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Past Members

  1. Past Post-Doctoral Fellows
  2. Past Ph.D Students
  3. Past Masters Students
  4. Past Undergraduate Thesis Students
  5. Past NSERC Undergraduate Summer Research Award (USRA)s
  6. Past Undergraduate Project Students
  7. Past High School Co-Op Students
  8. Past Research Assistants
  9. Past Undergraduate Volunteers
  10. Past Volunteers

See also:   Past Members    Group Photos

Past Post-Doctoral Fellows

Connie (Constance) O'Connor

  • Conservation Scientist position
  • Wildlife Conservation Society, Canada
  • Leading the Northern Boreal Freshwater Program

Connie studies behavioural and physiological ecology. Her integrative research at McMaster University combines genomic, physiological, and behavioural tools to understand the evolution of social behaviour in cichlid fishes, and to understand how social behaviour is influenced by environmental perturbations. Connie received her B.Sc. from McGill University, where she studied cichlid gill morphology in hypoxic environments. She completed her Ph.D. at Carleton University, with Dr. Steve Cooke, and was co-supervised by Dr. Katie Gilmour.  She investigated how individual variation in physiology and behaviour relates to fitness and population-level processes in centrarchid fishes. Connie joined the Balshine lab as an E.B. Eastburn postdoctoral fellow in 2011, and has been an NSERC postdoctoral fellow since 2013.  Connie is co-mentored by Dr. Nadia Aubin-Horth.

Member: 2011-2014

For more information, please visit Connie's website.

Past Ph.D Students

Eric Bressler, Dr.

  • Professor of Psychology
  • Westfield State University

Past Interests/ Research: Eric's research at ABEL focused on testing predictions from sexual selection theory, as well as the psychology of humor and human courtship.His areas of expertise include: evolutionary psychology, animal behavior, mate choice, and humor

Current Position: Dr. Bressler is now a professor of psychology at Westfield State University in Massachusetts. He teaches Comparative Psychology, Learning, Research Methods, Introduction to Psychology and Psychology of Film.




Karen Cogliati, Dr.

  • Project Manager and Postdoctoral research associate at Oregon State University

Past Interests: Karen's work at ABEL focused on the evolution of alternative reproductive tactics, parentage analyses, and ecological correlates of parental care and reproduction in the plainfin midshipman fish.

Current Position: Karen currently manages a project rearing Chinook salmon and steelhead trout from eggs to juveniles using altered hatchery protocols to produce fish that possess phenotypic traits that emulate their wild counterparts for outside researchers. This is a large federally funded project in the USA, which she coordinates and collaborates closely with state and federal researchers from several agencies (e.g. US Army Corps of Engineers, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, US Geological Survey, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) and other national and international academic institutions who use their reared fish for research. As the project manager,  she is also responsible for writing funding and research proposals, quarterly and annual reports, directing the areas of research, analyzing and managing data, preparing manuscripts, and presenting findings.

Julie Desjardins, Dr.

  • Product Marketing Manager at Athos

Past Research: At ABEL, Julie focused on the behavioural ecology and endocrinology of cooperative breeding and parental care in the cichlid, Neolamprologus pulcher.

Current Position: After completing her post-doc at Stanford University on the neurobiological factors involved in decision-making, Dr. Desjardins took on a teaching role in the Thinking Matters series of courses. She then worked as a lead researcher at Athos, a Silicon Valley start-up that focuses on revolutionary athlete performance technology. She was promoted to Product Marketing Manager and now leads a marketing team, as well as writing articles and continuing to nurture her passion for understanding how we make decisions. 

Cody Dey, Dr.

  • Post-Doctoral Fellow for Environmental Research
  • University of Windsor
  • Semeniuk Lab of Predictive Ecology

Past Research: Cody studied dominance, communication and social structure in cooperatively breeding birds and fishes. He received his BSc. from the University of Ottawa where he worked with Drs. Steve Cooke and Katie Gilmour on parental care behaviour in smallmouth bass. He also did research on the reproductive skew, communication, and sociality in the cooperatively breeding Pukeko bird, Purphyrio purphyrio. He studied how communication systems and intersexual conflict influence social networks, dominance, hierarchies and reproductive sharing in this species.

