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In completing my B.Sc. in Zoology at the U of Guelph, I realized that my main research interests are in how the world around us is affected by abiotic changes. This sparked my interest in two broad fields- entomology and ecology. In all of my research, I aim to study how insect populations and communities may be affected by our current climate crisis. These passions have directed me to work in some amazing labs in Integrative Biology, including those of Dr. Robert Hanner, Dr. M. Alex Smith, Dr. Shoshanah Jacobs, and Dr. Andrew MacDougall.
In 2018, I completed my undergraduate thesis in the Smith lab on comparing the lightness and body length of two biodiverse, cryptic insect groups across a neotropical elevational gradient. I was able to continue that research after my undergraduate where I added in a temporal element to this project and expanded my skills with both bioinformatics and phylogenetics.
I currently work as a lab technician in the Hanner lab where in collaboration with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, I DNA barcode a genus of tiny, pesky flies called Culicoides. These are important vectors of arboviruses that are detrimental to livestock populations worldwide and their distributions are changing and expanding in our climate crisis.
In my position as Research Coordinator, I clean, organize, and manage land use and aquatic monitoring data (water chemistry, fish and benthic invertebrate species data, etc) 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 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 (email@example.com).
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.