Matthews Lab

Comparative Respiratory Physiology

Welcome to the Matthews Lab! Our lab is part of the Comparative Physiology group in the Department of Zoology at UBC. We have a broad interest in the gas exchange strategies used by insects (and some plants). Our goal is to understand how respiratory/gas exchange systems are adapted to function in different environments.


We use many experimental techniques to understand how both terrestrial and aquatic insects obtain sufficient O2 from their environment and how they regulate CO2 excretion and internal pH. This involves looking at the morphology of their gas exchange system, how the nervous system regulates gas exchange, and how this influences the acid-base balance of their haemolymph. Details of our current research projects, publications, and the people working in the lab, can be found on this website.


If you are interested in undertaking an MSc or PhD on insect respiratory physiology, or a related field, please go to the prospective students page. Happy browsing!



Matthews Lab News:

Congrats to Kephra Beckett and Anna Robertson, who were awarded the Journal of Experimental Biology's Outstanding Paper of 2019 for their paper "Studies on gas exchange in the meadow spittlebug, Philaenus spumarius: the metabolic cost of feeding on, and living in, xylem sap". Well done!

Currently seeking grad students (MSc and PhD) to join the lab for a 2020 start. See prospective students page for details

November 2019 - Summer Scholar Student Auguste de Pennart had his paper "The bimodal gas exchange strategies of dragonfly nymphs across development" accepted for publication in the Journal of Insect Physiology

October 2019 - Daniel Lee had his paper "Quantifying the acid-base status of dragonflies across their transition from breathing water to breathing air" accepted by the Journal of Experimental Biology

Kephra Beckett's USRA work featured in the New York Times' 'Sciencetake' section: "Inside the Spittlebug's Bubble Home"

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