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Dr. Jonathan Stecyk

Jonathan Stecyk, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Department of Biological Sciences
(907) 786-4791


  • 2007 Ph.D. University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    Thesis title: Control of cardiovascular function during prolonged anoxia in the freshwater turtle (Trachemys scripta)
  • 2002 M.Sc. Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
  • 1999 B.Sc. (with distinction) Augustana University College, Camrose, Alberta, Canada

Teaching Responsibilities

  • BIOL A108 Principles and Methods in Biology
  • BIOL A242 Fundamentals of Cell Biology
  • BIOL A498 Individual Research (Please contact me to discuss possibilities)

Research Interests

I am a comparative physiologist and my research aims to understand how the cardiovascular system of anoxia-tolerant vertebrates functions during times of oxygen deprivation. Most vertebrates die within minutes of oxygen deprivation because the heart and brain requires a continuous supply of oxygen. For example, heart attacks and strokes are one of the most common causes of death in the Western world. However, some fish and turtle species can survive and recover successfully from weeks to months without oxygen. My research employs a wide range of techniques and spans from the level of the whole animal to the gene to better understand how these animals can live without oxygen, whereas others cannot.


  • Lefevre, S., Stecyk, J. A. W., Torp, M.-K., Lovold, L. Y., Sørensen, C., Johansen, I. B., Stensløkken, K.-O., Couturier, C. S., Sloman, K. and Nilsson, G. E. (2017). Re-oxygenation after anoxia induces cell death and memory loss in the anoxia-tolerant crucian carp. J. Exp. Biol. 220, 3883-3895.
  • Stecyk, J. A. W., Farrell, A. P. and Vornanen. M. (2017). Na+/K+-ATPase activity in the anoxic turtle (Trachemys scripta) brain at different acclimation temperature. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. A. 206, 11-16.
  • Kubly, K.L. and Stecyk, J.A.W. (2015). Temperature-dependence of L-type Ca2+ current in ventricular cardiomyocytes of the Alaska blackfish (Dallia pectoralis). J. Comp. Physiol. B. 185: 845-858.
  • Wilkie, M.P., Stecyk, J.A.W., Couturier, C.S., Sidhu, S., Sandvik, G.K., and Nilsson, G.E. (2015). Reversible brain swelling in crucian carp (Carassius carassius) and goldfish (Carassius auratus) in response to high external ammonia and anoxia. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. A. 184, 65-75.
  • Lefevre, S., Damsgaard, C., Pascale, D.R., Nilsson, G.E., and Stecyk, J.A.W. (2014). Air breathing in the Arctic: influence of temperature, hypoxia, activity and restricted air access on respiratory physiology of Alaska blackfish (Dallia pectoralis). J. Exp. Biol., 217, 4387-4398. 
  • Bowden, A. J. Gardiner, N. M., Couturier, C. S., Stecyk, J. A. W., Nilsson, G. E., Munday, P. L. and Rummer, J. L. (2014). Alterations in gill structure in tropical reef fishes as a result of elevated temperatures. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. A. 175, 64-71.
  • Rummer, J. L., Couturier, C. S., Stecyk, J. A. W., Gardiner, N. M., Kinch, J. P., Nilsson, G. E., and Munday, P. L. (2014). Life on the edge: Thermal optima for aerobic scope of equatorial reef fishes are close to current day temperatures. Global Change Biology. 20, 1055-1066.
  • Wilson, C. M., Stecyk, J. A. W., Couturier, C. S., Nilsson, G. E. and Farrell, A. P. (2013). Phylogeny and effects of anoxia on hyperpolarization-activated, cyclic nucleotide-gated channel gene expression in the heart of a primitive chordate, the Pacific hagfish (Eptatretus stouttii). J. Exp. Biol. Biol. 216, 4462-4472.
  • Rummer, J., Stecyk, J. A. W., Couturier, C. S., Watson, S.-A., Nilsson, G. E. and Mudnay, P. L. (2013). Elevated CO2 enhances aerobic scope of a coral reef fish. Conversation Physiology. 1, cot023.
  • Couturier, C. S., Stecyk, J. A. W., Rummer, J. L., Munday, P. L. and Nilsson, G. E. (2013). Species-specific effects of near-future CO2 on the repiratory performance of two tropical prey fish and their predator. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. A. 166, 482-489.
  • Lardon, I., Nilsson, G.E., Stecyk, J. A. W., Vu, T., Laukens, K., De Boeck, G. and Dommisse, R. (2013). ¹H-NMR study of the metabolome of an exceptionally anoxia tolerant vertebrate, the crucian carp (Carassius carassius). Metabolomics. 9, 311-323.
  • Nilsson, G.E., Dymowska, A.K., and StecykJ. A. W. (2012). New insights into the plasticity of gill structure. Resp. Physiol. & Neurobiol.  184, 214-222.
