Alexander R. Gerson, Ph.D.

Integrative Environmental Physiology

Avian Migration Physiology, Avian Heat Tolerance, Animal Energetics




Cheng, T.L., Gerson, A.R., Moore, M.S., Reichard, J.D., DeSimone, J., Willis, C.K.R., Frick, W.F., Kilpatrick, A.M.. Higher fat stores contribute to persistence of little brown bat populations with white-nose syndrome. Journal of Applied Ecology. In Press


Smith, E.K., Gerson, A.R.; Talbot, W.A., McWhorter, T, McKechnie, A.E., Wolf, B.O. Metabolic efficiency of evaporative heat loss predicts limits of activity in desert birds. Submitted. Animal Ecology. In review


Gerson, A.R., Cristol, D.A., Seewagen, C.L. Environmentally relevant methylmercury exposure reduces the metabolic scope of a model songbird, the zebra finch. Environmental Pollution. In Press


Gerson, A.R. , Smith, E.K., Talbot, W.A., McWhorter, T.J., Smit, B., McKecknie, A.E., Wolf, B.O. (2018).  The functional significance of facultative hyperthermia varies with body size and phylogeny in bird. Functional Ecology. In Press


McGuire, L. P., Kelly, L. A., Baloun, D. E., Boyle, W. A., Cheng, T. L., Clerc, J., Fuller, N. W.,

Gerson, A. R., Jonasson, K. A., Rogers, E. J., et al. (2018). Common condition indices are no moreeffective than body mass for estimating fat stores in insectivorous bats. Journal of Mammalogy 99,1065–1071.


O’Connor, R.S., Smit, B, Talbot, W.A., Gerson, A.R., Brigham, R.M., Wolf, B.O., McKechnie, A.E. Avian Thermoregulation in the heat: Is evaporative cooling more economical in nocturnal birds? Journal of Experimental Biology 181420.


Smit, B, Whitfield, M.C., Talbot, W.A., Gerson, A.R., McKechnie, A.E., Wolf, B.O. Avian thermoregulation in the heat: phylogenetic variation among avian orders in evaporative cooling capacity and heat tolerance. Journal of Experimental Biology. 221 (174870)


McWhorter, T.J., Gerson, A.R. , Talbot, W.A., Smith, E.K., McKecknie, A.E., Wolf, B.O. (2017). Avian thermoregulation in the heat: evaporative cooing capacity and thermal tolerance in two Australian parrots. Journal of Experimental Biology.  221 (168930)


Talbot, W.A., Gerson, A.R. , Smith, E.K., McWhorter, T.J.,  McKecknie, A.E., Wolf B.O. (2017).  Avian thermoregulation in the heat: metabolism, evaporative cooling and gular flutter in two small owls. Journal of Experimental Biology.  221 (171108).


Dean, K.M., Cacela, D., Carney, M.W., Cunningham, F.L., Ellis, C., Gerson, A.R., Guglielmo, C.G., Hanson-Dorr, K.C., Harr, K.E., Healy, K.A., Horak, K.E., Isanhart, J.P., Kennedy, L.V., Link, J.E., Lipton, I., McFadden, A.K., Moye, J.K., Perez, C.R., Pristos, C.A., Pristos, K.L., Muthumalage, T., Shriner, S.A., Bursian, S.J.  (2017). Testing of an oral dosing technique for double-crested cormorants, Phalacocorax auritus , laughing gulls, Leucophaeus atricilla , homing pigeons, Columba livia , and western sandpipers, Calidris mauri , with artificially weather MC252 oil.  Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety. 146 (11-18)


Smith, E.K., O’Neill, J.J., Gerson, A.R. , McKecknie, A.E., Wolf, B.O. (2017).  Avian thermoregulation in the heat: Resting metabolism, evaporative cooling, and heat tolerance in Sonoran Desert songbirds. Journal of Experimental Biology. 220 (161141)


Talbot, W.A., McWhorter, T.J., Gerson, A.R. , McKecknie, A.E., Wolf B.O. (2017).  Avian thermoregulation in the heat: evaporative cooling capacity of arid-zone caprimulgiforms from two continents.  Journal of Experimental Biology.  220 (161653)


Wolf, B.O., Coe, B.H., Gerson, A.R. , McKecknie, A.E. (2017).  Comment on an analysis of endotherm thermal tolerances: systematic errors in data compilation undermine its credibility.  Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 284 (1855)


McKecknie, A.E., Gerson, A.R. , McWhorter, T.J., Smith, E.K., Talbot, W.A., Wolf, B.O. (2017).  Avian thermoregulation in the heat: evaporative cooling in five Australian passerines reveals within-order biogeographic variation in heat tolerance. Journal of Experimental Biology. 220 (2436-2444)


Vezina, F., Gerson, A.R., Guglielmo, C.G., Piersma, T. (2017).  The performing animal: causes and consequences of body remodeling and metabolic adjustments in red knots facing contrasting thermal environments.  American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, integrative, and Comparative Physiology. Vol 313(2), R120-R131.


Maggini, I., Kennedy, L., Bursian, S.J., Dean, K.M., Gerson, A.R. , Harr, K., Link, J., Pristos, C.A., Pristos, K.L., Guglielmo, C.G. (2017). Toxicological and thermoregulatory effects of feather contamination with artificially weathered MC252 oil in western sandpipers (Calidris mauri).  Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety. In press


Guglielmo, C.G., Gerson, A.R. , Price, E.R., Hays, Q.R. (2017). The effects of dietary macronutirents on flight ability, energetics, and fuel metabolism of yellow-rumped warblers (Setophaga coronata).  Journal of Avian Biology. 48 (1).  pp. 133-148


Albright, T.P., Mutiibwa, D., Gerson, A.R. , Smith, E.K., Talbot, W.A., McKechnie, A.E., Wolf, B.O. (2017).  Mapping evaporative water loss in desert passerines reveals an expanding threat of lethal dehydration. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 114 (9). pp 2283-2288.


