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I'm a recent B.Sc. Zoology graduate who is interested in how the world around us is affected by abiotic changes. My passions for ecology and entomology have led me to work in some amazing labs at the University of Guelph, including those of Dr. M. Alex Smith, Dr. Shoshanah Jacobs, and Dr. Andrew MacDougall. I completed my undergraduate thesis in the Smith lab on comparing the lightness of two biodiverse, cryptic insect groups across a neotropical elevational gradient. I currently work as a field technician in the MacDougall lab where I aid in collecting, sorting, identifying, and pinning insects from Ontario. I am excited to be starting a Mitacs Career Connect internship in the Smith Lab in the fall, where I will be continuing my research with neotropical insects.
In my position as Research Collaborator, I compile and organize aquatic monitoring data (water chemistry and fish and benthic invertebrate species data) to support various research initiatives being pursued by BiRN members under the CFREF program. I’m also working on a project looking at the concentrations of nutrients (total phosphorus and total nitrogen) in streams and rivers of southern Ontario and linking that to landuse such as agricultural and urban areas. In addition to this work, I also oversee the BiRN website that you are perusing. I hope you’re finding the website useful and informative. Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions or suggestions for improvements (firstname.lastname@example.org).
My primary role in the Norris lab (norrislab.ca) is to manage two of the monarch butterfly projects. Previous research suggests that recovery of declining monarch butterflies (a species-at-risk in Ontario) depends on the availability (both quantity and quality) of milkweed plants, the only food plant for monarch butterfly caterpillars. The objective of the first project is to develop optimal management strategies for milkweed in right-of-ways for monarch butterflies. Evidence that neonicotinoid pesticides are a threat to many pollinator species has made it also important to understand the effects of these pesticides on monarchs. For the second project, I’m studying the effects neonicotinoids on monarch breeding and migration in an agricultural setting with milkweed growing alongside neonicotinoid treated corn.
I am a technology transfer professional in the Research Innovation Office, University of Guelph. Our office’s priority is translating research into applications that make an impact on society. My focus is the commercialization of inventions that help protect the environment, create jobs, and improve life.
Of relevance to the Biodiversity Resilience Network is a biological tracer (biotracer) project I am working on with Dr. Kevin McCann. This project explores the feasibility of using biotracers (e.g. DNA, stable isotopes, fatty acids) to monitor the trade of wildlife and plants around the globe and builds on the University of Guelph's strength in DNA barcoding (i.e. species identification). The gap we are looking to address is a standardized way to authenticate the origin of animals and plants that enter trade. Key questions of interest span both fundamental and applied domains of research and include, but are not limited to:
- How do common biotracers vary in space and time?
- Are there biotracers that work for both plants and animals?
- How correlated are various biotracers?
- What is the most cost-effective combination of biotracers?
- How do DNA preservatives affect the signal of other biotracer classes (e.g. stable isotopes)?
Taken together, our goal is to build a forensic tool that can elucidate the what (species ID) and where (origin) of natural resources (animals, plants) at any point in the supply chain to increase the transparency and accountability of global trade.
Tyler on Twitter @tylerzem
Google Scholar at: https://scholar.
LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.