Avian Thermal Ecology Lab

Cape Breton University, Sydney, Nova Scotia
What the facility does

Research on the impact of temperature and solar radiation on nestling birds.

Area(s) of Expertise

My research focuses on thermal physiology and behaviour in avian systems. The aim of my research is to understand how nestlings mitigate thermal extremes. I use a behavioural and physiological approach in pursuing the objectives of this research, using blackbirds as model systems for passerine birds. The specific short-term goals of my research are threefold: i) to study nest architecture as an adaptation to moderating the thermal environment; ii) to evaluate the adaptive behavioural response of nestlings to the nest microclimate; and iii) to measure the energetic costs of nestling activity, including begging and behavioural thermoregulation. The long-term objective of my research is to gain insight into the effects of natural environmental variability on offspring behaviour and fitness and the demographic response of passerines to projected changes in temperature at the landscape and global scale.

Research Services
  • Respirometry
Sectors of Application
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Education

Name of specialized lab

Name of equipment

Description of function

Avian Thermal Ecology Lab

Qubit Systems Respirometry System

Measures energetic costs of nestling behaviour.


Sciencetech Solar Simulator

Simulates the insolation conditions (sun and shade) of the nest environment.


Peltier-controlled environmental chambers

Generates specific temperatures in the environmental chambers and maintains temperatures. Used in conjunction with the solar illuminator to generate current and predicted nest conditions.