The Shero Lab
Dr. Michelle Shero is a tenure-track Assistant Scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's Biology Department, studying the physiological ecology of marine mammals.
How is an animal expected to be able to “make a living” in an ever-changing environment? – and why are some animals more successful, that is, survive and reproduce more than others? These are the types of questions we seek to answer in the lab. The Shero Lab focuses on the linkages between energy balance and physiological condition, behavior, and reproductive success of marine mammals. Understanding how these are ultimately linked with complex, multifaceted traits such as performance and life-long animal fitness has important implications for population dynamics and conservation. Thus, our research has proceeded among three lines: 1) understanding how marine mammals’ physiological plasticity allows them to cope with dramatic environmental changes, 2) how condition is linked with dive capacities and foraging behavior, and 3) determining how physiological and behavioral shifts contribute to reproductive success and life-long fitness. The lab has primarily worked with polar marine mammals, as their high-latitude environments have accentuated their adaptations for study of physiological and behavioral principles. Yet, the questions we seek to answer and tools developed in the lab have broad applicability.
The lab takes an integrative approach, using a diverse toolset to assess the processes driving intra- and inter-specific variation in marine mammal life history cycles. Such tools include: genomic sequencing, muscle biochemistry, endocrinology, ultrasonography, morphometrics and isotope dilution, telemetric dive recorders, and unmanned aerial systems (i.e., drones).
Interested in joining the lab? Check out Lab Opportunities.