The Rollinson Lab 

Evolutionary ecology, long-term data, 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 ectotherms in a rapidly warming environment.

Research themes
I have a broad interest in evolutionary ecology, working primarily on reptiles, amphibians, and fishes. My group combines 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 research occurs in Algonquin Park, where for decades we have been monitoring several species and populations of reptiles and amphibians. 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. These monitoring programs have resulted in thousands of individually-based data records on growth, survival, and reproduction, and these long-term data are complemented by field and lab experiments that explore e.g., the evolution of thermal performance in cool environments, the evolution of maternal effects, and how environmental change disrupts key features of amphibian life cycles.


Other laboratory-based research includes studying life-history evolution in Daphnia, using clones from environments that differ in the degree of seasonality; these clones were provided by Dieter Ebert.


Finally, my group is well equipped to perform meta-analyses, 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