McCue, M.D., Sandoval, J., Beltran, J., Gerson, A.R.   (2017). Dehydration causes increased reliance on protein oxidation in mice: a test of the protein-for-water hypothesis in a mammal.  Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. 90 (3) pp. 359-369


McKechnie, A.E., Coe, B.H., Gerson, A.R. , Wolf, B.O. (2016).  Data quality problems undermine analysis of endotherm upper critical temperatures.  Journal of Biogeography. DOI: 10.1111/jbi.12941


McKecknie, A.E., Whitfield, M.C, Smit, B., Gerson, A.R. , Smith, E.K., Talbot, W.A., McWhorter, T.J., Wolf, B.O.  (2016).  Avian Thermoregulation in the heat: efficient evaporative cooling allows for extreme heat tolerance in four southern hemisphere columbids.  Journal of Experimental Biology. 219, pp 2145-2155


Seewagen, C.L., Cristol, D.A., Gerson, A.R. (2016).  Mobilization of mercury from lean tissues during simulated migratory fasting in a model songbird. Nature Scientific Reports. 6, 25762.


McKecknie, A.E., Smit, B., Whitfield, M.C., Noakes, M.J., Talbot, W.A., Garcia, M., Gerson, A.R., Wolf, B.O.  (2016).  Avian thermoregulation in the heat: evaporative cooling capacity in an archetypal desert specialist, Burchell’s sandgrouse (Pterocles burchelli). Journal of Experimental Biology. In press.


Smith, E.K., O’Neill, J., Gerson, A.R., Wolf, B.O. (2015). Avian thermoregulation in the heat: resting metabolism, evaporative cooling, and heat tolerance in Sonoran Desert doves and quail.  Journal of Experimental Biology. 218, pp3636-3646.


Gerson, A.R., Smith, E.K., Smit, B., McKechnie, A.E., Wolf, B.O. (2014). The impact of humidity on evaporative cooling in small desert birds exposed to high air temperatures.  Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. 87, pp782-795. PDF


Hall, Z.J, Bauchinger, U., Gerson, A.R., Price, E.R., Langlois, L.A., Boyles, M., Pierce, B., McWilliams, S.R., Sherry, D.F., MacDougall-Shackleton, S.A. (2014). Site-specific regulation of adult neurogenesis by dietary fatty acid content, vitamin E and flight exercise in European starlings. European Journal of Neuroscience. 39, pp875-882. PDF


Gerson, A.R. and Guglielmo, C.G. (2013). Measurement of glomerular filtration rate during flight in a migratory bird using a single bolus injection of FITC-inulin.  American Journal of Physiology – Renal Physiology. 305, pp F823-F829.


Gerson, A.R. and Guglielmo, C.G. (2013). Energetics and metabolite profiles during early flight in American robins (Turdus migratorius). Journal of Comparative Physiology – B. 183, pp. 983-991. PDF


Nebel, S., Bauchinger, U., Buehler, D.M., Langlois, L.A., Boyles, M., Gerson, A.R., Price, E.R., McWilliams, S.R., Guglielmo, C.G. (2012). Constitutive immune function in European starlings Sturnus vulgaris decreased immediately after an endurance flight in a wind tunnel. Journal of Experimental Biology. 215, pp. 272-278.  PDF


Gerson, A.R., Guglielmo, C.G. (2011). Flight at low ambient humidity increases protein catabolism in migratory birds. Science. 333, pp. 1434-1436. (Link)


Guglielmo, C.G., McGuire, L.P., Gerson, A.R., Seewagen, C.L. (2011). Rapid, Non-invasive measurement of fat, lean, and total body water masses of live birds using quantitative magnetic resonance. Journal of Ornithology. 152, pp. S75-S85. PDF


Price, E.R., Bauchinger, U., Zajac, D.M., Cerasale, D.J., McFarlan, J.T., Gerson, A.R., McWilliams, S.R., Guglielmo, C.G. (2011). Migration and exercise-induced changes to flight muscle size in migratory birds and association with IGF-1 and myostatin mRNA expression. Journal of Experimental Biology. 214, pp. 2823-2831. PDF


Gerson, A.R., Guglielmo, C.G. (2011). House sparrows (Passer domesticus) increase protein catabolism in response to water restriction. American Journal of Physiology:  Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. 300, pp. R925-R930. PDF


Gerson, A.R., Brown, J.C.L., Thomas, R., Bernards, M.A., Staples, J.F. (2008). Effects of dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids on mitochondrial metabolism in mammalian hibernation.  Journal of Experimental Biology. 211, pp. 2689-2699.  PDF


Staples, J. F., Gerson, A. R. and Brown, J. (2008). Mitochondrial respiration and proton leak in hibernation and daily torpor. In Hypometabolism in animals: torpor, hibernation and cryobiology.  eds. B. G. Lovegrove and A. E. McKechnie. Pietermaritzburg: University of KwaZulu-Natal. PDF


Brown, J. C. L., Gerson, A. R. and Staples, J. F. (2007). Mitochondrial metabolism during daily torpor in the dwarf Siberian hamster: the role of active regulated changes and passive thermal effects. American Journal of Physiology:  Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. 293: pp. R1833-R1845. PDF


Gerson, D. F., M. L. Bontius, M. A., Wojtyk, J. F., Lee, J. J., Johnson, D. C,. Lee, R. Kahn, and A. R. Gerson (2001).  Measuring Bioreactor Mixing with Mixmeter.  Genetic Engineering News, 21: pp. 68-69.


Alexander R. Gerson


Department of Biology

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Amherst, MA 01003