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Bernal Arce

Bernal Arce, MSc student


MSc student under the supervision of Andrew MacDougall. Working thesis title: Determining how plant structures drive arthropod predator establishment and community compositionMSc student.

Jamie Bain

Jaime Bain, undergraduate student

I am a 3rd year undergraduate student at the University of Guelph majoring in Environmental Sciences. I was brought into Dr. Kevin McCann and Dr. Neil Rooney's labs as a research assistant and field technician in the Summer of 2017 and have been involved with their labs ever since.

Since August 2017 I have been conducting my own research under Neil Rooney surrounding the effects of agricultural intensity on stream metabolism on the north shore of Lake Erie. I am using ecological indicators such as cotton strip assays and periphytometers to measure bacterial respiration and primary production as indicators of carbon cycling of stream function. I will be continuing this research in the summer of 2018, expanding my sample size and slightly altering my methodology.

I have a passion for examining the abiotic and biotic components on an ecosystem and seeing what effects anthropogenic processes have on these systems. I hope to continue my academic career in post-graduate studies in the future and someday work for a private environmental consulting firm as a consultant.

Carling Bieg

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I am a PhD student in Integrative Biology with Kevin McCann and Evan Fraser using theoretical techniques to broadly look at how different human impacts, such as climate change and land use/modification, interact to affect food web stability and function.

Danielle Bourque

Danielle Bourque, Graduate student

I'm a graduate student working under the supervision or Dr. Robert Hanner and Dr. John Fryxell.  My research is looking at aspects of "the ecology of environmental DNA (eDNA)". Using the Limnotron facility, my aim is to elucidate the utility of eDNA as a bioindicator.

Interest in using eDNA for population and biodiversity monitoring is growing exponentially. While applications of eDNA have surged, knowledge gaps still exist concerning how eDNA interacts with aquatic environments. "Can eDNA predict organism abundance?" and "How does eDNA move in space and time?" are questions I'm addressing in my M.Sc.

Oliver Carroll

Oliver Carroll, PhD student


PhD student under the supervision of Andrew MacDougall. Working thesis title: Resource co-limitation of grassland communities in changing landscapes.

Anibal Castillo

Anibal Castillo, PhD student

I am studying the relationship between above-ground and below-ground biodiversity, if and how they influence soil health. Is biodiversity a key indicator of soil resilience and health? Does plant diversity increase microbial and invertebrate diversity? I will apply High Throughput Sequencing, qPCR and conventional taxonomy to answer these questions.

I am co-advised by Dr. Kari Dunfield at SES, and Dr. Bob Hanner from Integrative Biology. I hold a B.Sc. in Biological Sciences from the Republic University in Uruguay, with emphasis on molecular phylogenetics. I completed an M.Sc. in Zoology at IB, studying whole genome duplications and phylogenetics in salmonid fish. I then worked for eight years at the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, where I initially produced, and then curated, DNA barcodes of all taxonomic groups.


LinkedIn: Anibal H. Castillo

Twitter: @anibalhcastillo

Research gate: Anibal H. Castillo

ORCID: 0000-0002-1537-0528



Adam Deleeuw

Adam Deleeuw

Previously, I completed a Bachelors of Science at the University of Guelph specializing in marine and freshwater biology where I furthered my education and passion for fish ecology. I also completed an undergraduate thesis where I used hydro-acoustic technology to quantify thermal preferences and spatial patterns of fishes in southwestern Georgian Bay. My prior experience in this project and working with research on Unionid mussels in the summers reinforced my decision to continue my education into a Masters degree.

Currently, I am an M.Sc student in Integrative Biology under the supervision of Dr. Beren Robinson at the University of Guelph where I study habitat selection of individuals in lake systems. More specifically, I will be experimentally manipulating movement in the field and testing how individual pumpkinseed sunfish (Lepomis gibbosus) of polymorphic populations are selecting habitats using a mark-recapture study with PIT tags. I hope to answer important evolutionary and ecological questions regarding directed movement and gene flow and how this will influence the further divergence of this species. 

Research Gate:


Aleksandra Dolezal

Aleksandra Dolezal, graduate student

My curiosity about plant and animal interactions, as well as my natural scientific curiosity, is what led me to pursue research in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. My research interests are focused on conservation efforts, environmental assessment, and all things insect related.

