Alex Sutton

PhD Candidate (2014-present)

Many animals have developed behavioural and physiological mechanisms to respond to extreme environments. One widespread behavioural mechanism to deal with decreased food abundance is food caching, which involves storing food for use at a later time. Once food has been cached it is influenced by a number of factors. Residing in the boreal forests, Gray Jays rely on cached food for overwinter survival and for breeding. For my PhD, I will be investigating how changing climatic conditions and the microhabitat where jay caches are stored influence cache quality over time. As well, I will be investigating the role of saliva in food caching and its potential to act as an adhesive, or a preservative.


Freeman, NK, Norris, DR, Sutton, AO & Newman AEM. 2020. Raising young with limited resources: supplementation improves body condition and advances fledging date of Canada Jays. In press: Ecology

Ralston, J, Lorenc, L, Montes, M, DeLuca, WV, Kirchman, JJ, Woodworth, BK, MacKenzie, SA, Newman, AEM, Cooke, H, Freeman, NE, Sutton, AO, Tauzer, L & Norris, DR. 2019. Length polymorphisms at two candidate genes explain variation in migratory behaviors of blackpoll warblers. Ecology & Evolution 9(15):8840-8855.

Sutton, AO, Strickland, D, Freeman, NK, Newman, AEM & Norris, DR. 2019. Fall freeze-thaw events carry over to depress late-winter reproductive performance in Canada Jays. Royal Society, Open Science 6:181754.

DeLuca, WV, Woodworth, BK, Mackenzie, SA, Newman, AEM, Cooke, H, Phillips, LM, Freeman, NK, Sutton, AO, Tauzer, L, McIntyre, C, Stenhouse, I, Weidensaul, S, Taylor, PD & Norris, DR. 2019. A boreal songbird’s 20,000 km migration across North America and the Atlantic Ocean. Ecology 100(5):e02651.

Sutton, AO, AJ. Turko, RL McLaughlin, and PA Wright. 2018. Behavioral and Physiological Responses of an Amphibious, Euryhaline Mangrove Fish to Acute Salinity Exposure. Copeia 106(2) 305-311.

Sutton, AO, Strickland, D & Norris, DR. 2016. Food storage in a changing world: implications of climate change for food-caching species. Climate Change Responses 3: 12.

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