In nature, C. elegans can be found in soil and feeding on bacteria that are growing on decomposing plant material. The soil is a very complex environment with changes in oxygen concentration, food availability and temperature taking place over small distances. As cold blooded organisms, nematodes, like C. elegans cannot directly regulate their body temperature. The soil is therefore a very challenging environment for the worm to move trough, at it may be exposed to unfavourable temperatures in the search for food or optimal oxygen levels. We are interested in the affect that high and low extremes of temperature have on various aspects of nematode biology, including: cell biology, cell cycle control, development and fitness. We aim to address this question using molecular biology tools, microscopy and genetics in the model organism C. elegans and hope to extend our knowledge by studying other nematodes, namely Caenorhabditis briggsae and Pristionchus pacificus.
Begasse, ML and Hyman AA. The first cell cycle of the Caenorhabditis elegans embryo: spatial and temporal control of an asymmetric cell division. Results Probl Cell Differ 53:109-33 (2011).