Nikole (Koley) Freeman

NSERC CGS PhD Candidate (Sept 2015 – Present)

The early life environment can have profound effects on an individual’s growth and development. Recent studies suggest that stress exposure early in development has lifelong consequences in the regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, immune function, and fitness. For my PhD research, I am examining linkages between the early life environment and  associated physiology in a food caching bird. Gray jays breed in late winter and rely on cached food, as there is limited fresh food available. Using gray jays as a model, I am combining field and laboratory techniques to determine if the early life history of an individual influences their recruitment into the population, their stress physiology, and subsequent life history.


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