I am a PhD student investigating the neurobiological mechanisms through which elevated carbon dioxide affects cephalopod behaviours, focusing on squid. In other words, how do increased levels of carbon dioxide within the ocean lead to changes in behaviour in squid? I am supervised by Prof. Philip Munday and Dr Sue-Ann Watson. My previous research has focused on the neuroendocrine regulatory mechanisms and molecular mechanisms underlying female to male sex change in sequentially hermaphroditic fish. Broadly, I am interested in the intersection of neuroscience and zoology, and the role of the brain in behaviour and phenotypic plasticity.
Project Title and Description:
The neurobiological mechanisms through which elevated carbon dioxide affects cephalopod behaviours
Thomas JT, Munday PL, Watson, S-A (2020). Toward a mechanistic understanding of marine invertebrate behaviour at elevated CO2. Frontiers in Marine Science 7, 345. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2020.00345
Thomas JT, Todd EV, Muncaster S, Lokman PM, Damsteegt EL, Liu H, Soyano K, Gléonnec F, Lamm MS, Godwin JR, Gemmell NJ.2019. Conservation and diversity in expression of candidate genes regulating socially-induced female-male sex change in wrasses. PeerJ7, e7032.https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.7032
Todd EV, Liu H, Lamm MS, Rutherford K, Godwin JR, Thomas JT, Gemmell NJ (2017). Female mimicry by sneaker males has a transcriptomic signature in both the brain and gonad in a sex changing fish. Molecular Biology and Evolution 35,225 – 241. https://doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msx293
Thomas JT, Spady B, Munday P, Watson SA, (2019). The neurobiological mechanisms underlying cephalopod behavioural change at elevated CO2 levels. Coral Reef Virtual Symposium 2020. Online. Link to talk
Thomas JT, Watson SA, Munday P (2019). Cephalopod behaviour at near-future carbon dioxide levels. Poster. International Behavioural Neuroscience Society 28th Annual Meeting, Cairns, Queensland, Australia. Link to poster
Thomas JT, Todd EV, Liu H, Lamm MS, Rutherford K, Godwin JR, Lokman PR and Gemmell NJ (2017). Investigating early genetic regulators of sex change in labrid fish. Otago Medical School Research Society Summer Student Speaker Awards, Dunedin, New Zealand.
Thomas JT, Todd EV, Liu H, Lamm MS, Godwin JR, Muncaster S, Lokman PM and Gemmell NJ (2017). Early genetic regulators of sex change in fish. Poster. Annual Conference of the Genetics Society of Australasia with the NZ Society For Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Dunedin, New Zealand. Link to poster
Thomas JT, Todd EV, Liu H, Lamm MS, Rutherford K, Godwin JR, Lokman PR and Gemmell NJ (2016). Investigating potential early regulators of teleost sex change: A candidate gene approach in the bluehead wrasse (Thalassoma bifasciatum). 5th Australian Sex Summit, Lancefielld, Victoria, Australia.
Thomas JT (2016). Investigating the molecular mechanisms underlying teleost sex change. Anatomy Research Day, Dunedin, New Zealand.
Thomas JT, Todd EV, Liu H, Lamm MS, Rutherford K, Godwin JR, Lokman PM and Gemmell NJ (2016). Investigating potential early regulators of teleost sex change: A candidate gene approach in the bluehead wrasse (Thalassomabifasciatum). Zoology Postgraduate Symposium, Dunedin, New Zealand.
Awards and Grants:
David Yellowlees Excellence in Research Award (2020)
The Company of Biologists Travelling Fellowship (Journal of Experimental Biology) (2020)
Prestige Research Training Program Stipend, James Cook University (2018)
Runner up at the Otago Medical School Research Society, Summer Student Speaker Awards (2017)
First Prize for oral presentation, Zoology Postgraduate Symposium, University of Otago (2016)
Department of Anatomy, University of Otago Travel Fund (2016)
University of Otago Neuroscience Prize (2016)
Summer Research Scholarship, Health Science, University of Otago (2016)
Premiere Undergraduate Prize (Science), University of Otago (2015)
GH Satchell Prize, General Excellence in Zoology, University of Otago (2015)
University of Otago Women’s Scholarship (2014)
Summer Reserarch Scholarship, Marine Institue of the University of Auckland (2014)
University of Otago Scholarship in Science (2013)
The University of Otago Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship (2012)