Current Position: Currently, Dr. Dey is a Liber Ero Postdoctoral Fellow at the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research at the University of Windsor. His research uses quantitative approaches to understand the effect of changing environments on animal behaviour and population dynamics. He also conducts ecological field studies and has worked in New Zealand, Ontario, British Columbia and the Canadian Arctic. His research on climate change, predator-prey interactions, reproductive endocrinology, the evolution of ornamentation, and social behaviour, has been published in leading journals such as Nature, Proceedings of the Royal Society, Global Change Biology and Nature Ecology & Evolution. He is the editor of the angling science blog The Lab and Stream and also shares his own scientific results through videography.

John Fitzpatrick, Dr.

  • Assistant Professor of Zoology
  • Stockholm University

Past Research: At ABEL, Dr. Fitzpatrick studied sperm competition in fish. He was also involved in field research aimed at investigating the effects of ecological factors on the social dynamics in various groups of the cichlid species, Neolamprologus pulcher. He also investigated species introductions and extinctions, which focused specifically on the round goby, Neogobius melanostomus, an invasive species in the Canadian Great Lakes.

Current Position: Dr. Fitzpatrick was an Honorary Lecturer in Animal Evolution and a member of the Computational and Evolutionary Biology research group within the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Manchester.

     He is now an Assistant Professor of Zoology at Stockholm University in Sweden, where he also oversees his own research lab. Dr. Fitzpatrick is an evolutionary biologist who specializes in studying sexual selection and the evolution of reproductive behaviours and traits. Research in his lab takes an interdisciplinary approach and investigates male-male competition before and after mating, the evolution of sexual weapons, female mate choice, trade-offs and co-evolutionary dynamics.

Julie Marentette, Dr.

  • Science Advisor - Fish Population Science at Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Previous Research: At ABEL, Julie studied sex, contamination, and movement in the round goby, Neogobius melanostomus.

Current Position: Dr. Marentette now works as a science advisor for Fisheries and Oceans Canada in Ottawa, Ontario. She is a fisheries biologist with over ten years' experience in both government (science, regulation and policy implementation) and academic sectors. Her expertise encompasses fisheries and habitat management, ecotoxicology and behavioural ecology of fish in multiple regions of Canada. She has written or co-authored >20 peer-reviewed publications on various aspects of fish biology and given >25 presentations at provincial, national and international scientific conferences since 2006.

Erin McCallum, Dr.

  • Post-Doctorate Associate
  • Department of Ecology, Environment, and Geoscience
  • Umeå University

Past Research: Erin became part of the lab in September 2011 and studied how pharmaceutical compounds found in treated wastewater affect aggressive, social, and exploratory behaviours in the round goby. Before joining ABEL, she received her B.Sc. from the University of Western Ontario where she worked with Dr. Scott MacDougall-Shackleton looking at developmental stress and female mate choice in song sparrows. 

Current Position:  After completing her Ph.D. she remained in ABEL as a postdoc for 6 months and then moved to the University of Umea in Sweden to work with Dr. Tomas Brodin. There, she continues to study the impacts of wastewater effluent on fish behaviour and tissue-specific uptake of pharmaceuticals.

Adam Reddon, Dr.

  • Lecturer in Behavioural Ecology
  • School of Natural Sciences and Psychology
  • Liverpool John Moores University

Past Research: Dr. Reddon's research interests were centred around social decision-making in the group living cichlid fish, N. pulcher, especially as it pertains to aggression, contest behaviour, and social behaviour. His research focused on cooperation and conflict in small-scale animal societies. He researched the roles of aggression and social partner choice in modulating conflict resolution within social groups.

