Nikole (Koley) Freeman

NSERC CGS PhD Candidate (Sept 2015 – Present)

The early-life environment is intimately linked with an individual’s growth, development and ultimately, fitness. For my PhD, I am examining linkages between the early-life environment, physiology and fitness of nestlings in a wild population of Canada jays (Perisoreus canadensis). Canada jays breed in late winter when the weather is harsh and there is little to no fresh food available. Thus, Canada jays rely on cached food to survive the winter and fuel their reproduction. Using Canada jays as a model system, I am combining field and laboratory techniques to determine eco-physiological factors, such as food quantity and quality, impacting the recruitment of young into the population, their physiology and subsequent life history. When not in the field, you can find me at the local crag climbing some rocks, teaching my dog tricks and exploring national parks around the world.

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