Research Theme within School of Biosciences: Organisms and Environment
Environmental Stress Adaptation - a systems biology approach
Since its inception, life on earth has had to adapt to unfavourable environmental conditions - this represents a driving force of evolution. Our lab seeks to characterise how organisms detect, repair and stabilize the cellular and molecular damage induced by environmental stress; the magnitude and limitations of these responses, and their impact upon fitness.
Work in the group addresses rapid, seasonal and long term (evolutionary) adaptations to environmental change using temperate, polar and tropical terrestrial invertebrate species. The group has three main areas of research.
1. Environmentally adaptive dormancies - insect diapause:
Insect diapause is an environmentally adaptive dormancy, similar to hibernation, and represents the main strategy evolved by temperate insects to: a) coordinate their growth, development and reproduction (phenology) with annual cycles of changing environmental conditions; and b) survive seasonally recurring chronic forms of environmental stress.
Using the overwintering diapause of species such as the blue bottle fly Calliphora vicina, the bumble bee Bombus terrestris, and the red mason bee Osmia rufa, our group seeks to identify key mechanisms underpinning diapause and its enhanced stress tolerance phenotype. We also investigate the potential impact of climate change on diapause, and how this might disrupt the synchrony between insect species and their environment.
2. Molecular mechanisms underpinning stress adaptation:
Using the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans, we employ a range of post-genomic, reverse genetic and metabolomic approaches to identify the molecular mechanisms that underpin the phenotypic transition from the stress-sensitive to stress-tolerant state. A particular focus of this work has been to characterise the role of homeoviscous adaptation (changes in membrane phospholipid composition) in stress adaptation.
3. Life in extreme environments
Through an ongoing collaboration with the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), our group investigates how terrestrial invertebrates cope with the extreme conditions encountered in polar environments. We also investigate the impact of rapid climate change at high latitudes. In addition, our group examines insects in tropical environments, where many species are close to their upper thermal tolerance thresholds and could become extinct as a result of climate warming.
Bale, J. S. & Hayward, S. A. L. (2010) Insect overwintering in a changing climate. Journal of Experimental Biology 213: 980-994.
Elnitsky, M. A., Hayward, S. A. L., Rinehart, J. P., Denlinger, D. L. & Lee, R. E. Jr. (2008) Cryoprotective dehydration and the resistance to inoculative freezing in the Antarctic midge, Belgica antarctica. Journal of Experimental Biology 211: 524-530.
Lee R. E. Jr., Elnitsky, M. A., Rinehart, J. P., Hayward, S. A. L., Sandro, L. H. & Denlinger, D. L. (2006) Rapid cold-hardening increases freezing tolerance of the Antarctic midge Belgica antarctica. Journal of Experimental Biology 209: 399-406.
Hayward, S. A. L., Murray, P. A., Gracey, A. Y. & Cossins, A. R. (2007) Beyond the lipid hypothesis: mechanisms underlying phenotypic plasticity in inducible cold tolerance. In: Csermely P and Vigh L ed(s). Molecular Aspects of the Stress response. Austin, TX, Landes Bioscience.
Murray, P. A.*, Hayward, S. A. L.*, Govan, G. G., Gracey, A. Y. & Cossins, A. R. (2007) Acquired cold tolerance in Caenorhabditis elegans: and explicit test of the phospholipid saturation hypothesis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 104: 5489-5494. (* Joint first author).
Rinehart, J. P., Li, A. Q., Yocum, G. D., Robich, R. M. Hayward, S. A. L. & Denlinger, D. L. (2007) Upregulation of heat shock proteins is essential for cold survival during insect diapause. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 104: 11130-11137.
Hayward, S. A. L., Rinehart, J. P., Sandro, L. H., Lee, R. E. Jr. & Denlinger, D. L. (2007) Slow dehydration promotes desiccation and freeze tolerance in the Antarctic midge, Belgica antarctica. Journal of Experimental Biology 210: 836-844.
Rinehart, J. P., Hayward, S. A. L., Elnitsky, M. A., Sandro, L. H., Lee, R. E. & Denlinger, D. L. (2006) Continuous Up-regulation of heat shock proteins in larvae, but not adults, of a polar insect. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 103: 14223-14227.
Hayward S. A. L., Pavlides, S. C., Tammariello, S. P., Rinehart, J. P. & Denlinger, D. L. (2005) Temporal expression patterns of diapause-associated genes in flesh fly pupae from the onset of diapause through post-diapause quiescence. Journal of Insect Physiology 51: 631-640.
Hayward, S. A. L., Rinehart, J. P. & Denlinger, D. L. (2004) Desiccation and rehydration elicit distinct heat shock protein transcript responses in flesh fly pupae. Journal of Experimental Biology 207: 963-971.
Hayward, S. A. L., Worland, M.R., Convey, P. & Bale, J. S. (2004) Habitat moisture availability and the local distribution of the Antarctic Collembola Cryptopygus antarcticus and Friesia grisea. Soil Biology and Biochemistry36: 927-934.
Hayward, S. A. L., Worland, M.R., Convey, P. & Bale, J. S. (2003) Temperature preferences of the mite Alaskozetes antarcticus, and the collembolan, Cryptopygus antarcticus from the maritime Antarctic. Physiological Entomology 28: 114-121.
Hayward, S. A. L., Bale, J. S., Worland, M.R. & Convey, P. (2001) Influence of temperature on the hygropreference of the Collembolan, Cryptopygus antarcticus, and the mite, Alaskozetes antarcticus from the maritime Antarctic. Journal of Insect Physiology 47: 11-18.
Hayward, S. A. L., Worland, M.R., Bale, J. S. & Convey, P. (2000) Temperature and the hygropreference of the Arctic Collembolan Onychiurus arcticus and mite Lauroppia translamellata. Physiological Entomology 25: 266-272.
Saunders D. S. & Hayward S. A. L. (1998). Geographical and diapause-related cold tolerance in the blowfly, Calliphora vicina. Journal of Insect Physiology44: 541-551.