarded the Gary P.  Moberg Memorial Award and Gabi received the Elizabeth Graves Hosselkus Scholarship. Congratulations!

Gabriella Mukai awarded NOAA Hollings Scholarship

Todgham lab undergraduate student Gabi Mukai was selected for the 2018 class of NOAA Hollings Scholars. Through the Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship she will receive financial aid as well as research experience at a NOAA facility. Congratulations Gabi!

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