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CHRISTOPHER ANGELL

Evolutionary ecologist and PhD candidate

Welcome to my home page! I am an evolutionary ecologist with a particular interest in the evolution of animal life histories. I'm currently a PhD student at the University of Ottawa in Howard Rundle's laboratory. I'm studying the evolutionary ecology of aging using the antler fly as a field model.

ABOUT ME

I am an animal ecologist interested in a variety of ecological and evolutionary questions, ranging from behavior and life histories to evolutionary genetics. In my short scientific carreer, I've worked with lots of different animal species, including painted turtles, brine shrimp, sea anemones, and two species of flies.

In my current research, I am investigating the causes and consequences of aging (senescence) in a wild population of antler flies. These charming little flies live only on discarded moose and deer antlers, where the males live out brief lives of "combat and lust," defending territories to attract females. Males will return to the same antler day after day, making them ideal for longitudinal studies.

I am also passionate about science education and outreach. For several years, I worked as an exhibit designer and marketing assistant for the Joseph Moore Museum in Richmond, Indiana. These days, I regularly take part in outreach events like Algonquin Park's Meet the Researcher Day in the summer and Ottawa Bug Day in the fall.

Photo courtesy of Samantha Stephens

 

MY RESEARCH

 
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AGING IN THE WILD

Aging (or senescence) is widespread among multicellular organisms, even though it causes old individuals to lose fitness. Neither the physiology nor the evolution of senescence is fully understood, and it represents an important frontier for biological research.

Most research on senescence has been conducted on either short lived animals (nematodes, fruit flies, mice) in laboratory settings, or long lived vertebrates in the wild. Current theory predicts that senescence has evolved in response to extrinsic mortality factors, such as predation or resource limitation, which are present in nature but severly reduced in the lab. This may have produced biased or misleading results in lab experiments!

Antler flies, with high site fidelity and short adult life span, provide a rich opportunity to study the evolutionary ecology of aging in the wild, without the prohibitive time and resource costs required for vertebrate research.

In 2016, I had the pleasure of speaking about my research with Tom Spears from the Ottawa Citizen as part of their "Science of Spring" series, and you can check out the interview here!

Photo courtesy of Antoine Morin

PUBLISHED WORK

 

SUBMITTED AND IN PREP

López-García J, Angell C, and Martín-Vega D. Wing morphometrics for the identification of Nearctic and
Palaearctic Piophilidae (Diptera) of forensic relevance.

Angell CS, Oudin MJ, Rode NO, Mautz BJ, Bonduriansky R, and Rundle HD. Development time mediates the effect of larval diet on ageing and mating success of male antler flies in the wild.

PUBLISHED AND IN PRESS

Angell CS, Curtis S, Ryckenbusch A, and Rundle HD. 2020. Epicuticular compounds of Protopiophila litigata (Diptera: Piophilidae): identification and sexual selection across two years in the wild. Annals of the Entomological Society of America: (in press). doi / preprint (not peer reviewed) and supplement.

Angell CS and Cook O. 2019. Natural variation in the growth and development of Protopiophila litigata (Diptera: Piophilidae) developing in three moose (Artiodactyla: Cervidae) antlers. The Canadian Entomologist 151: 531-536. pdf / doi

Yun L, Chen PJ, Kwok KE, Angell CS, Rundle HD, and Agrawal AF. 2018. Competition for mates and the improvement of nonsexual fitness. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 115: 6762-6767. pdf / doi

Iverson JB, Klondaris H, Angell CS, and Tori WP. 2016. Olfaction as a cue for nest-site choice in turtles. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 15: 206-213. doi

CONTACT ME

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