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Research Opportunities

The Aquatic Behavioural Ecology Lab (ABEL) is based at McMaster University’s Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour. ABEL offers a stimulating place for the study of the impacts of evolution and ecology on behaviour. The research team consists of a talented and dynamic group of scientists working in a well equipped, supportive research environment. If you enjoy critical analysis and intellectual excitement this is the place for you. Students wanting to join our lab group should have interests in ecology, evolution, and most of all behaviour.  If the ABEL looks like the place for you, please to explain your research interests. Also please send along an up to date CV, and a transcript. 

More Specific Information For:

Undergraduate Students

Graduate Students

Postdoctoral Fellows



There are lots of undergraduate research opportunities in ABEL. Typically, I supervise 2-3 undergraduate thesis students each year as well as 1-2 undergraduate summer research assistants, and many project students (PNB 2QQ3, 3QQ3, 4QQ3 and their equivalents). There are also volunteer positions in the lab.

ABEL undergraduate students come from different programs including: BioPsych, Honours Psychology, Honours Biology, Integrative Science, Arts & Science and the Life Science programs. I encourage students to start working in the lab in their second or even their first year, but anyone at any stage is welcome if the fit works. I prefer taking students who are willing to commit multiple semesters or years towards a research project. Note, that if you are keen to join ABEL, please with a CV and transcript as early in the school year as possible (for a position in the following year). We hold interviews for lab positions in February for both summer positions and for research positions for the next academic year. 

Undergraduate Funding:

There are awards available for undergraduates who have a high GPA, and are interested in doing research full time in the summer. I encourage you to talk to me about how to apply for these research awards (see the NSERC site, go to "Information for Students and Fellows" look for information on the NSERC summer USRA award, or an NSERC Industrial USRA award).


Graduate Students

I am always on the lookout for bright, motivated graduate students. You can choose to develop your own project or do research on one of my ongoing projects. I encourage all of my students to mix field studies (where you get ecological valid conditions) with the rigor of controlled laboratory experiments. My students are also expected to use different laboratory techniques and adopt different levels of analysis to shed light on their particular research problem.

The soft deadline for applying for a graduate position in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour is December 15th although promising late applications will also be considered. The Department of Biology has no such deadline and accepts students on a rolling basis. If you are interested in working with me, get in touch to talk to about the application process. The earlier you get in touch, the better. Remember that many scholarship deadlines are in the early autumn and awards are announced in April or May.

M.Sc. Students

Masters students can apply through Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour’s M.Sc. Program (1 or 2 years) or through the Biology’s M.Sc. Program (2 years).

PhD Students

I am happy to share my research ideas and crazy research dreams with you and then help you formulate a solid yet innovative Ph.D. research proposal based on our shared research interests and your specific talents.


Graduate funding is available through a variety of sources and external funding is not required to join ABEL. Graduate students in my lab are guaranteed a competitive funding package upon admission, but this funding can be significantly supplemented through external scholarships. Students are strongly encouraged to apply for external fellowship funds if they are eligible. See the NSERC (go to "Information for Students and Fellows") and from OGS web pages for more information about Graduate Student scholarships. If you are not familiar with these programs, please get in touch as I can shed light on the application process.



I am very keen to attract postdoctoral researchers in evolutionary behavioural ecology. I am happy to have people working on a variety of questions, and am willing to write grants to fund postdoctoral research at McMaster. Funding for a postdoctoral position at McMaster can be obtained through a number of routes:

Excellent postdoctoral fellowships are available to qualified candidates from any country from the Government of Canada. See Banting fellowships.

If you are a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant then you are strongly encouraged to apply for an NSERC Postdoctoral fellowship.

In years that it is available, you can apply for the E.B. Eastburn Postdoctoral Fellowship.

The Human Frontier Science Program offers long term and cross disciplinary fellowships. The Life Sciences Research Foundation offers fellowships in all areas of the life sciences.

US citizens can apply for a Fulbright Scholar Award.

Anyone can apply for a Branco Weiss fellowship.

Citizens in the UK or other Commonwealth countries can apply for a Research Fellowship from the Royal Commision for the Exhibition of 1851. The Government of Canada also has available The Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Program.

If you are interested in working partly in an industrial setting, fellowships from MITACS may be of interest. If you are computationally oriented then it may be possible to obtain postdoctoral funding through SHARC-Net.