BiRN at the Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution 2018 Meeting

July 24, 2018


BiRN members were present in full force at this year’s conference of the Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution which took place from July 18 to 21, 2018 at the University of Guelph. Dr. Andrew MacDougall, conference chair, along with a core team of almost 30 students, faculty, and post-doctoral fellows worked countless hours for over a year to ensure the success of the conference which drew ~700 participants from Canada and around the world. BiRN members also organized 5 symposia and presented >80 oral and poster presentations during the conference. Please scroll down for descriptions of the symposia and a list of presentation titles and authors.

If you have any questions about the conference or would like to contact one of the presenters, please email and we will do our best to meet your request.


Consumer-Resource Dynamics in the Planet’s Grasslands (NutNet)

Organizer: Dr. Andrew MacDougall (University of Guelph)

Two of the most pervasive human impacts are alteration of global nutrient budgets and changes in the abundance and identity of consumers. Fossil fuel combustion and agricultural fertilization have doubled and quintupled, respectively, global pools of nitrogen and phosphorus relative to pre-industrial levels. Concurrently, habitat degradation and hunting and fishing disproportionately remove consumers from food webs. At the same time, humans are adding consumers for endpoints such as conservation, recreation, and agriculture, as well as accidental introductions of invasive consumers. In spite of the global impacts of these human activities, there have been no globally coordinated experiments to quantify the general impacts on ecological systems. The Nutrient Network (NutNet), established in 2007, is a grassroots research effort to address these questions within a coordinated research network comprised of 100+ grassland sites worldwide. This symposium will present findings of global, regional, and site-level research deriving from Nutnet over the last decade and more, with speakers from around the planet.


Revealing Food Web Rewiring Under Ecosystem Change

Organizers: Dr. Timothy Bartley (University of Guelph), Dr. Monica Granados (University of Guelph), and Dr. Matthew Guzzo (University of Guelph)

Given the ongoing and widespread effects of climate change and a myriad other natural and human-induced environmental changes, ecologists are eager to predict how ecosystems and their constituent species will respond. Ecologists are now documenting behavioral responses to changing conditions, such as changes in species’ ranges, habitat use, and interactions with other species. These responses alter ecosystems’ energy and nutrient flows and stability, ostensibly rewiring food webs as the wires or flows between species change. Thus, rapid behavioral responses should provide ecologists with an avenue to assay organism- to ecosystem-level responses to environmental change. This symposium will highlight some diverse examples of species behavioural responses to environmental change and reveal how the world’s food webs are rewiring.


Cognitive Ecology

Organizer: Dr. Nigel Raine (University of Guelph)

Learning and memory allow phenotypic plasticity within each generation of animals. These cognitive traits vary substantially across a wide range of taxa, but also vary among individuals and social groups (for example bee colonies) within populations or species. Understanding how such variation in cognitive performance might be adaptive under different ecological conditions is a major outstanding question. There is increasing interest in the field of cognitive ecology and this symposium brings together a selection of excellent researchers from across North America working on these questions using a diverse range of taxa as model systems, including fruit flies, bees, bats and birds.


Agroecosystems in the 21st Century

Organizer: Dr. Ellen Esch (University of Guelph)

A major challenge is feeding a growing population while minimizing environmental impacts. Integrating agricultural and ecological knowledge into the management of cropping and grazing systems can help address this global issue. For instance, leveraging evolutionary dynamics between weeds and insect pests with their crop hosts, biodiversity – ecosystem functionality relationships, or improved understanding of above- and below- ground interactions all have potential to improve both agricultural and environmental bottom lines. This session invites contributions that explore ecological and environmental processes within agroecosystems, progress on valuation of ecosystem services, and novel ways to produce a more resilient agricultural landscape. We hope to collectively deepen understanding and improve predictions of how agricultural systems are likely to change in the future and how to best manage them for multiple ecosystem services on both local and global scales.


Pollinators and Pollination Ecology

Organizer: Dr. Nigel Raine (University of Guelph)

Pollinators and the pollination services they provide are critical for agriculture and terrestrial ecosystem function. Roughly one in three mouthfuls of food we eat depend on animal mediated pollination, services worth around $720 Billion CAD to global agriculture each year. Almost 90% of flowering plants rely to some extent on animal mediated pollination for reproduction. Understanding the behaviour and ecology of pollinators in the context of the diverse flower species they interact is a field that has never been more popular. This interest is set against a public awareness about pollinator declines and the ramifications of losing these ecosystem service providers. 


