Funded by the NSF ‘Dimensions of Biodiversity’ Program

EVOTRAC: Evolutionary and Ecological Variability in Organismal Trait Response with Altitude and Climate

The EVOTRAC (Evolutionary and Ecological Variability in Organismal Trait Response with Altitude and Climate) project will predict vulnerability of stream organisms to rapid climate change across latitudinal and elevational gradients by first understanding how temperature and disturbance shape stream biodiversity and function.

EVOTRAC is a grant funded by the Dimensions of Biodiversity program of the National Science Foundation (NSF), entitled "An Integrative Traits-Based Approach to Predicting Variation in Vulnerability of Tropical and Temperate Stream Biodiversity to Climate Change" (Award Number DEB-1046408).

This project was awarded to an integrative team of researchers at Colorado State University, Cornell University, and University of Nebraska in collaboration with scientists at Universidad San Francisco de Quito and Universidad Indoamérica. In addition, we count on the expertise of affiliated faculty from University of Copenhagen, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Conservation International, World Wildlife Fund, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, and Universidade Federal de Lavras, Brazil.

Last updated April 30, 2013

EVOTRAC Spotlight On:

Alisha Shah: My research incorporates evolutionary and ecological perspectives to understand how range sizes evolve and are maintained in natural populations. Because the theme of my dissertation rests at the nexus of evolution, ecology and physiology, I am fortunate to be involved in the physiological studies of EVOTRAC. This work includes testing live insects in an apparatus called a microrespirometer that is capable of detecting very small changes in oxygen concentration. With this incredible technology, I can experimentally measure an insect’s respiration rate as a response to a set of temperatures. I also measure respiratory responses to lowered oxygen concentrations, a condition known as hypoxia, and behavioral responses to a rapid increase in temperature. Comparing these responses across elevation and latitude (in Colorado and Ecuador) elucidates what governs the population structure and distribution patterns of species. My interest in this work is motivated by a passion for conservation of freshwater stream habitats. Therefore, I hope that some of the insights gained from my work can inform efforts for stream restoration and preservation.   

Photo Credit:  Javier Fajardo



  1. -EVOTRAC welcomes two new Post-doctoral Associates at Cornell University Carla Atkinson will be working on trait-based analyses of stream insect assemblages and their implications for ecosystem function.  Nick Polato will be working on stream insect landscape genomics and comparative dispersal at our tropical and temperate sites [link]

  2. -

  3. -Congratulations to Brian Gill!  Brian received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship for his doctoral research at CSU.

  4. -

  5. -EVOTRAC has a partner grant! Juan Guayasamin and Andrea Encalada were awarded a PEER (Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research) Science grant. This grant will leverage EVOTRAC data to address long-term sustainability of water resources and biodiversity in the Napo drainage of Ecuador [link]

  6. -

  7. -EVOTRAC etymology! Anacroneuria kayceae... a new stonefly species from Ecuador named after our Project Manager Kayce Anderson!  PDF can be downloaded from our Products Page [link]

  8. -

  9. -New EVOTRAC papers! New papers, outreach or news items are updated here, and on our Products Page [link]

EVOTRAC funded by:

click here for previous student spotlights