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Mery Martinez Garcia

Mery Martinez Garcia

Associate Professor

School of Natural Sciences
Science, Engineering and Architecture
S-514, Science Building Sudbury Campus


I am a Biologist, and my specialization is in animal physiology. My students and I investigate how animal, and particularly fish, adapt to environmental changes.  


  • PhD. in Biology (Fish Physiology), Université Laval, Québec, Canada
  • MSc. in Biology (Fish Physiology), Université Laval, Québec, Canada
  • BSc in Biology, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogota, Colombia

Academic Appointments

2004 - 2016          Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Laurentian University, Sudbury

2016 - Present      Associate Professor, Department of Biology, Laurentian University, Sudbury

On The Web


My research interests focus fundamentally on animal physiology, and specifically on the individual variation of physiological traits and adaptive mechanisms by which animals survive in changing environments. My students and I prefer to combine physiological, biochemical, behavioural and ecological data in order to examine how the energetic metabolism in animals is affected when abiotic or biotic factors in their environments change. Currently, my work is mostly with fish, but I am equally interested on vertebrates in general. My past interests include the physiology of locomotion in fish and their response to food availability. And most recently we focus on a widespread phenomenon, hypoxia and its effects in fish fitness. We have studied the reproductive fitness of three different African fish, Barbus neumayeri, Pseudocrenilabrus multicolor victoriae  and Barbus apleurogramma. My students and I are investigating to what extent hypoxia can affect the reproductive fitness (gonad size, sperm morphometry and sperm swimming capacity) across sites displaying divergent dissolved oxygen levels (hypoxia -  normoxia).

Over the last couple of years, my stuents and I have focused our attention to fish that use electric signals and investigate their physiological responses to environmental change. In collaboration with Dr. Luis Fernando DeLeón, University of Boston at Massachussettes, we are studying whether trade-offs exists between life history traits and reproductive fitness on the electric fish Brachyhypopomus occidentalis from Panama. This amazing fish uses electric pulses produced by a specialized type of muscle for intra and inter specific communication; however, little its known about the cost of electric signal communication and reprodution. In collaboration with Dr. Gillian Renshaw, Griffith University in Australia, we are studying the potential effects of global warming on the embryological development of two species of sharks: the Eppaulette Shark (Hemiscyllium ocellatum) and the Grey Carpet Shark (Chiloscyllium punctatum). Although most fish living in reef platforms are capable of avoiding the severe decrease in dissolved oxygen as well as the elevated temperatures during day time low tides, sessile shark embryos enclosed in egg cases are not able to escape these exposures.  Recent studies have shown that early developmental stages are highly vulnerable to predation, elevated CO2, temperature changes as well as low dissolved oxygen However, it not clear yet if the capacity of sharks to adapt to the currently rapid anthropomorphic environmental changes is compromised during early stages of development.  Hence, we aim to further our understanding of the impact that global warming could pose for the survival and development of shark embryos within their egg cases.


  • 2015                             Laurentian University Students Teaching Award
  • 1997 – 2000             Ph.D. Bourse d’excellence. Québec Government. Canada.
  • 1999                            Travel fellowship. International Congress of Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry ($500).
  • 1996 – 1997             Ph.D. Bourse d’exemption des frais de scolarité for Ph.D. Québec Government. Canada.
  • 1995 – 2001             M.Sc and Ph.D. Bourse de soutien from Biology Department, Laval University, Québec, Québec.
  • 1994 – 1996             M.Sc. Bourse d’exemption des frais de scolarité for my master’s. Québec Gouverment. Canada.
  • 1994 – 1996             M.Sc ICETEX-Colombia $7000 USD/ year; for 2 years.