My MSc position with Andrew MacDougall has given me the opportunity to delve deeper into my insect interests and ask the question: how do restored prairies on agricultural landscapes affect arthropod community structure? Our labs' research focuses on how we can reduce effects of intensive agriculture through "precision agriculture"; a strategy that includes conversion of marginal lands (i.e., unproductive lands on farms) to native species-rich prairie grassland. This conservation strategy seeks to reduce problems of food security while being a sustainable farm practice that is compatible with wildlife. My research specifically deals with arthropods which link these two issues (conservation and food security) given their abundance, diversity, and role as providers of ecosystem services. We are voicing the benefits available to producers of enhancing biodiveristy.

In collaboration with ALUS, my project will investigate how restored prairie grassland areas adjacent to crop fields affect the abundance and diversity of beneficial insect functional groups (pollinators, parasitoids, predators) that provide vital ecosystem services.

Sarah Dolson

Sarah Dolson, M.Sc student

I am an MSc student in the Smith Lab at the University of Guelph.

I am interested in anything insect related. I am specifically fascinated in areas of the world where we have a limited understanding of insect diversity and distribution, and this interest has led me to conduct research in Canada, Asia, and Central America.

My current research focuses on phylogenetic community structure and diversity across an elevation gradient in Costa Rica in an extremely diverse group of organisms, the rove beetles.

Twitter: @sarahdolson

Carolyn Gibson

Carolyn Gibson, PhD student

Having completed her Masters at the University of Alberta, Carolyn joins the department of Integrative Biology for her PhD with Merritt Turetsky, working to improve the prediction of permafrost sensitive landscapes to aid decision makers and communities in the north. This work aims to improve our capability to predict permafrost thaw vulnerability lands over large areas and increase our understanding of how permafrost thaw affects the provisioning and access to ecosystem services for northern communities. This work is done by taking a trans-disciplinary approach by combining community observed changes in permafrost, terrain stability, and vegetation with geospatial modeling approaches. This work will allow us to improve permafrost vulnerability models and maps and link local perceptions of change with scientific climate-model projections in order to forecast how availability of subsistence resources will change in the future. 

Twitter: @CarolynG_22

Chris Greyson-Gaito

Chris GG1

I am fascinated by systems; how they function, what structures them, and what causes them to fail. My favourite systems are ecological systems and my specific research focus is ecological food webs. However, I see myself as highly interdisciniplinary and am interested in the intersection of ecology with evolution, politics, and economics. My main research tool is mathematical modelling, but I also collaborate with empiricists regularly.

For my PhD, I am examining the interactions of ecological processes across scales in a variety of systems. One part of my PhD will examine how the stabilization of farming yields through fertilization and pesticide use can translate into instability in farming profits. Another part of my PhD will examine the dynamics of resident gut microbial communities (microbiomes).


Twitter: @cgreysongaito

Jennifer Gleason

Jenny Gleason, PhD student

I am a PhD candidate in the Integrative Biology department co-supervised by Karl Cottenie and Bob Hanner. My major research interests are community ecology and aquatic insects, with a focus on bio-indicator taxa in freshwater systems. I am currently exploring the influence of farming intensity on aquatic insect communities in riverine systems and developing protocols to use environmental DNA (eDNA) for both bio-assessments and community analyses.

Marie Gutgesell

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PhD student.

William Jarvis

William Jarvis, graduate student

 I’m an MSc student in the Robinson Lab at the University of Guelph where my research focuses on understanding contemporary evolutionary processes and their ecological context in natural populations. Some of my past work includes assessing assortative mating in a population of pumpkinseed sunfish (Lepomis gibbosus) that has diverged to occupy two different lake habitats; littoral (nearshore) and pelagic (open water). To better understand how genes could be exchanged between subpopulations in different lake habitats, we undertook a one year mark recapture study. We are now investigating the factors that influence whether an individual moves or stays where they are.

