Highly Qualified Personnel

Sunci Avlijas, PhD student

Sunci has 14 years of experience working with freshwater fishes in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River basin. She worked for Fisheries and Oceans Canada as an aquatic biologist prior to arriving at McGill to complete her MSc research on an invasive mysid shrimp in the St Lawrence River. She was subsequently employed as a biologist studying fish habitat at DFO, before returning to McGill for a doctoral thesis (co-supervised by Anthony Ricciardi and Nick Mandrak) that examines the potential impacts of a globally invasive fish and an emerging threat to the Great Lakes: Eurasian Tench, Tinca tinca (Click here for more information about this species).


Jennifer Bontje, MSc student


Jennifer is a Masters student at the University of Toronto in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, supervised by Don Jackson and Andrew Drake. She previously worked with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources radio collaring wolves in Algonquin Park as a part of their Wildlife Research Monitoring Group.  During her undergraduate thesis in Biology-Geography at Trent University she worked on a method to quantify the extent of unrecorded tile drainage in agricultural fields.



Ryland Corchis-Scott, MSc student


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Chris Farrow, PhD student

Chris is a PhD student at the University of Guelph, working under the supervision of Josef Ackerman. His research focuses on modelling the transport and settlement of juvenile unionid mussels under different hydrodynamic conditions. His MSc thesis examined the effects of riverine algal transport and fertilization on nearshore phytoplankton communities in Georgian Bay.



Victor Fung, MSc student

Victor is a MSc student at the University of Guelph Integrative Biology department under the supervision of Josef Ackerman. His research examines the interstitial algal composition of riverbeds that juvenile mussels inhabit and how algal flux affects juvenile unionid mussel feeding. Victor has a BSc in Marine and Freshwater Biology. Before returning to research, he worked as an educator at a forestry company and an oyster farmer by the Willapa Bay.



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Alexandra Leclair, MSc student


Alexandra is an MSc student, under the supervision of Nicholas Mandrak. Her research aims to better understand the physiological limits of Redside Dace and assess the species’ viability in the face of current climate-change projections.





Kirsten Luck, MSc student


Kirsten is a MSc student at the University of Guelph in Integrative Biology under the supervision of Josef Ackerman. She is investigating the effects of multiple stressors, namely flow, temperature and turbidity, on the feeding of at-risk freshwater mussels. The goal is to understand the effects of these environmental stressors and apply this understanding toward conservation practices.






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Julian Lum, MSc student

Julian is an MSc student in Integrative Biology Department at the University of Guelph under the supervision of Josef Ackerman. His research aims to help with the ongoing characterization of suitable habitat for the juvenile life stage of unionid mussels and, in doing so, aid the conservation and recovery of these imperiled animals. Julian completed his Honours Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science, majoring in Ecology at the University of Guelph.




Taylor MacLeod, MSc student

Taylor is an MSc student at the University of Alberta under the supervision of Mark Poesch. Her research focus is on the effect of flow augmentation on vital rates in Mountain Sucker (Catostomus platyrhynchus), a native species at risk. Taylor has a BSc from the University of Calgary, where she conducted undergraduate research on the temperature-mediated effects on shoaling behaviour in juvenile Threespine Stickleback (Gasterostues aculeatus) at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre.




Geoffrey Marselli, MSc student


Geoffrey is an MSc student at Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, under the co-supervision of Marco A. Rodríguez and Nick Mandrak.




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Colby Nolan, MSc student


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Lindsay Potts, MSc student

Lindsay is an MSc student at McGill University, co-supervised by Nicholas Mandrak and Lauren Chapman.





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Andrew Turko, PDF


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Nichelle Van Tassel, PhD.student


Nichelle is a Ph.D. student in the Earth and Ecosystem Science program at Central Michigan University.  Nichelle’s Ph.D. research will focus on the DFO SAR-partnership project.  Nichelle has a BS and MS from the University of West Florida.






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Katie Zinn, MSc student

Katie Zinn, MSc student (also pictured: Alyssa Nonis, field assistant)

Katie Zinn is an MSc student in the UBC Dept. of Zoology who is the main biologist working on this project. She is being co-supervised by Jordan Rosenfeld (BC Ministry of Environment) and Eric Taylor (UBC Dept. of Zoology).  Katie has a BSc in Natural Resource Management and has previously worked as a firefighter in the BC interior, and was a UBC Varsity hockey player throughout her undergraduate degree.  Katie is an avid fly fisherman with broad interests in conservation, and a rare example of a BC resident who actually grew up here (Coquitlam and Sechelt).



Alan Dextrase – Biodiversity Conservation Policy Advisor, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Peterborough, Ontario

Jürgen Geist – Professor, Aquatic Systems Biology Unit, Department of Ecology and Ecosystem Management, Technical University of Munich, Germany

Anna George – Vice President of Conservation Science and Education, Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Louise de Mestral Bezanson – Biologist, Salmon Population Geneticist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

Todd Morris – Research Scientist, Great Lakes Laboratory for Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Burlington, Ontario

Patrick O’Reilly – Research Scientist, Salmon Population Geneticist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

Mike Pearson – Freshwater Species at Risk an Habitat Restoration expert, Pearson Ecological