Collaborative multi-species population monitoring of fishes in northern environments, postdoc
Together with the Cree Nation of Mistissini and Niskamoon Corporation, I am using genomics, life-history and Traditional Ecological Knowledge to monitor walleye, northern pike, brook trout and lake trout populations in Mistassini Lake, Quebec.
Processes that shape biodiversity, PhD
Population divergence, changes in allele frequency or mean phenotype between populations of the same species, occurs due to a plethora of factors. These include any or all of, mutation, migration, selection and drift. In my PhD thesis, I characterized the origins, patterns and maintenance of genetic diversity in a putatively young threespine stickleback radiation in southwest Alaska. My project was multi-faceted, as most PhD projects are, and fell into roughly three major parts. 1) Determining the colonization history, population structure, and relative influences of geography and migration on that structure. 2) Determining the influence of migration on genomic architecture. 3) Using common garden experiments to determine whether phenotypic divergence had a genetic basis. My field sites were in and around the spectacular Katmai National Park and Preserve and Aniakchak National Monument, Alaska, and I completed my work in collaboration with the US National Park Service in King Salmon, Alaska.
Understanding resource consumption and demands: quantitative diet analysis using faecal matter, MSc
Accurate estimates of the amount of prey consumed by predators are important for understanding trophic interactions, and also for understanding the demands of an ecosystem on a resource. However, estimates are hard to obtain for predators that spend much of their time foraging under water. Various non-invasive diet analysis techniques are being investigated to address this problem, and during my MSc I worked on one of these. In Drs. Andrew Trites (Marine Mammal Research Unit) and Trish Schultes’ labs (Department of Zoology) at the University of British Columbia (UBC), I validated a method for determining the relative proportion of prey species in the diets of Steller sea lions using DNA extracted from faecal matter.
Determining the pathway of retinoblastoma tumor development, BSc and afterward
Retinoblastoma is a childhood eye cancer that affects ~1 in every 15 000 live births in Canada. In Dr. Brenda Gallie’s labs and under the supervision of Drs. Timothy Corson and Brenda Gallie at the U of Toronto, OCI/PMH/UHN, I investigated the genomic changes involved in the development of retinoblastoma tumors.