Master’s Student, Biology
I became interested in how the microscopic world affects an ecosystem during my B.Sc. (Hons) at the University of Guelph where I majored in biological science with a minor in microbiology. With this focus in mind, I strengthened my research skills through employment at Fisheries and Ocean Canada, University of Guelph – Laboratory Services Division and the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change; I am now applying these skills to understanding the impacts on oil on biological communities. I am broadly interested in understanding how freshwater ecosystems respond to complex anthropogenic disturbances. Currently, the transport of diluted bitumen (dilbit), a heavy crude oil produced from the Canadian oil sands region, poses unique challenges and relatively unknown threats to aquatic ecosystems should a spill occur. Phytoplankton and microbes, which are the base of the food web, represent a critical component of an aquatic ecosystem but a gap exists in our understanding how these organisms respond to dilbit. For my M.Sc., I will be investigating how a dilbit spill affects the structure and function of phytoplankton and microbial communities within a boreal lake at the Institute of Sustainable Development – Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA).