Kenneth Jeffries
Photo of Kenneth Jeffries

Assistant Professor

Office W477 Duff Roblin
(204) 474-6429

Environmental and anthropogenic stressors can disrupt homeostasis and negatively affect aquatic organisms, potentially leading to impacts on growth, reproduction and survival over time. The focus of the research in the Jeffries Lab is to investigate how various environmental and contaminant stressors can affect an individual's fitness through examination of responses at cellular, tissue and whole organism levels of biological organization, and how these responses can potentially scale up to population level consequences. We use genomics techniques to characterize the cellular responses of fishes to abiotic, biotic, and anthropogenic stressors relevant to aquatic ecosystems. The cellular level responses are integrated with tissue or whole organism level performance indices to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the effects of exposure to environmental stressors and to address whether populations and species can persist in changing or disturbed aquatic environments. This work has focused on non-model fishes that are economically important, invasive or of conservation concern and combines approaches used in the fields of physiology, ecological genomics, fish ecology and ecotoxicology. We also examine how exposure to environmental stressors affects the expression of immune response genes and increases the susceptibility of stressed individuals to pathogen infections, a potentially significant and undetected cause of fish mortality in disturbed ecosystems. Because of the widespread influence of climate change, environmental disturbances and the impacts of human activity on ecosystems, much of this research is applicable for studying aquatic systems throughout North America.

Current Projects

Combining transcriptomics and metabolic indices to understand Walleye movement patterns in Manitoba.

Effects of early rearing conditions on the development of Lake Sturgeon.

Cellular and physiological effects of lampricide exposure on Sea Lamprey and Bluegill.

Understanding the effects of temperature on Lake Sturgeon, Sea Lamprey and Brook Trout.

Characterizing the age and size structure of Black Crappie populations in eastern Manitoba.

Effects of climate change and anthropogenic stressors on clams in the Canadian arctic.

Selected Publications

Jeffries, KM, Connon, RE, Davis, BE, Komoroske, LM, Britton, MT, Sommer, T, Todgham, AE and Fangue, NA (2016). Effects of high temperatures on threatened estuarine fishes during periods of extreme drought. Journal of Experimental Biology 219 (11), 1705–1716.

Komoroske, LM, Connon, RE, Jeffries, KM and Fangue, NA (2015). Linking transcriptional responses to organismal tolerance reveals mechanisms of thermal sensitivity in a mesothermal endangered fish. Molecular Ecology 24 (19), 4960–4981.

Jeffries, KM, Hinch, SG, Gale, MK, Clark, TD, Lotto, AG, Casselman, MT, Li, S, Rechisky, EL, Porter, AD, Welch, DW and Miller, KM (2014). Immune response genes and pathogen presence predict migration survival in wild salmon smolts. Molecular Ecology 23 (23), 5803–5815.

Jeffries, KM, Hinch, SG, Sierocinski, T, Pavlidis, P and Miller, KM (2014). Transcriptomic responses to high water temperature in two species of Pacific salmon. Evolutionary Applications 7 (2), 286–300.

Research Interests

Biodiversity, Ecology and Environment, Physiology, Molecular Ecology, Transcriptomics, Conservation Physiology, Threatened Fishes, Ecotoxicology

Recent Publications

  • Connon, RE; Jeffries, KM; Komoroske, LM; Todgham, AE and Fangue, NA (2018). The utility of transcriptomics in fish conservation. Journal of Experimental Biology 221, jeb148833.
  • Jeffries, KM; Fangue, NA and Connon, RE (2018). Multiple sub-lethal thresholds for cellular responses to thermal stressors in an estuarine fish. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A: Molecular and Integrative Physiology 225, 33–45.
  • Frank, DF; Hasenbein, M; Eder, K; Jeffries, KM; Geist, J; Fangue, NA and Connon, RE (2017). Transcriptomic screening of the innate immune response in delta smelt during an Ichthyophthirius multifiliis infection. Aquaculture, 80–88.
  • Brander, SM; Jeffries, KM; Cole, BJ; DeCourten, BM; White, JW; Hasenbein, S; Fangue, NA and Connon, RE (2016). Transcriptomic changes underlie altered egg protein production and reduced fecundity in an estuarine model fish exposed to bifenthrin. Aquatic Toxicology 174, 247–260.
  • Clark, TD; Furey, NB; Rechisky, EL; Gale, MK; Jeffries, KM; Porter, AD; Casselman, MT; Lotto, AG; Patterson, DA; Cooke, SJ; Farrell, AP; Welch, DW and Hinch, SG (2016). Tracking wild sockeye salmon smolts to the ocean reveals distinct regions of nocturnal movement and high mortality. Ecological Applications 26 (4), 959–978.

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We are recruiting a motivated MSc student to join the laboratories of Drs. Ken Jeffries and David Deslauriers (Fisheries and Oceans Canada) at the University of Manitoba. The project will be focusing on understanding the impacts ocean warming and acidification can have on the growth and development of clams and how these effects interact with biotoxin accumulation as a result of wastewater effluent inputs to the system.

Important Dates

December 10 – December 21: Fall Term Exam Period

December 22 – January 2: Winter Holiday (University Closed)

Upcoming Seminars

General seminar: Edward Jenkins, M.Sc. Defense: “Seabird dietary niche dynamics during breeding in coastal Newfoundland” — Tuesday, December 18 at 10 a.m., 304 Biological Sciences.

General seminar: Saeedeh Bani, PhD Proposal: “The development and maintenance of migratory timing programs in a songbird” — Tuesday, December 18 at 2 p.m., 304 Biological Sciences.