Oral presentations:

Revealing food web re-wiring under ecosystem change: Monica Granados (University of Guelph)

Winter in water: the seasonal rewiring of aquatic food webs: Tim Bartley (University of Guelph)

Farming costs outpace yield gains, creating market opportunities for ecosystem services: Ellen Esch, Bernal Arce, Ollie Carroll, Aleksandra Dolezal, Annalisa Mazzorato, Andrew MacDougall (University of Guelph)

The origins and evolutionary history of feral apples in southern Ontario: Dane Cronin, Brian Husband (University of Guelph)

The role of individual differences in behaviours on trapping efficiency of invasive sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) in the St. Marys river: Rachel Holub, Robert McLaughlin (University of Guelph)

Stress and sex in the wild: how the early life environment influences physiology and fitness: Amy Newman (University of Guelph)

Implications of season-specific habitat loss for patterns of population collapse Joseph Burant, D. Ryan Norris (University of Guelph)

Farming with nature: using restored prairie grasslands to enhance beneficial insect richness and abundance in agricultural landscapes: Aleksandra Dolezal, Ellen Esch, Andrew MacDougall (University of Guelph)

Effects of adult niche diversification on juvenile performance in polyphenic pumpkinseed sunfish (Lepomis gibbosus): Beren Robinson (University of Guelph), Patrick Sobchak (University of Guelph)

When size matter: how does global warming affect size-structured population? Xueqi Wang (University of Guelph), Gustavo Betini, Tal Avgar, Kennedy Bucci, John Fryxell (University of Guelph)

Flexibility of the spruce budworm - parasitoid food web in response to spruce budworm density fluctuations: Christopher Greyson-Gaito (University of Guelph), Eldon S. Eveleigh, Kevin S. McCann (Natural Resources Canada, University of Guelph)

Social effects on fitness, between individuals that never meet, via an extended phenotype: David Fisher (University of Guelph), tan Boutin, Ben Dantzer, Murray M. Humphries, Jeffrey E. Lane, David W. Coltman, and Andrew G. McAdam

Collaborative global network science with the Nutrient Network Andrew MacDougall (University of Guelph)

Co-limitation increases the temporal stability of grassland productivity: Ollie Carroll, Andrew MacDougall (University of Guelph)

Wild birds learn songs from simulated tutors: the dynamics of vocal learning in nature: Dan Mennill (University of Windsor), Stephanie Doucet, Amy Newman, Heather Williams, Ines Moran, Bradley Woodworth, Ryan Norris (University of Windsor, University of Guelph, Williams College of Maryland)

Does the social environment matter to solitary animals? Fitness benefits of familiarity in Red Squirrels: Erin Siracusa (University of Guelph), Andrew McAdam (University of Guelph)

Discrimination of familiar in red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) territorial vocalizations: Jack Robertson (University of Guelph), Stan Boutin, Murray Humphries, Ben Dantzer, Jeff Lane, Andrew McAdam (University of Alberta, McGill University, University of Michigan, University of Saskatchewan, University of Guelph)

Genetic and plasticity influences on the brain morphology of brook charr (Salvelinus fontinalis) differing in foraging style: Karalea Cantera, Rob McLaughlin (University of Guelph)

From Alaska to the Amazon: the 20,000 km migratory journey of a 12-gram boreal-breeding songbird; Ryan Norris (University of Guelph), Bradley K Woodworth, Stuart A Mackensie, Amy Newman, Laura Phillips, Hilary Cooke, Alex Sutton, Nikole Freeman, Phillip D Taylor, William V DeLuca (University of Guelph, Bird Studies Canada, University of Guelph, Denali National Park and Preserve, Wildlife Conservation Society, University of Guelph, University of Guelph, Acadia University, University of Massachusetts Amherst)

Variation in space and time: examining conspecific and heterospecific density-dependent dispersal in woodland rodents: Simon Denomme-Brown (University of Guelph), Karl Cottenie; Andrew G. McAdam (University of Guelph)

