Department: Integrative Biology

Robert Hanner

Molecular biodiversity research and highly qualified personnel training are lab focal points. Using field and lab-based methods together with bioinformatic tools and statistical modelling approaches, we study the patterns and drivers of species habitat occupancy, community assembly and food web ecology. This information is central to addressing a variety of questions pertaining to biodiversity conservation, environmental effects monitoring and food security. We also contribute to the development of standard methods and best practices necessary to enhance receptor uptake capacity for a variety of partners including indigenous peoples, industry, governmental as well as non-governmental organizations, and other citizen science initiatives.

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John Fryxell

Recent work has involved herbivores and carnivores movement ecology in Serengeti, woodland caribou, wolves, and moose in northern Ontario, and both wild and Norwegian reindeer. We conduct detailed field and experimental studies of both behavioural and demographic responses to landscape heterogeneity and compare these with theoretical models. As part of the Food from Thought research program, we are also evaluating the impact of anthropogenic stressors (nutrient additions due to fertilizer run-off, pesticide application, and temperature increase due to global climate change) on phytoplankton and zooplankton populations in massive aquatic mesocosms and the effect of marginal land restoration (prairies, wetlands, and secondary forest) on arthropod biodiversity using DNA meta-barcoding.

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Sarah Alderman

Current projects include:
- Mechanistic and functional connections between stress and adult neurogenesis in fish
- Effects of aquatic pollutants on fish physiology, morphology, and performance
- Neuroanatomy and regenerative capacity of the hagfish brain
- Quantitative proteomics as a tool for biomarker discovery and novel insights into animal physiology

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Jinzhong Fu

My recent research includes detecting genetic and phenotypic variations of a common toad (Bufo gargarizans) along elevational gradients, establishing associations between them, and understanding how these variations may have contributed to the adaptation process. I am also studying the Phrynocephalus lizards, particularly their signal evolution, special adaptation to high-elevation environment (5000m), and population genetics and speciation. I also plan to return to one of my favorite research topics, the evolution of unisexuality in the Caucasian rock lizards (Darevskia).

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Paul Hebert

Morphological studies have provided an outline of biodiversity, but are incapable of surveying, managing and protecting it on a planetary scale. By exploiting two technologies that are gaining power exponentially – DNA sequencing and computational capacity – my research promises an ever-accelerating capacity to monitor and know life. In particular, I aim to automate species identification and discovery, and to employ this capacity to answer longstanding scientific questions. Automation is possible because sequence diversity in short, standardized gene regions (DNA barcodes) enables fast, cheap, and accurate species discrimination. New instruments can inexpensively gather millions of DNA sequences, enabling surveys of organismal diversity at speeds and scales that have been impossible.

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Andrew Macdougall

Our main projects center on ecosystem services on Ontario farm landscapes, climate change in the Swedish High-arctic, and drivers of diversity decline in savannas of western North America

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Beren Robinson

We address questions about how biodiversity arises in single populations of fishes composed of alternate ecotypes that live in different lake habitats. We study the factors that regulate the formation of specialized ecotypes and have expanded theory by evaluating the role of phenotypic plasticity in adaptive divergence. Experience with fish resource polymorphism since 1993 uniquely positions us to investigate how different ecotypes evolve and may be converted into new species. We also study the effects of commercial fishing on natural populations. This work is important because diversity within populations is rarely considered in the contexts of ecological function, management and conservation, or its capacity to buffer populations from adverse effects of environmental change.

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Christina Marie Caruso

Most of our current research focuses on predicting how plants will evolve in response to human-induced changes in the environment, particularly declines in pollinator populations.

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Andreas Heyland

Dr. Heyland�s laboratory uses novel functional genomics approaches to study the endocrine and neuroendocrine systems of aquatic invertebrates. Specifically he investigates the function and evolution of hormonal and neurotransmitter signaling systems in the regulation of development and metamorphosis. His research includes Evolutionary development studies of marine invertebrate metamorphosis, eco-toxicogenomic approached to understand endocrine disruption in aquatic ecosystems and water remediation technologies. These projects are integrated with several national and international collaborations ranging form basic scientific work to industry partnerships.