Current Position: Dr. Reddon is currently a lecturer in behavioural ecology at Liverpool John Moores University in the UK. He is interested in the behavioural biology of social living. Having a particular fascination with aggression, dominance, and sociality, he seeks to better understand social behaviour through the integration of functional, developmental, and mechanistic approaches. His lab works on understanding the social behaviour in cooperatively breeding daffodil cichlids.

Kelly Stiver, Dr.

  • Associate Professor of Psychology
  • Southern Connecticut State University

Past Research: At ABEL, Dr. Stiver studied cooperation and dispersal in a cichlid fish. She collaborated on a number of projects, including a genetic investigation that used microsatellite markers to look at the relatedness and skew patterns among groups of fish in order to explore the relationship between helping effort and relatedness. She was also part of a field study that looked at the effects of ecological factors on the social dynamics of N. pulcher groups.


Current Position: Dr. Stiver is now an Associate Professor at Southern Connecticut State University. She applies evolutionary theory to social behavior (predominantly cooperative behavior, typically in the context of simultaneous competition/conflict) in an attempt to understand the factors maintaining it (e.g. hormonal and neural mechanisms), the benefits arising from it, and the environmental factors that predict or disrupt it. Her recent major focus has been on cooperation among current unrelated reproductive competitors, particularly those with alternative reproductive tactics -- where individuals use discretely distinct reproductive behaviors -- using two fish species. She also conducts research on relationship conflict in humans.

Past Masters Students

Natalie Sopinka

  • PhD Student, University of British Columbia

Research area: Effects of contaminants on sperm characteristics.

Member: 2008-2010

Past Undergraduate Thesis Students

Joanna Cunnan

Joanna is a 4th Year student in the Honours Life Sciences program. She joined the ABEL lab in September 2016 for an undergraduate thesis.  She, is  working with Jessica Miller in studying the Alternative Reproductive Tactics and sperm competition seen in Plainfin Midshipman fish. Joanna's research is focused on measuring sperm densities from guarder vs. sneaker males from ejactulate samples obtained in British Columbia.  

Emphraim David

Ephraim is  a 4th year Honours Biology and Psychology Undergraduate student currently doing a thesis project with the ABEL lab.  He is being supervised by  Jessica Miller and Sigal Balshine. His project focuses on sperm competition between the different reproductive tactics of the midshipman males. Specifically, he is looking at differential sperm morphology and see the potential effects of mucins and other components of seminal vesicle fluid on sperm performance in fertilizing ability. 

Ephraim David

Ephraim is  a third year Biology and Psychology undergraduate student. He is part of ABEL  and joined as a 3QQ3 research project student.  He is part of team midshipman and he has been helping Ph.D. student, Aneesh Bose, to count eggs by digitally quantifying Midshipman eggs from field nest photographs using the ImageJ program.

Shagun Jindal

Shagun is a 4th year undergraduate student at McMaster University. She is in the Life Sciences Co-op Program.  Shagun joined the ABEL lab in May 2013.  In 2013 she conducted sediment analysis for the Round Goby Diet Study and was co-supervised by Susan Marsh-Rollo.  In 2014  Shagun worked alongside Connie O'Connor to quantify the predation responses of Neolamprologus puncher and Aneesh Bose to do DNA extraction for paternity analyses.  This year Shagun is back to do her undergraduate thesis in ABEL.  She is working on cannibalism as a reproductive strategy for take-over males in Tanganyikan cichlids.

Henry Kou

  • Research Assistant

Research area: Cues of Paternity in Plainfin midshipman fish.

Member: 2014-2015
2014 USRA

Naylor Lobban

Naylor has been in ABEL in many different positions.  We just won't let him leave.  This year he has returned as a 4th year thesis student.  He has led the round goby field sampling team over the summer and this year. Naylor is involved in collecting and monitoring round goby around Hamilton Harbour and is involved in research that explores how diet interacts with the morphology, reproductive output and behaviour of the round goby. 

