Alexander R. Gerson

Photograph of First Last

Assistant Professor

Contact Info

Phone: 413-545-2782
Office: 318A Morrill III South


B.S., State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, 2004
M.Sc., University of Western Ontario, 2007
Ph.D., University of Western Ontario, 2012


University of New Mexico, 2013 - 2014

Research Interests

Integrative Eco-physiology - Environmental Physiology of Birds

My interests lie in the field of integrative eco-physiology and my research has focused primarily on the environmental physiology of birds. I seek to understand how birds are able to overcome extreme environmental challenges, such as those encountered during long distance migration or while living in the hottest deserts on Earth. Through investigation at multiple levels of organization, from the cellular level to the community level, my research program aims to better understand the mechanic basis, flexibility and limitations of the physiological response of animals to extreme environmental conditions.

Representative Publications

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.