  • Stecyk, J. A. W., Couturier, C. S., Fagernes, C. E., Ellefsen, S. and Nilsson, G. E. (2012). Quantification of heat shock protein mRNA expression in warm and cold anoxic turtles (Trachemys scripta) using an external RNA control for normalization. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. D. 7, 59-72.
  • Stecyk, J. A. W., Larsen, B. C. and Nilsson, G. E. (2011). Intrinsic performance of the crucian carp (Carassius carassius) heart during anoxic and acidotic stress.  Am J Physiol. 301, R1332-1442.  
  • Utne-Palm, A. C., Salvanes , A.G. V., Currie, B., Kaartvedt, S., Nilsson, G. E., Braithwaite, V., Stecyk, J. A. W., Hundt, M., Flynn, B., Peard, K. R. Lunde, I., Sandvik, G. K., Klevjer, T. A. Strandbø, R. A. U. and Gibbons, M. (2010) Trophic structure and community stability in an overfished ecosystem. Science 329, 333-336.
  • Stecyk, J. A. W., Skovgaard, N., Nilsson, G. E. and Wang, T. (2010). Vasoactivity of hydrogen sulfide in normoxic and anoxic turtles (Trachemys scripta). Am. J. Physiol. 298, R1225-1239.
  • Stecyk, J. A. W., Bock, C., Overgaard, J., Wang, T., Farrell, A. P. and Pörtner, H.-O. (2009). Correlation of cardiac performance with cellular energetic components in the oxygen-deprived turtle heart. Am. J. Physiol. 297, R756-768.
  • Stensløkken, K.-O., Ellefsen, S., Stecyk, J. A. W., Dahl, M. B, Nilsson and G. E, Vaage, J. (2008). Differential regulation of AMP-activated kinase and AKT kinase in response to oxygen availability in crucian carp (Carassius carassius). Am. J. Physiol. 295, R1803-1814.
  • Stecyk, J. A. W., Galli, G. L., Shiels, H. A. and Farrell, A. P. (2008). Cardiac survival in anoxia-tolerant vertebrates: An electrophysiological perspective. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. C. 148, 339-354.
  • Stensløkken, K.-O., Milton, S. L., Lutz, P. L., Sundin, L., Renshaw, G. M. C., Stecyk, J. A. W. and Nilsson, G. E. (2008). Effect of anoxia on the electroretinogram of three anoxia-tolerant vertebrates. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. A. 150, 393-403.
  • Stecyk, J. A. W., Paajanen, V., Farrell, A. P. and Vornanen, M. (2007). Effect of temperature and prolonged anoxia exposure on electrophysiological properties of the turtle (Trachemys scripta) heart. Am. J. Physiol. 293, R421-437.
  • Stecyk, J. A. W., Stensløkken, K.-O., Nilsson, G. E. and Farrell, A. P. (2007). Adenosine does not save the heart of anoxia-tolerant vertebrates during oxygen deprivation. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. A. 147, 961-973.
  • Farrell, A. P. and Stecyk, J. A. W. (2007). The heart as a working model to explore themes and strategies for anoxic survival in ectothermic vertebrates. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. A. 147, 300-312.
  • Stecyk, J. A. W. and Farrell, A. P. (2007). Effects of extracellular factors on spontaneous heart rate of normoxia- and anoxia-acclimated turtles (Trachemys scripta). J. Exp. Biol. 210, 421-431.
  • Stecyk, J. A. W. and Farrell, A. P. (2006). Regulation of the cardiorespiratory system of common carp (Cyprinus carpio) during severe hypoxia at three seasonal acclimation temperatures. Physiol. Biochem. Zool. 79, 614-627.
  • Stecyk, J. A. W., Stensløkken, K.-O., Farrell, A. P. and Nilsson, G. E. (2004). Maintained cardiac pumping in anoxic crucian carp. Science 305, 77.
  • Overgaard, J., Stecyk, J. A. W., Gesser, H., Wang, T., Gamperl, K. and Farrell, A. P. (2004). Preconditioning stimuli does not benefit the heart of anoxia-tolerant rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). J. Comp. Physiol. B. 174, 329-340.
  • Overgaard, J., Stecyk, J. A. W., Gesser, H., Wang, T., Gamperl, K. and Farrell, A. P. (2004). Effects of temperature and anoxia upon the performance of in situ perfused trout hearts. J. Exp. Biol. 207, 655-665.
  • Stecyk, J. A. W., Overgaard, J., Wang, T. and Farrell, A. P. (2004). ?-Adrenergic regulation of systemic peripheral resistance and blood flow distribution in the turtle  (Trachemys scripta) during anoxic submergence at 5 ° C and 21 ° C. J. Exp. Biol. 207, 269-283.
  • Overgaard, J., Stecyk, J. A. W., Farrell, A. P. and Wang, T. (2002). Adrenergic control of the cardiovascular system in the turtle Trachemys scripta. J. Exp. Biol. 205, 3335-3345.
  • Stecyk, J. A. W. and Farrell, A. P. (2002). Cardiorespiratory responses of the common carp (Cyprinus carpio) to severe hypoxia at three acclimation temperatures. J. Exp. Biol. 205, 759-768.

