The Rollinson Lab 

Evolutionary ecology, maternal effects, environmental change

Welcome to the Algonquin Dome, an extraordinarily cool upland region between Georgian Bay and Ottawa. Here, organisms have adapted to low temperatures and short growing seasons over millennia, providing a unique opportunity to study the evolutionary ecology of cold-adapted ectotherms.

Research themes
I have a broad interest in evolutionary ecology, working primarily on reptiles, amphibians, and fishes. My group uses field experiments, long-term monitoring, and metadata to understand a variety of topics, including the evolution of life histories, maternal effects on body size, temperature-dependent sex determination, phenotypic responses to climate change, and a variety of other topics.

Research locales

Most our field-based research occurs in Algonquin Park, where we study the evolutionary ecology of reptiles and amphibians near their northern range limit. We are currently collaborating with Dr. Jackie Litzgus to maintain the Algonquin Park long-term turtle study, which was founded by Dr. Ron Brooks in 1972. Students are also working on the long-term study of spotted salamanders in Algonquin, a project that is supported and organized by Patrick Moldowan. We also model thermal performance of turtle embryos in the lab, and with environmental chambers we mimick overwintering conditions experienced in Algonquin Park. Laboratory-based research also includes studying life-history evolution in Daphnia, using clones from environments across Europe that differ in seasonality; these clones were provided by Dieter Ebert. Finally, we're well equipped to perform meta-analyses and analyses of long-term individual based data, as we have access to/have compiled several life-history databases on ectotherms and endotherms.





Lake Sasajewun Research Site, Algonquin (photo source)

Dr. Njal Rollinson

Assistant Professor

Office ES3051

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

& The School of the Environment

University of Toronto


email: njal.rollinson{circle}utoronto.ca

phone: 416-529-7726

Blue Spotted Salamander (Bat Lake)
Credit: Patrick Moldowan