The Rollinson Lab 

Evolutionary ecology, long-term data, environmental change

Latest Catch

It took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears and erect the permanent drift fence around Bat Lake, but in spring 2018 it paid off: the salamander team caught 15,000 amphibians over 30-days. This represents (near) complete sampling of the breeding amphibian population in Bat Lake. Well done Patrick and crew!
After a mysterious 25-yr absence, Snapping turtle R10 was recaptured in June 2018, in Kathlyn Lake. Bayesian age estimates suggest this male is about 80yrs old (55yrs - 125yrs). Nice catch Natalia Hrynko, Daire Crawford, and Patrick Moldowan!


Research themes
We work primarily on reptiles, amphibians, and fishes, combining field experiments, long-term monitoring, and metadata to understand 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
The Algonquin Dome is an extraordinarily cool upland region between Georgian Bay and Ottawa, Canada. Ectotherms have adapted to the low temperatures and short growing seasons of this ecosystem over millennia. A major focus of our group is the evolutionary ecology of these ectotherms, and how they respond as their environment experiences rapid warming.

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.


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

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





Amphibian sampling at Bat Lake
Credit: Natalia Hyrnko



Snapping turtle nesting at study site

Credit: Patrick Moldowan