  • BIOL 5786 E Topics in Vertebrate Physiology
  • BIOL 4736 E Developmental Biology 3 cr. (taught every other year)
  • BIOL 4736 F Biologie du Développement 3 cr. (taught every other year)
  • BIOL 3756 E Vertebrate Physiology 3 cr. (taught every other year)
  • BIOL 3756 F Physiologie des Vertébrés 3 cr. (taught every other year)
  • BIOL 2105 F Anatomie et Physiologie Humaine 6 cr (taught every year)
  • BIOL 1507 F Biologie II


  • Martínez, M.L., Mullin, V. and Schulte-Hostedde A. (2015). Variation in sperm morphometry of the African cyprinid Barbus neumayeri . Canadian Journal of Zoology 93: 259-266.
  • Crocker C. D., Chapman, L.J. and Martínez, M.L. (2013). Hypoxia-induced plasticity in the metabolic response of a widespread cichlid. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part B 166: 141-147.
  • Harniman Robert, Thomas J. S. Merritt, Lauren J. Chapman, David Lesbarrères and Mery L. Martinez. (2013). Population differentiation of the African cyprinid Barbus neumayeri across dissolved oxygen regimes. Ecology and Evolution 3(6): 1495–1506.
  • Crocker C. D., Chapman, L.J. and Martínez, M.L. (2013) Natural variation in enzyme activity of the African cichlid Pseudocrenilabrus multicolor victoriae.  Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part B 164, pp. 53-60 DOI information: 10.1016/j.cbpb.2012.10.003
  • Martínez, M.L, Raynard ,E., Rees, B.B. and Chapman, L.J.. (2011). Oxygen limitation and tissue metabolic potential of the African fish Barbus neumayeri: roles of native habitat and acclimatization. BMC Ecology 11(1): 2.
  • Martínez, M.L, Chapman, L.J., and Rees, B.B. (2009).  Population variation in hypoxic responses of the cichlid Pseudocrenilabrus multicolour victoriae. Canadian Journal of Zoology 87:188-194.
  • Carreau, N.D., Mirza, R. S., Martínez M.L. and Pyle G.G. (2008).  The ontogeny of chemically-mediated antipredator responses of fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas). The Journal of Fish Biology 73: 2390-2401
  • Martínez, M., Landry, C., Boehm, R., Manning, S., Cheek A. O., and Rees, B.B. (2006).  Effects of long-term hypoxia on enzymes of carbohydrate metabolism in the Gulf killifish, Fundulus grandis. The Journal of Experimental Biology 209: 3851-3861.
  • Martínez, M., Bédard, M., Dutil, J.-D. and Guderley, H. (2004).  Does condition of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) have a greater impact upon swimming performance at Ucrit or Sprint speeds?. The Journal of Experimental Biology 207: 2979-2990.
  •  Martínez, M., Chapman, L.J., Grady, J. and Rees, B.B. (2004).  Interdemic variation in hematocrit and lactate dehydrogenase in the African cyprinid Barbus neumayeri. The Journal of Fish Biology 65: 1056-1069.
  •  Martínez, M., Guderley, H., Dutil, J.-D., Winger, P.D., He, P. and Walsh, S.J. (2003).  Condition, prolonged swimming performance and muscle metabolic capacities of cod (Gadus morhua). The Journal of Experimental Biology.  206:503-511.
  • Martínez, M., Guderley, H., Nelson, J.A., Webber, D. and Dutil, J.-D. (2002).  Once a fast cod, always a fast cod: maintenance of performance hierarchies through changing food availability in cod (Gadus morhua).  Physiological and Biochemical Zoology.  75: 90-100.
  • Martínez, M., Dutil, J.-D. and Guderley, H. (2000).  Longitudinal and allometric variation in indicators of muscle metabolic capacities in Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua). Journal of Experimental Zoology  Vol. 287: 38-45.
  • Martínez, M., Couture, P. and Guderley, H. (1999).  Temporal changes in tissue metabolic capacities of wild Atlantic cod Gadus morhua (L.) from Newfoundland. Fish Physiology and Biochemistry  20: 181-191.