SICB Division of Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry (DCPB)

Researchers Database Entry

Inna Sokolova

Bioenergetic approaches to assess the combined effects of multiple stressors in marine organisms
In today's world, geological forces have combined with past and present human activities to cause an extremely rapid environmental change, one that is often too fast to permit the long process of evolutionary adaptation that can require many generations to complete. The population survival and distribution of many species in this rapidly changing world will depend on their abilities to cope with stress and to quickly adjust their physiology to environmental change. My research focuses on the interactive effects of multiple stressors (including pollution, oxygen deficiency, temperature and salinity stress, and ocean acidification) on marine organisms in naturally stressful environments (such as estuaries and intertidal zones) and during global anthropogenic change. To address this challenge, tools are needed that integrate the effects of stressors that have different nature, mechanisms of action and can interact in a non-linear way. In my lab, we use ecological bioenergetics as such integrative tool that allows measuring, comparing and integrating the effects of multiple stressors at different levels of biological hierarchy - from molecules and mitochondria to whole-organisms and their populations, and links stress-induced changes in physiology to the fitness consequences to predict the potential consequences of the environmental change to their populations. Our study models include marine and freshwater invertebrates (such as mollusks and crustaceans), as well as vertebrate ectotherms (frogs).

[Photograph Courtesy Univ. of Rostock]