Thomas Carefoot

Researcher Profile

Thomas H. Carefoot

Job Title: Professor of Marine Biology
Employer: University of British Columbia
Place of Birth: farmhouse, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Further Education: University of British Columbia (B.Sc. - Zoology, M.Sc. - Marine
Zoology), University of Wales (Ph.D. - Marine Biology).
Geographic focus of research: British Columbia, USA, Germany, Jamaica, Great Britain.

Brief synopsis of current research:
We study the evolution to terrestriality in isopod crustaceans. These familiar animals, known as woodlice or sow bugs, made the transition to land uniquely over sea beaches, and had to solve problems of salt and water balance, exoskeleton permeability, protection of brood, gas exchange, and release of ammonia wastes arising in the transition from aquatic to terrestrial life. Of special interest to us is a prototypal form, genus Ligia, which has many of the attributes of its terrestrial descendants, but for a variety of morphological and physiological reasons is constrained to live in a narrow vertical band from the high-tide level to only a few meters above. We study the inter-relationship of osmoregulation and excretion in Ligia from the standpoints of dietary salt-loading (seaweeds), water loss through desiccation, water-vapour absorption, and the need of Ligia and woodlice relatives to excrete the bulk of their nitrogenous wastes as ammonia gas.