It's what's on the inside that counts: physiology underlies urban-natural differences in squirrel microbiome structure and function: Mason Stothart (University of Guelph), Amy Newman (University of Guelph)

Integrating metabolism: Dylan Baloun (University of Saskatchewan), Jeffrey Lane, Stan Boutin, Andrew McAdam, Ben Dantzer, Murray Humphries (University of Saskatchewan, University of Alberta, University of Guelph, University of Michigan, McGill University)

Diversity and community structure of Rove Beetles across a neotropical elevation gradient: Sarah Dolson (University of Guelph), D. H. Janzen, W. Hallwachs and M. Alex Smith (University of Guelph, University of Pennsylvania)

Ecophylogenetics of flies (Diptera) in a subarctic site, Churchill (MB, Canada): Anna Solecki (University of Guelph), Karl Cottenie, Sarah J. Adamowicz, Christopher M. BuddleTerry A. Wheeler (University of Guelph; McGill University)

The role of group composition and resource availability on selection for aggression: Julia Kilgour (University of Guelph)

Setting the stage: long-term studies in ecology, behaviour, and evolution: Miriam Richards, Alana Pindar (Brock University, University of Guelph)
A review of long-term insect monitoring studies in Canada: Alana Pindar (University of Guelph)

Long-term studies of invertebrate ecology: a neotropical perspective from 15 minutes Area de Conservacion Guanacaste: Alex Smith (University of Guelph)

The evolution of strategies within a network for harvesting common-pool resources: Isaiah Farahbakhsh (University of Guelph), Chris Bauch, Madhur Anand (University of Waterloo, University of Guelph)

How much pollinator habitat is enough? Assessing optimal habitat requirements to support bee community composition in Ontario landscapes: Alana Pindar (University of Guelph)

Pollinators and pollination under pressure: assessing the impacts of pesticide exposure on wild bees: Nigel Raine (University of Guelph)

Effects of the social environment on phenotypic variation in territorial vocalizations of red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus); Maggie Bain (University of Guelph), David R. Wilson, Stan Boutin, Murray H. Humphries, Ben Dantzer, Jeff E. Lane, Andrew G. McAdam (University of Guelph, Memorial University of Newfoundland, University of Alberta, McGill University, University of Michigan, University of Saskatchewan)

Change Happens from the Ground Up: Multifunctional Solution of Soil Carbon Storage in Marginally Restored Grasslands in Southern Ontario: Annalisa Mazzorato, Ellen Esch, Andrew MacDougall (University of Guelph),

Phylogeography of North American lepidoptera: Linda Lait (University of Guelph), Paul Hebert (University of Guelph)

Species identification of odonates with DNA barcodes is not impeded by extended geographic range: Muhammad Ashfaq (Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph), Paul Hebert (Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph)

Life-history tradeoffs promote the evolution of dioecy: Marcel Dorken (Trent University), Wendy Van Drunen (University of Guelph)

Influential factors across an invasion process: the invasion of the Scotch broom in Nahuel Huapi National Park (Argentina): Ana Montero (University of Guelph), Ana Montero-Castaño, Carolina Morales, Pablo González-Moreno, Laura Cavallero, Montserrat Vilà, Marcelo Aizen (Universidad Nacional del Comahue, Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI); Centro Científico Tecnológico (CCT) CONICET; Estación Biologica de Doñana (EBD-CSIC); Universidad Nacional del Comahue, Instituto de Investigaciones en Biodiversidad y Medioambiente, CONICET)

Fish assemblage dynamics in the Virgin River (USA): Carolyn Trombley (University of Guelph), Thomas Hardy, Astrid Schwalb, Karl Cottenie (Texas State University, Texas State University, University of Guelph)

Agricultural impacts on stream biogeochemistry and metabolism: Christine Dulal-Whiteway (University of Guelph), Neil Rooney (University of Guelph)

Convergence of socio-ecological dynamics in disparate ecological systems under strong coupling to human social systems: Ram Sigdel (University of Guelph), Chris Bauch, Madhur Anand (University of Waterloo, University of Guelph)

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in agroecosystems: A meta-analysis of the effects of fertilization on species richness: Kevin MacColl, Hafiz Maherali (University of Guelph)

Brain, behaviour, and adaptive divergence in polyphenic Pumpkinseed sunfish; Caleb Axelrod (University of Guelph), Beren Robinson, Frederic Laberge (University of Guelph) 