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Glen Van Der Kraak

My research focuses on the reproductive physiology of fish. We study which hormones affect ovarian follicle development and if there are hallmark responses (changes in hormone biosynthesis, receptor abundance, recruitment of downstream activators) that determine whether an ovarian follicle is destined to mature and ovulate. This research is fundamental to defining spawning success which is a prime measure of reproductive fitness and provides the toolbox that we use to examine the mechanisms by which endocrine disrupting compounds (pharmaceuticals; ammonia) and complex environmental effluents (municipal waste water, pulp mills; oils sands process affected water) affect ovarian physiology.

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Cortland Griswold

A current focus of our coalescent-based work is the development of models to support inferring historical processes that shape an ecological community, from genes to ecosystem processes. These models have applications across the domains of life, from microbial communities to grasslands. A corollary to this work is theory in support of the interpretation of metagenomic data. In the area of polyploid population genetics, our work is currently focusing on models of multilocus selection, with potential application to understanding the evolution of recombination rates and diploidization.

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Teresa Crease

Research in the Crease lab uses freshwater crustaceans in the genus Daphnia as a model organism to study evolution of the ribosomal (r)DNA multigene family, and of the DNA transposon, Pokey, which inserts in a specific region of the Daphnia rDNA repeat as well as other genomic locations. Current projects involve comparing rates of evolution in ribosomal proteins that bind to conserved and variable regions of rRNA genes, determining the impact of breeding system (cyclic or obligate parthenogenesis) on the evolution of rDNA and Pokey transposons, determining the relationship between rDNA copy number and Pokey distribution, and measuring rates of Pokey transposition inside and outside of rDNA.

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Brian Husband

My research program investigates the ecological and evolutionary processes operating in plant populations, both wild and domesticated. Much of our work is conducted through the lens of plant reproductive systems, which control the quantity and quality of sperm and eggs, patterns of mating, and ultimately the transmission of genetic variation from one generation to the next. Current research projects include: 1) mating system variation and evolution, 2) polyploid speciation, 3) genetic and phenotypic consequences of whole genome duplication; 4) biology of small populations, and 5) impacts of hybridization between introduced species and endangered congeners. We work on a variety of study systems, including Arabidopsis, apple, strawberry, fireweed, American chestnut, and mulberry.

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Karl Cottenie

In the next 5 years, I will shift my research strategy by consolidating 4 streams of my past research: temporal dynamics, host-symbiont interactions, small mammal metacommunity dynamics, and DNA-based species identification and bioinformatics. I will focus on a study system that combines my past strengths in metacommunity ecology at multiple scales, but will apply them to a novel system: microbial metacommunities nested within a matrix of metacommunity of different host species.

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Elizabeth Boulding

In eastern Canada, the lumpfish and a North American wrasse, the cunner, significantly reduce adult lice densities on salmon living in marine sea cages. My group's work has the following objectives: 1) determine the best size-class of cunners to use in commercial sea cages; 2) examine variation in lice-cleaning performance among cunners and among lumpfish from different stocks; 3) assess heritable variation in lice eating behaviour; 4) Conduct lice challenges of pedigreed salmon with and without the lice cleaner fish present.
3) Increased sea surface temperatures have allowed larval shore crab to invade western Canadian shores and prey on indigenous snail species. We are identifying genomic changes correlated with adaptation to predators in a 25 year field experiment near Bamfield, BC.

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Georgia Mason

Our research typically involves assessing animals' preferences for and responses to 'enriched' housing conditions that are more complex and naturalistic than the standard norms; investigating abnormal behaviours like stereotypic pacing; validating potential welfare indicators (e.g. facial expressions), and we also analyse multi-species datasets to looks for species-level welfare risk and protective factors. We have worked or are working with mink, rats, mice, rhesus monkeys and zebra fish; and with large datasets from elephants, Carnivora, parrots and lemurs.

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Todd Gillis

Climate change,Environmental health,Animal biology,Human health and performance,Mechanisms of disease

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