Hello, my name is Susan, and I am heading into my final months here at Western and the Sinclair Lab. My background in science and biology has been in marine ecology; mostly predator-prey interactions. In studying the marine organisms in the field, learned that the species interactions shift with the seasons: what once were herbivores, turn to carnivory; friend became foe. What goes on in the winter, when no-one is watching? How do these organisms live in the winter?
These questions led me to study thermal physiology and overwintering, albeit in terrestrial ectotherms. With arachnid study organisms – mites, pseudoscorpions, and spiders – I am investigating how this group of animals cope with the changing seasons, and how the Arctic spiders can acclimate to novel thermal regimes. My research is applicable to many systems, and what I learn here I will apply to marine and intertidal organisms, whose daily temperature fluctuations are some of the greatest on the planet.