Unpacking cumulative anthropogenic stressors using multiple metrics in the Laurentian Great Lakes: Jeremy Ramshaw (University of Guelph)

Root fungal endophytes are structured by hot plant phylogeny in an old field: Akihiro Koyama (Algoma University), Pedro M. Antunes, Hafiz Maherali (Algoma University, University of Guelph)

The mitochondrial genomes of scale insects (Coccidae) and broader implications for Hemipteran phylogeny: Thomas Braukmann (University of Guelph), Janet Topan, Liuqiong Lu, Maria Kuzmina, Dirk Steinke, Evgeny V. Zakharov, and Paul D. N. Hebert (University of Guelph)

Exploring the diversity of Canadian mites with DNA barcodes: Monica Young (University of Guelph), Jeremy R. deWaard, Heather C. Proctor, Paul D.N. Hebert (University of Guelph)

Spatially-explicit food webs in Serengeti: effects of spatio-temporal variation in predation risk and access to resources: John Fryxell (University of Guelph)

Wetland community assembly across a gradient of environmental filtering: Jennifer Erin Gleason (University of Guelph), Jody Daniel-Simon, Karl Cottenie, Rebecca C Rooney (University of Waterloo, University of Guelph, University of Waterloo)

Adaptive patterns of habitat selection vary non-linearly with resource availability and competitor density: Tal Avgar (University of Guelph), Gustavo Betini, John Fryxell (University of Guelph)

Searching for paradise; modelling the effect of variable landscapes on caribou movement and persistence: Boyan Liu (University of Guelph), Tal Avgar, Arthur Rodgers, John Fryxell (University of Guelph, Centre for Northern Forest Ecosystem Research (OMNR),University of Guelph)

The combined effects of nutrient loading and pesticide on the consumer-resources dynamics of aquatic organisms: Gustavo Betini (University of Guelph), Tal Avgar, John M. Fryxell (University of Guelph)

Morphometry and geography affect lake warming responses to climate change: Connor Warne (University of Guelph), Kevin McCann, Neil Rooney (University of Guelph)

Social influence on hormones and rapid color change in a Neotropical toad: Katrina Switzer (University of Windsor), Amy Newman, Dan Mennill, Stephanie Doucet (University of Guelph, University of Windsor)

Investigating the links between learning performance and foraging efficiency in bumblebees: Harry Rusnock, Nigel Raine (University of Guelph)

Do Canada Jay (Perisoreus canadensis) nestlings receive cached food from their parents? Evidence from isotopic spiking and food dye experiments; Rachael Derbyshire (University of Guelph, Trent University), Ryan Norris, Keith Hobson, Dan Strickland (University of Guelph)

Influence of resource abundance heterogeneity across a landscape on caching effort of individual North American red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus): Andrea Wishart (University of Saskatchewan), Stan Boutin, Andrew McAdam, Benjamin J Dantzer, Murray M Humphries, Jeffrey E Lane (University of Saskatchewan, University of Alberta, University of Guelph, University of Michigan, McGill University)

Climatic and demographic drivers of population decline throughout the annual cycle in a boreal, food caching passerine, the Grey Jay: Alex Sutton (University of Guelph), Dan Strickland, Nikole Freeman, Amy Newman, Ryan Norris (Algonquin Provincial Park, University of Guelph)

Early-life resources influence stress physiology and fledging behaviour in a winter-breeding bird: Nikole Freeman (University of Guelph) Alex Sutton, Dan Strickland, Amy Newman, Ryan Norris (Algonquin Provincial Park, University of Guelph)

Ecologically sustainable exploitation - A multispecies approach for fisheries management: Torbjorn Saterberg (University of Guelph; Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences), Anna Gardmark; Michele Casini (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences; Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences)

Trade-offs between productivity and profit in indiscriminate fisheries: Carling Bieg (University of Guelph), Kevin McCann, Vittoria Elliott, John Fryxell, Evan Fraser (University of Guelph, Conservation International, University of Guelph, University of Guelph)

Influence of aquaculture subsidies on spatial dynamics and structure of lake food webs: Marie Gutgesell, Kevin McCann (University of Guelph)

