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People

  1. Staff
  2. Postdoctoral Fellows
  3. Ph.D. Students
  4. M.Sc. Students
  5. Undergrad Thesis Students
  6. Undergrad Project Students
  7. Research Assistants
  8. Volunteers

See also:   Past Members    Group Photos

Staff

Sigal Balshine

Sigal's research interests are centered on evolutionary behavioural ecology with a special focus on sociality, breeding system evolution and anthropogenic impacts on behaviour. Sigal received her B.Sc. in Zoology from the University of Toronto, a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge and conducted post-doctoral research at Tel Aviv University, the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Ethology in Vienna and the University of East Anglia in Norwich.  Sigal joined the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour in 2000 and was granted tenure in 2006 and full professor status in 2011. She is also an associate member of the Department of Biology at McMaster University and is a member of the Animal Behaviour Society and the International Society for Behavioural Ecology.

Melissa Muzzatti

Melissa Muzzatti is an Honours Graduate of the Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behaviour (PNB) at McMaster. Melissa is currently working as the Lab Manager for ABEL, previously a Research Assistant and a Project Student of the lab. Melissa is responsible for the general maintenance and organization of the lab and helping wherever it is needed!

Postdoctoral Fellows

Andy Turko

Andy is broadly interested in why and how some fishes can survive in extreme environments, while others are sensitive to even minimal habitat disturbance. After studying some incredibly resilient killifishes for his PhD work, Andy is now studying the behavioural and physiological responses to environmental disturbance in a sensitive and endangered fish, the redside dace. This work is part of a large collaborative effort with Trevor Pitcher (University of Windsor) and Graham Scott (McMaster University) to improve conservation outcomes for endangered Canadian fishes.

Ph.D. Students

Adrienne McLean

Adrienne Joined ABEL in September 2016.   Her PhD work will focus on the role of behaviour in the various stages of a species invasion. She is studying how behaviour can impacts invasion success, and can be most effectively used to inform management, assessment, and reproduction of invasive species.   Her research is based on the invasive round goby, in Hamilton Harbour, at the western end of Lake Ontario, and in tributaries leading into Lake Ontario.

 

Adrienne received her B.Sc. in Marine and Freshwater Biology from the University of Guelph, where she worked with Dr. Beren Robinson testing direct and indirect effects of invasive spiny water flea on walleye. She also received her M.Sc. from the University of Guelph in Integrative Biology with Dr. Robert McLaughlin where she tested behavioural explanations for low trapping success of a parasitic invasive fish species, the sea lamprey.

Hossein Mehdi

Hossein joined ABEL in September 2017. He studies the impacts of wastewater effluent contamination in the Hamilton Harbour on the physiological and behavioural responses in round goby and other freshwater fishes. He received his MSc in Biology (Water) from the University of Waterloo where he worked with Dr. Paul Craig studying the impacts of multiple stressors on energetics and stress response in fishes using lab and field approaches.  Earlier, he received his BSc in Biology at the University of Windsor where he completed an Honour’s Thesis project with Dr. Christina Semeniuk investigating Atlantic salmon behavioural plasticity in predation-sensitive context.

M.Sc. Students

Nick Brown

Having rounded off a study of antipredator behaviour in sea cucumbers for his undergraduate thesis, Nick decided to skip a few rungs on the taxonomic ladder and join the midshipman project at ABEL. Unlike many students in the lab, he has a degree in psychology, and is very interested in field-based behavioural experiments. Nick will work closely with the Jaunes lab at UVic to study the midshipman's social calling environment, and how it influences mate choice and reproductive success. Outside of his academic life, Nick is an avid rock climber. After graduating with a B.Sc. from Memorial University in Newfoundland, he dedicated 6 months of his life to live in a 1980's campervan and climb in fantastic destinations across North America.

Matthew Salena

Matthew joined ABEL in May of 2018 to help with the ongoing population monitoring of the round goby in Hamilton Harbour. In September, he will begin research on social cognition in cichlid fish using comparative analyses between cichlid species. Matthew recently completed his B.Sc. in Biology and Environmental Sciences with a minor in Sustainability from McMaster University. In his senior year, Matthew worked on a research project within the department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, at McMaster, where he furthered the development of aptamer-based biosensors for the detection of various species of pathogenic bacteria.

Caitlyn Synyshyn

Caitlyn joined ABEL in May of 2018 to help with various lab projects and the ongoing population monitoring of the round goby in Hamilton Harbour. In September, she will begin research on round goby characteristics in an invasion front verses established areas. Caitlyn completed her B.Sc in Biology at Queen’s University. She completed her undergraduate research thesis with Dr. Bruce Tufts examining the historical and seasonal changes in the Bay of Quinte fish community. Caitlyn is interested in the conservation and management of fish communities in Ontario, particularly in the Great Lakes. Outside of the lab, she just can’t get enough fish as she has her own little half-moon male betta named Saru and three neon tetras.

Undergrad Thesis Students

Alyssa Faiczak

Alyssa is a fourth year Biology Physiology student who joined the lab in the fall of 2019 as an undergraduate thesis student. She is researching the habitat preferences of Redside Dace, a beautiful but highly endangered fish native to southern Ontario, to help ensure that ongoing habitat restoration activities achieve the maximum conservation benefit.