Nick Luymes

Nick is a 4th year Integrated Science (ISci) Student.  He is doing his undergraduate thesis in ABEL.  Nick's research is about   the connection between resource density and reproductive success for plainfin midshipman, a singing toadfish. Nick is exploring the importance of the social neighbourhood surrounding a male territory  and how nest density impacts mate choice and male reproductive success. The natural variation in the density of plainfin midshipman nesting sites makes them an ideal model for exploring this connection between territory density and reproductive success.  Nick held an NSERC USRA and worked with Aneesh Bose in British Columbia during the summer of 2015.

Past NSERC Undergraduate Summer Research Award (USRA)s

Pauline Capelle

  • M.Sc. student, University of Windsor

Research area: Round goby social behaviour in a contaminated habitat
2012 USRA

Henry Kou

  • Research Assistant

Research area: Cues of Paternity in Plainfin midshipman fish.

Member: 2014-2015
2014 USRA

Past Undergraduate Project Students

Dezi Ahuja

Dezi is a Honours Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behaviour student, doing a 2QQ3 with ABEL. Supervised by Adrienne Maclean, his current work observes the behaviour of Bluegill exposed to varying levels of oxygen from different locations. This is Dezi's first time working with ABEL, and he is very excited to be a part of the team.

Angelica Batac

Angelica a fourth year Life Sciences student who joined the lab in July 2016. She is doing a PNB project under the co-supervision of Aneesh Bose, quantifying the reproductive success of midshipman eggs.  She also volunteer in maintenance of cichlid lab tanks. When not in the lab, she enjoys creating animation and audio editing, as well as taking an interest in social hierarchies in animals, primarily fish. 

Marlene Malik

Marlene is completing her 4th year of an Honours Psychology, Neuroscience, & Behaviour (B. Sc.) degree and joined ABEL in 2016. She is currently working with Ph.D. candidate Aneesh Bose to measure the nest densities of midshipman fish to better understand midshipman reproductive ecology. Marlene is interested in alternative reproductive tactics and how different factors, like territory density, influence reproductive success. 

Kate Raymond

Kate is a third year undergraduate student majoring in PNB. She began working with ABEL in 2016 as part of the round goby sampling team, responsible for collecting round goby around the Hamilton Harbor and monitoring population. Kate has a passion for the outdoors and is interested in studying human impacts on the environment. 

Braeden Terpou

  • Undergraduate student, McMaster University

Research area: Brood abandonment in the plainfin

Member: 2014

Yinan Zhang

Yinan is a 4th year Honors Life Science student who joined the ABEL lab in 2016.  She is am currently working with Ph.D. candidate Aneesh Bose on how the lunar cycle affects the reproduction of Midshipman fish. She is examining the cohort ages of nests obtained from BC.

Past Research Assistants

Jennifer Beneteau

  • PhD Student, University of British Columbia

Research area: Studies of the cooperatively breeding fish, Neolamprologus pulcher

Member: 2005-2006

Natasha Leadbeater

Natasha is a 3rd year PNB student, who is specializing in mental health.  She has been working since October 2015 as an ABEL work-study student.  She headed up the Round Goby population monitoring study all summer and is now helping maintain the fish breeding facility and with fish care and ordering. Natasha has a strong interest in animal behaviour and has taken care of dogs, cats, birds and turtles for many years.

Past Undergraduate Volunteers

Preet Kaur

Duties: Lab maintenance and fish health checks

Member: 2013-2014

Colleen Paris

Colleen is a 3rd year undergraduate student in Honour's Life Sciences Co-op. She began working in the ABEL lab in September 2016 after gaining an interest in animal behaviour through courses she took the previous year. Colleen works to help maintain the fish rooms to ensure that all fish are living in safe and optimal conditions.

Past Volunteers

Dezi Ahuja

Dezi is a Honours Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behaviour student, doing a 2QQ3 with ABEL. Supervised by Adrienne Maclean, his current work observes the behaviour of Bluegill exposed to varying levels of oxygen from different locations. This is Dezi's first time working with ABEL, and he is very excited to be a part of the team

Torri Pyett

  • DFO field research assistant

Research area: Nest size in midshipman fish on the west coast of North America.

Member: 2013-2014