Heather Veilleux

Post-Doctoral Fellow

My main research program seeks to understand the capacity of animals to plastically adjust physiological characteristics to better suit changed environmental conditions. While my previous work evaluated the mechanisms for developmental and transgenerational thermal plasticity in a warm-adapted tropical reef fish, my work at the UofA will now focus on the effects of increased temperatures in the cold-adapted and economically important rainbow trout. Through an on-going collaboration with the Government of Alberta, we are rearing rainbow trout in three different temperature regimes after having been exposed at different developmental stages and generations. The phenotypic and molecular data generated from this study will be critical for understanding the long-term persistence of this species in a rapidly warming environment. Additionally, I received grant funding from the Alberta Conservation Association to create and validate an Arctic grayling monitoring tool using environmental DNA. This will allow fish and wildlife managers to non-invasively detect the presence of this fish, which is typically difficult to locate and is of special concern under Alberta’s Wildlife Act.