Twitter: @Will_MC_Jarvis


Kevin MacColl

Kevin MacColl, PhD student

I started a PhD program in Integrative Biology in 2018, in the lab of Hafiz Maherali, where we study evolutionary ecology. I use these ALUS farms as model systems to study how nutrient loading affects relationships between plants and soil micro organisms. Mycorrhizal fungi are a type of micro organism that associate intimately with plants by forming nutritional mutualisms. In this mutualism, mycorrhizal fungi exchange scarce soil nutrients with plants for photosynthetically derived carbohydrates. These partnerships are decoupled by nutrient loading because plants are more able to obtain soil nutrients by their own means, without the carbon cost of supporting the mycorrhizal fungi. So in areas affected by fertilizers, plants decrease their association with mycorrhizal fungi, and the abundance of the fungi declines.

For my project, I will be answering questions like: Have mycorrhizal fungi been reduced in prairie grasslands affected by fertilizers? Are certain species of mycorrhizal fungi more tolerant to nutrient-enriched soils? If so, what functional traits have protected these species from local extinction? Are there functional shifts in mycorrhizal fungi as a result? And under these conditions, can we expect long-term ecological feedbacks on plant communities, and ecosystem functioning?

Annalisa Mazzorato

Annalisa Mazzorato, graduate student

I completed my Bachelors of Science at the University of Waterloo, focusing my classes on ecology and environmental biology. During my time there, I was lucky enough to participate in some research projects and completed my own undergraduate thesis on Goldenrod taxonomy. Through these academic experiences, coupled with my involvement in nature and outdoor clubs, working in various environmental and agricultural labs, and an amazing experience in Ecuador learning about sustainable agriculture – I found a niche I wanted to be a part of – this being ecology, specifically areas involving restoration, ecosystems, and agriculture.
Currently, I am working on my M.Sc. with Dr. Andrew MacDougall in collaboration with ALUS Canada at the University of Guelph to further develop my understanding on the various factors that control ecosystem services - specifically soil carbon differences and accumulation between croplands and marginally restored native tallgrass prairie in agricultural landscapes.

Annalisa's website:

Annalisa on Twitter: @acmazzorato


Dan Noble

Dan Noble, MSc student

I am an MSc student under the supervision of Andrew MacDougall in the Department of Integrative Biology, and Jana Levison in the School of Engineering. My research focuses on nutrient dynamics and ecohydrology in marginal lands of intensively managed farms. My research hopes to address scientific questions including:

  1. How can we increase water quality in watersheds where intensive agricultural practices occur?
  2. What ecosystem services do prairie filter strips provide along the vadose zone and groundwater flow path in row-crop landscapes?

Answering these questions will provide greater insight into possible strategies to offset the environmental footprint intensive farming practices have on the Lake Erie watershed.

Evan K. Pacey

Evan Pacey, PhD student

I received my BSc from the University of Western Ontario in 2010 and my MSc from McMaster University in 2013. Towards the end of my Masters I started analyzing genome size databases for physiological trends. One trend that became apparent was that polyploid organisms often inhabit more resource-limited environments than their diploid progenitors or relatives. I hypothesize that this trend exists because polyploids can store more per unit volume than diploids. As a PhD student, I am currently testing this hypothesis in the labs of Hafiz Maherali and Brian C. Husband with numerous accessions and cytotypes of Arabidopsis thaliana.


Twitter handle @EKPacey


ResearchGate profile

Stephen Van Drunen

Stephen Van Drunen, Master's student


A graduate of both Fleming College’s Ecosystem Management and the University of Guelph’s Environmental Science programs, I continue to build upon my interests and experience by pursuing an MSc in the Norris Lab at the University of Guelph. My research investigates population demography and habitat use of the endangered Jefferson salamander (Ambystoma jeffersonianum) and their unisexual dependents (A. laterale - jeffersonianum). Results from this work will provide baseline information for conservation management and work towards filling gaps in our basic knowledge about these species.

Connor Warne

Connor Warne

I am a PhD student in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph co-supervised by Neil Rooney and Kevin McCann. In general I am interested in the influences of climate change and agriculture on freshwater systems.

My research focuses on how long-term warming shifts the timing of ice formation and breakup in lakes and how it may also modulate the adult size of various fish species. I am also interested in how short-term climate variation and agricultural land use may change the phenology, structure and diversity of freshwater invertebrates. 


Twitter: @connorpwarne