Aquatic Ecology & Evolution


About Me

I am an ecophysiologist and I investigate how consumers adapt to their nutritional landscape, especially in the face of global environmental change. I have primarily examined how omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) move through and are modified by consumers within food webs. While aquatic primary producers are often rich in n-3 long-chain (LC) PUFAs, these compounds are extremely scarce at the base of terrestrial ecosystems. During my PhD, I showed that aquatic insects are much richer in n-3 LCPUFAs than are terrestrial insects and that aquatic insects subsidize riparian birds with these compounds. I also demonstrated that n-3 LCPUFAs improve performance in two species of riparian birds and used field 13C dosing to reveal that their nestlings are inefficient at LCPUFA synthesis. These findings have revealed the unique role that aquatic ecosystems play as sources of critical nutrients for both aquatic and terrestrial consumers and highlight the importance of understanding how processes like climate and land use change are altering the quality, quantity, and phenology of aquatic to terrestrial subsidies. In my current postdoc, I am studying the behavioral and metabolic adaptations that marine fish have used to colonize freshwaters. 

For more information on my research and publications, please, visit my personal homepage.

Curriculum Vitae
2021 - Present Marie Słodowksa Curie Postdoctoral Fellow, Eawag, Department of Fish Ecology and Evolution, Kastanienbaum, Switzerland & Aquatic Ecology and Evolution, University of Bern, Switzerland
2018 - 2021 Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow, Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, Radolfzell, Germany and University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany
2012 - 2018 PhD, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
2011 - 2012 MESc, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA
2007 - 2011 BA, Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA

Recent Publications

Twining, C.W., J.R. Bernhardt, A.M., Derry, C.M. Hudson, A. Ishikawa, N, Kabeya, M.J. Kainz, J. Kitano, C. Kowarik, S.N. Ladd, M.C. Leal, K. Scharnweber, J.R. Shipley, and B. Matthews. 2021. The evolutionary ecology of fatty-acid variation: implications for consumer adaptation and diversification. Ecology Letters 24(8):1709-1731. DOI: 10.1111/ele.13771

Twining, C.W., N.R. Razavi, J.T. Brenna, S.A. Dzielski, S.T. Gonzalez, P. Lawrence, L. Cleckner, and A.S. Flecker. 2021. Emergent freshwater insects serve as a subsidy of methylmercury and beneficial fatty acids for riparian predators across an agricultural gradient. Environmental Science and Technology 55(9):5868-5877. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.0c07683

Twining, C.W., T.P. Parmar, M. Mathieu-Resuge, M.J. Kainz, J.R. Shipley, and D. Martin-Creuzburg. 2021. Use of fatty acids from aquatic prey varies with foraging strategy. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2021.735350

Twining, C. W., S. J. Taipale, L. Ruess, A. Bec, D. Martin-Creuzburg, and M. J. Kainz. 2020. Stable isotopes of fatty acids: current and future perspectives for advancing trophic ecology. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 375:20190641. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2019.0641