Book Chapters

  • Stecyk, J. A. W. (2017). Cardiovascular responses to limiting oxygen levels. In: The Cardiovascular System: Development, Plasticity and Physiological Responses, Volume 36B of Fish Physiology series. Academic 
    Press.  pp. 299-371.
  • Vornanen, M., Stecyk, J. A. W., and Nilsson, G. E. (2009). The anoxia-tolerant crucian carp (Carassius carassius L.). In: Hypoxia, Volume 27 of Fish Physiology series. Academic Press. pp. 397 – 441.

Editorial Commentaries

  • Stecyk, J. A. W. (2008). Myonuclei are not lost during muscle atrophy. J. Exp. Biol. 211, (19), iii.
  • Stecyk, J. A. W. (2008). The secret of shunting. J. Exp. Biol. 211, (13), vii.
  • Stecyk, J. A. W. (2008). What a gas! J. Exp. Biol. 211, (7), iv.
  • Stecyk, J. A. W. (2008). Stopping the clock. J. Exp. Biol. 211, (1), iv.
  • Stecyk, J. A. W. (2007). Beating the cold. J. Exp. Biol. 210, (19), vi.
  • Stecyk, J. A. W. (2007). Sensational shells. J. Exp. Biol. 210, (13), vii.
  • Stecyk, J. A. W. (2007). Ugly dad? Invest in Eggs. J. Exp. Biol. 210, (5), vi.
  • Stecyk, J. A. W. (2006). Busted benefit of bradycardia? J. Exp. Biol. 209, (23), v.
  • Stecyk, J. A. W. (2006). Beneficial blueberries.  J. Exp. Biol. 209 (17), v.
  • Stecyk, J. A. W. (2006). Chew on this. J. Exp. Biol. 209 (11), v.
  • Stecyk, J. A. W. (2006). The heat associated with eating meat. J. Exp. Biol. 209 (5), vi.
  • Stecyk, J. A. W. (2005). Excitotoxic cell death denied. J. Exp. Biol. 208 (23), vi.
  • Stecyk, J. A. W. (2005). Python's hearty meal. J. Exp. Biol. 208 (17), vi.
  • Stecyk, J. A. W. (2005). Jamaican lizards' balancing act. J. Exp. Biol. 208 (11), vi.
  • Stecyk, J. A. W. (2005). No arrest needed to prevent cardiac arrest. J. Exp. Biol. 208(5), vii.
  • Stecyk, J. A. W. (2004). Lactate limits life. J. Exp. Biol. 207 (25), vi.

Career History/Work Experience

  • 2015 President's Medallist: Awarded by the Society for Experimental Biology Animal Section
  • Cameron Award: Best Canadian Zoology Thesis of 2007; Awarded by the Canadian Society of Zoologists
  • First Prize: Elsevier Young Investigator Award 2004; Awarded by the Society for Experimental Biology

Honors/Awards in the Lab

  • Undergraduate Research Grant (Fall 2017), Diarmid Hall & Shannon Royal
  • Undergraduate Research Grant (Fall 2017), Amy Andresen
  • Undergraduate Research Grant (Fall 2017), Christopher Drake
  • Alaska INBRE Undergraduate Research Assistantship (Summer 2017), Savannah Green
  • Undergraduate Research Grant (Summer 2015), Alicia Flores
  • Undergraduate Research Grant (Spring 2015), Jacob Buskirk
  • LGL Graduate Student and Research Stipend Award (Summer 2014), Kerry Kubly
  • Discovery Grant Research Award (Spring 2014), Theresa Cho
  • Undergraduate Research Grant (Spring 2014), Desirae Pascale
  • Undergraduate Research Grant (Spring 2014), Rhiannon Pattison
  • Undergraduate Research Grant (Spring 2014), Theresa Cho 
  • Alaska Heart Institute Fellowship (Fall 2013), Karen Carlson
  • LGL Graduate Student and Research Stipend Award (Summer 2013), Kerry Kubly
  • Undergraduate Research Grant (Summer 2013), Gary Lose
  • Undergraduate Research Grant (Spring 2013), Jack Ayres
  • Undergraduate Research Grant (Spring 2013), Aurora Hoeferle

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