Alexandra Green-Pucella

Alex is a fourth year Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour student who joined the lab in the summer of 2019 as an undergraduate thesis student. Her research examines behavioural differences between guarder and sneaker males in the round goby.

Markelle Morphet

Markelle is a third year project student in Life Science - Specialization in Origins of Disease who joined the lab in January 2019. Last year she studied the effects of wastewater effluent contamination in Hamilton Harbour on zooplankton populations. This coming summer and academic semester, Markelle will be an ABEL thesis student and will be examining how exposure to wastewater influences the behaviour and physiology of fathead minnows. In her spare time she enjoys exploring Ontario’s nature hot spots.

Julie Scholtz

Julie is a fourth year Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour student who joined ABEL in April 2019. She is researching the round goby, an invasive fish species in the Great Lakes. She is investigating if this species exhibits trapping bias, which may have implications on population size estimates. 

Undergrad Project Students

Chelsea Aristone

Chelsea is a second year student in the Honours Integrated Science Program at Mcmaster University. She joined ABEL in May of 2019 Her research at ABEL focuses on the effect of wastewater effluant on Zooplankton populations within Hamilton Harbour. 

Megan Cyr

Megan is a second year BioPsych student who joined the lab in January 2020. She works with benthic invertebrate samples collected from sites that vary in distance to wastewater treatment plant effluent outfalls in Hamilton Harbour. She is responsible for the identification, classification, and enumeration of zooplankton. 

Lucas Eckert

 Lucas  is just finishing his second year of Integrated Science with a concentration in Biology. This is his first year in ABEL and he is involved with looking at benthic invertebrate community dynamics across a wastewater gradient.

Xiang-Xiang Fang

Xiang Xiang is working on cichlid navigation capacity with MSc student Matt Salena.  She was a volunteer last year and this year is completing a QQ3 project in ABEL.  Welcome back Xiang Xiang.

Dominic Haas

Dominic is a second year student in the Bachelor of Health Sciences program. He joined the lab in May 2019 helping out with the population monitoring of round gobies. He will continue on this project come the fall of 2019.

Jonathan Hamilton

Jonathan Hamilton is a fourth year student, majoring in Biology and Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour. Jonathan first joined the lab in January of 2019 and is still with us in 2020 as a work-study student. He works with benthic macro-invertebrate samples, collected from sites that vary in distance to wastewater treatment plant effluent outfalls in Hamilton Harbour.

sophia hucman

Sophia is a second year BioPsych student who joined ABEL in January 2019 as a 2QQ3 project student. She works with benthic macro-invertebrate samples collected from sites that vary in distance to wastewater treatment plant effluent outfalls in Hamilton Harbour. She is responsible for Identification, classification, and enumeration of zooplankton.

Amy Kalbfeisch

Amy is a fourth year Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour student who joined ABEL in September 2019. She is working alongside Caity to help with the ongoing population monitoring of the round goby in Hamilton Harbour.”

Brittany Mascarenhas


Brittany is in her third year of Integrated Science, concentrated in Biology. She is a volunteer who joined the lab in September of 2019. Her role involves caring for the gobies and doing dissections! In her free time, she likes to play guitar, do art, and cuddle her dog Snowball

Samuel Matthew

Samuel is a 3rd year PNB Mental Health student that joined the lab in January of 2019. In his first year with the lab he helped Nick Brown score videos for the Midshipman project. Returning to the lab, he is now a member of the round goby population monitoring team, lead by Masters student Caity Synyshyn

Breanna Nelson

Breanna is a third year student in Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour. She joined ABEL in the summer/fall of 2019. She is currently working with Nick Brown, MSc, on the impact social environments have on mate choice and reproductive success in midshipman fish. 

Anna-Lisa Nguyen

Anna-Lisa is a first year student in the Health Sciences program. She joined ABEL in September 2018 as a volunteer and when not in the lab, can be found weightlifting at the Pulse!

Meghan Pepler

Meghan is a fifth year Molecular Biology and Genetics Co-op student. She is currently working in the Elliot Lab at McMaster to identify new anti-microbial compounds produced by Streptomyces. Recently, she has also taken on a collaboration with ABEL to better understand the microbial community present on Plainfin midshipman eggs. Outside of the lab, Meghan is a hot yoga enthusiast, an avid cyclist, and a keeper of bees."

Olivia Weller

Olivia is a fourth-year Biology (Physiology) student minoring in psychology. She joined ABEL in September 2019 and will be doing her senior project with Matt Salena exploring social cooperation in cichlids.

Research Assistants

Avani Pathak

Avani is a 3rd year BioPsych student that joined the lab in April 2018. She is completing a project that explores the relationship between liver investment and life history traits. She also helps out with the population monitoring of round gobies in Hamilton Harbour and is responsible for the lab maintenance and upkeep.

Angad Singh

Angad is a third year student in the Health Sciences program and a summer USRA student in the lab. He is studying spatial navigation and sociality in several species of cichlid fish to develop a better understanding of social cognition.

Volunteers

Amanda Abrams

Amanda is a fourth year Biology student who joined the lab in the summer of 2019 as a volunteer with the midshipman project at ABEL.

Angela Pollinzi

Angela is a third year Integrated Science student working towards a concentration in biochemistry. She joined the lab as a volunteer in September of 2019 and is helping out with data entry for the population monitoring project.