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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Science
October 22, 2017
Canadian Excellence
Dr. Michael Wilkie

Dr. Michael P. Wilkie

Professor, Biology

Contact Information
Phone: 519.884.1970 ext.3313

Office Location: BA437

Languages Spoken



Research Program

Fish Physiology & Toxicology: Living in Unpredictable & Extreme Environments

The environments in which fishes live can be unpredictable due to temporary or long-term alterations in their physical or chemical environment, as well as threats from disease, parasites, toxicants, and increased competition for resources.  Moreover, some fish may thrive in environments characterized by unusual or extreme conditions such as acute or chronic decreases in water oxygen, altered salinity, changes in water pH, ammonia and temperature, or in some cases, even the temporary absence of water.  My research combines whole animal techniques with biochemical, morphological, electrophysiological, and molecular approaches to determine how different species of fishes respond, cope, adapt and live in such unpredictable and extreme environments.  We therefore work on a variety of fishes in my lab ranging from phylogenetically ancient sea lampreys and lungfish, to more modern teleosts such as goldfish and trout.

Presently, the research goals in my lab are to: (i) determine how ammonia and oxygen deprivation alters brain function and metabolism in fishes, (ii) determine how the fish gill and fish health are affected by exposure to toxicants and metal mixtures, (iii) establish the mode of toxicity of the pesticide, 3-trifluoromethyl-4- nitrophenol (TFM), which is used to control lamprey populations in the Great Lakes, (iv) describe how coarse and fine scale patterns of fish movement in their natural environment are influenced by anthropogenic factors (e.g. angling, habitat alteration) and seasonal variables (e.g. temperature, ice formation).

For further information, please check Ongoing Research Projects.

Selected Publications

*Wilkie, M.P., J.A. Holmes, and J.H. Youson. 2007. The lampricide, 3-trifluoromethyl-4-nitrophenol (TFM) interferes with intermediary metabolism and glucose homeostasis, but not ion balance in larval lampreys (Petromyzon marinus). Canadian Journal of Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences 64:1174-1182.

Wilkie, M.P., T.P. Morgan, F. Galvez, R.W. Smith, M. Kajimura, Y.K. Ip, and C.M. Wood. 2007. The African lungfish (Protopterus dolloi): Ionoregulation and osmoregulation in a fish out of water. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 80:99-112.

Walsh, P.J., C.M. Veauvy, M.D. McDonald, M.E. Pamenter, L.T. Buck, and M.P. WILKIE. 2007. Piscine insights into comparisons of anoxia tolerance, ammonia toxicity, stroke and hepatic encephalopathy. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part A. 147:332-343.

Wilkie, M.P., J.F. Claude*, A. Cockshutt, J.A. Holmes, Y.S. Wang, J.H. Youson and P.J. Walsh. 2006. Shifting patterns of nitrogenous waste excretion and amino acid catabolism capacity during the life cycle of the sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus). Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. 79:885-898.

Shin, D.S., M.P. WILKIE, M. Pamenter, and L.T. Buck. 2005. Calcium and protein phosphatase 1 and 2A attenuate N-methyl-D aspartate receptor activity in the anoxic turtle cortex. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part A. 142:50-57.

Wilkie, M.P., S. Turnbull, J. Bird, Y. S. Wang, J.F. Claude, and J.H. Youson. 2004. Lamprey parasitism of sharks and teleosts: high capacity urea excretion in an extant vertebrate relic. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part A 138:485-492.

Wilkie, M.P. 2002. Ammonia excretion and urea handling by fish gills: present understanding and future research challenges. Invited review article included in a special edition of the Journal of Experimental Zoology entitled “Anatomy and Physiology of the Fish Gill: A Prospective Approach.” David H. Evans and Kenneth R. Olson eds. 293:284-301.

Wilkie, M.P., P.G. Bradshaw, V. Joanis, J.F. Claude, and S.L. Swindell. 2001. Rapid metabolic recovery following vigorous exercise in burrow-dwelling larval sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus). Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 74:261-272.

Wilkie, M.P., P. Laurent, and C.M. Wood. 1999. The physiological basis for altered Na+ and Cl- movements across the gills of rainbow trout in highly alkaline (pH 9.5) water. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 72:360-368.

Wilkie, M.P., J. Couturier, and B.L. Tufts. 1998. Mechanisms of acid-base regulation in migrant sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) following exhaustive exercise. Journal of Experimental Biology 201:1473-1482.

Wilkie, M.P. 1997. Mechanisms of ammonia excretion across fish gills. Invited Review. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 118A:39-50.

Wilkie, M.P., M.A. Brobbel, L. Forsyth, K. Davidson and B.L. Tufts. 1997. The influence of temperature on the post-exercise physiology and survival of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 54:503-511.

Wilkie, M.P., K. Davidson, M.A. Brobbel, J.D Kieffer, R.J. Booth, A. Bielak and B.L. Tufts. 1996. Physiology and survival of wild Atlantic salmon following angling in warm summer waters. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 125:572-580.

Wilkie, M.P. and C.M. Wood. 1995. Recovery from high pH exposure in the rainbow trout: white muscle ammonia storage, ammonia washout and the restoration of blood chemistry. Physiological Zoology 68:379-401.

* Authors in bold represent undergraduate students trained in my laboratory.

Additional Information
Teaches: Human Physiology, Fish Biology
Research: Environmental Physiology and Toxicology of Ancient and Modern Fishes