Fighting noise with dimensionality: how to efficiently trace origin of species? Kevin Cazelles (University of Guelph), Emelia Myles-Gonzalez, Tyler Zemlak, Kevin McCann (University of Guelph)

The mBRAVE platform: automated NGS/HTS data analysis: Sujeevan Ratnasingham (University of Guelph), Eddie Ma, Zak El Bastami, Dean Chan, Catherine Wei, Megan Milton, Paul Hebert (University of Guelph)

The many dimensions of barcode informatics: Megan Milton (University of Guelph), Eddie Ma, Zak El Bastami, Dean Chan, Catherine Wei, Megan Milton, Paul Hebert (University of Guelph)

Pollinator declines affect selection on floral traits in Impatiens capensis: Hazel Panique (University of Guelph), Christina M Caruso (University of Guelph)

The effect of nectar robbing on selection on floral traits of the native wildflower Impatiens capensis: Sarah McDonald (University of Guelph), Christina M. Caruso (University of Guelph)

Individual and colony level responses to resource demand: how individuals contribute to colony flexibility: Elizabeth Franklin (University of Guelph), Karen O'Riordan , Nigel Raine (Royal Hollaway University London, University of Guelph)

The benefits and costs of polyploidy in Arabidopsis thaliana: Evan Pacey (University of Guelph), Hafiz Maherali, Brian C. Husband (University of Guelph)

How predictable is the phenotypic response to WGD? An analysis of intraspecific variation and its genotypic and environmental determinants in Arabidopsis thaliana: Brian Husband (University of Guelph)

The immediate vs. evolutionary consequences of polyploidy on clonal reproduction: Wendy Van Drunen (University of Guelph), Brian Husband (University of Guelph)

Testing for phenotype-habitat matching in a phenotypically diverse sunfish population: Will Jarvis (University of Guelph), Beren W. Robinson (University of Guelph)

Beyond multimetric indices: A comparative appraisal of the Index of Biotic Integrity, Canonical Correspondence Analysis, and Structural Equation Modeling to assess ecological integrity: Virginia Capmourteres (University of Guelph), Neil Rooney, Madhur Anand (University of Guelph)

Spatial and social aspects of biostability in mosaic ecosystems: Kathryn Fair (University of Waterloo), Chris Bauch, Madhur Anand (University of Waterloo, University of Guelph)

eDNA detection of brumating Blanding's turtles in central Ontario: Tzitziki Loeza-Quintana (Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, University of Guelph), Steven Crookes, Scott Tarof, Mario Thomas, Robert Hanner (Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, University of Guelph; Azimuth environmental)

Ecological aspects of eDNA in a large mesocosm: Danielle Bourque (University of Guelph), Robert Hanner, John Fryxell (University of Guelph)

Ecosystem monitoring with DNA metabarcoding: Promises and challenges! Vasco Elbrecht (University of Guelph, Guelph), Edith Vamos, Kristian Meissner, Jukka Aroviita, Bianca Peinert, Dirk Steinke, Florian Leese (University of Guelph, Guelph, University of Duisburg-Essen, Finnish Environment Institute)


Poster presentations:

The effects of agricultural intensity on stream metabolism, Jamie Bain

A Comparison of Early Warning Signal Detection Methods in Pine Species, Morgan Chornoboy

Size deterministic age trend estimation in temperate hardwoods: Implications for long term growth trend estimation, Rachel Dietrich

Does the cuticle colour of insect species assemblages change across a neotropical elevation gradient? Lauren Janke

Investigating potential predictors of nitrogen and phosphorus in southern Ontario watersheds, Jocelyn Kelly

Bumble bee queens within field crops and natural areas, Kayla Mundy

An anti-sexual violence policy directed to individuals conducting field work, Julia Kilgour

Co-evolution between plant root morphology and mutualistic benefit from mycorrhizal fungi in Medicago truncatula, Jianfei Shao

Repeatability in Sea Lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) Risk-taking Behaviour, Julianna Van Adrichem

Does rove beetle (Staphlinidae) abundance change across a neotropical elevational gradient? Julianna Alaimo

Onsite early detection of aquatic invasive species using eDNA, Victoria Simone and Peiyuan Li

DNA Detection with a Hand-held Real Time PCR Field Tool - Implications and Advantages in the World of eDNA, McKenna Tosh