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  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
  9. Past Post-Doctoral Fellows

See also:   Past Members    Group Photos


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.

Sherry Du

Sherry is ABEL's lab manager this summer.  Sherry is working hard to keep all the various ABEL projects running smoothly but has a special place in her heart for those projects based on the impacts of wastewater.  

Postdoctoral Fellows

Erin McCallum

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.  After completing her PhD 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.

Ph.D. Students

Aneesh Bose

Aneesh joined ABEL in September 2012 and studies offspring cannibalism and brood abandonment in the plainfin midshipman fish, Porichthys notatus. He is investigating what selective factors that drive these behaviours, and what type of conditions that make these behaviours adaptive. His field-based work is in the intertidal zones of the Pacific Northwest. He received his B.Sc. in Marine and Freshwater Biology at the University of Guelph, where he worked with Dr. Beren Robinson to study autotomy as a defence mechanism in larval odonates.  Aneesh is supported by an NSERC CGS.

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.

M.Sc. Students

Brett Matthew Culbert

Brett joined the lab in May 2016 as an NSERC USRA student.  In September he started his MSc research studying social ascension in the African cichlid, Neolamprologus pulcher. He is investigating the behavioural and physiological changes associated with acquiring breeder status, specifically those dealing with the stress (hypothalamic-pituitary-interrenal) axis. Brett received his B.Sc. in Biology at the University of Ottawa, where he worked with Dr. Katie Gilmour studying chronic social stress in rainbow trout.

Jessica Miller

Jessica joined the lab in September 2015 and is studying reproductive morphology and post-fertilization competition in plainfin midshipman fish. She is investigating the form and function of male reproductive accessory glands with interest in sperm competition. Jessica received her B.Sc in Marine Biology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, where she studied effects of stress on immunity and behaviour in crickets with Dr. Shelley Adamo, and managed an industrial micro-algae research lab supervised by Dr. Hugh MacIntyre.

Undergrad 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. 

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.

Joseph (Joe) Jodoin

Joe is back this year to complete an undergraduate thesis in ABEL.  He is working on how social behaviour and specifically cooperative breeding in cichlid fishes influences cognition in general and more specifically learning.


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.

Kirsten Nikel

  • Kirsten will be starting her thesis in the autumn but for now is working as a summer research assistant. Her research focuses on the fish community structure and the impact of wastewater effluent on this structure. She is also working on sorting out how wastewater influences fish behaviour and physiology.

Sanduni Talagala

Sanduni joined ABEL in September 2015 as a volunteer helping maintain the fish rooms.  After   assisting Aneesh Bose in a assessment of the biodiversity found in plain fin midshipman nests on the west coast of North America, she decided to stay in ABEL for her undergraduate thesis.  Sanduni has been conducting research on the significance of operculum markings in a social context in the cichlid, Neolamprologus pulcher.  

Undergrad 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. 

Emilie Rayner

Emilie is a 3rd year BioPsych student working on her first project with ABEL.  She has been volunteering with ABEL since February 2016 and is now working on the invasive round goby in relation to contaminants in Hamilton Harbour.  She has been previously involved in a project determining the ecological baseline for Ancaster creek. She really loves field work and being outdoors, and has a particular interest in how waste water affects aquatic organism behaviour.

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.

Research Assistants

Joyce Chan

Joyce joined the lab in October 2015. She the work-study student and is responsible for conducting weekly fish health checks and tank maintenance as well as other research jobs as required. Joyce is in her 2nd year  of an Honours Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour  degree with music cognition specialization.  During her spare time, she enjoys playing music, figure skating, and playing badminton.

Noah Houpt

Noah is the summer USRA student helping out with the plain fin midshipman project in British Columbia in May and June and now in July and August will be helping with ABEL round goby research projects.  Noah is particularly interested in the costs of living in the dynamic intertidal zone and is investigating predation risk and the.costs of air exposure in plain fin midshipman  Welcome Noah.

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.


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.

Lianne Ralph

Lianne is one of our newest volunteers and is helping out with both the diet study and with video coding for our studies of the effects of wastewater on fishes.  Welcome Lianne!

Alex Limin Wang

  • Alex joined the lab as a volunteer in May. She is helping with the round goby population monitoring project and with lab maintenance and fish care. Welcome Alex.