Derek Somo

Postdoctoral Fellow

Comparative environmental and evolutionary physiology

  • Research area
    Comparative Physiology
  • Supervisor
  • History

    PhD University of British Columbia

    MSc Sonoma State University

    NOAA Hollings Scholar: Northwest Fisheries Science Center

    BSc Arizona State University

I am interested in the physiological mechanisms enabling organism performance and survival in challenging environments. As humans, our bodies must tightly maintain a relatively narrow range of  internal conditions to function well, and even small, brief deviations from these conditions can have harmful consequences. In contrast, myriad organisms can experience comparatively huge internal variation and subsequently thrive in environments which vary in ways that would kill a human in minutes. These organisms offer insights into solutions available to biological systems to overcome a broad range of challenges to physiological performance and survival. The lessons we learn from comparative investigations can inform efforts to solve problems as diverse as human pathologies or species persistence in the face of climate change.

In my doctoral thesis I am investigating morphological, physiological, and biochemical adaptations in intertidal fishes that underlie survival in the oxygen- and temperature-variable intertidal environment. I combine whole-organism respirometry with physiological and biochemical assays in an evolutionary context to learn how physiological systems adapt to harsh, multifaceted environmental stresses.

Zoology Four Year Fellowship

For Research
Ventilatory responses of the clown knifefish, Chitala ornata, to hypercarbia and hypercapnia
Journal of Comparative Physiology B 188:581-589
Tuong, Dang Diem, Borowiec, Brittney, Clifford, Alexander M., Filogonio, Renato, Somo, Derek, Huong, Do Thi Thanh, Phuong, Nguyen Thanh, Wang, Tobias, Bayley, Mark, Milsom, William K.
Development of dive capacity in Northern Elephant Seals (<i>Mirounga angustirostris</i>): Reduced body reserves at weaning are associated with elevated body oxygen stores during the postweaning fast
Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 471-482
Somo, Derek A., Ensminger, David C., Sharick, Jeffrey T., Kanatous, Shane B., Crocker, Daniel E.
Metabolic responses to adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) vary with life-history stage in adult male northern elephant seals
General and Comparative Endocrinology 150-157
Ensminger, David C., Somo, Derek A., Houser, Dorian S., Crocker, Daniel E.