Research

Research interests

I have exciting and innovative research program aimed at understanding the behavioural and cognitive ecology of risk assessment in aquatic animals including how anthropogenic changes influence the way animals respond to risk. My research focusses on  how animals change their behaviour, morphology and life history to deal with temporal fluctuations in risk and how the certainty of information, often chemical in nature, alters how prey respond to risk. We are at the forefront of understanding learning and memory in the context of predation. With a thorough understanding of the cognitive ecology of predator-prey systems, we attempt to identify how environmental stressors influence cognition, behaviour and ultimately survival in the wild.

My students and I work on fishes and amphibians in a variety of freshwater and marine systems.


Research facilities                               


My research group has 4 research labs located in the Biology Building at the University of Saskatchewan as well as access to the R.J.F. Smith Center for Aquatic Ecology. This facility consists of a wet lab and series of artificial ponds each of which is equipped with above water and underwater video cameras connected to a computer recorded behaviour analysis system (Ethovision). This facility is operational year round.

 

We also have various research equipment (boats, truck, nets, traps, etc.) for conducting field work.



Past studies have examined the effects of metal contamination, turbidity, salinity, dissolved oxygen, UV radiation, ocean acidification, elevated ocean temperature,  and coral bleaching on antipredator responses and reproduction.

For more details, please see the description of current and past graduate student projects.  

To inquire about conducting graduate studies or post-doctoral work in my laboratory, please contact me by e-mail at: doug.chivers@usask.ca.



  
  
       R.J.F. Smith Center for Aquatic Ecology