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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
  11. Past Staff

See also:   Current Members    Group Photos

Past Post-Doctoral Fellows

Connie (Constance) O'Connor, Dr.

  • 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 combined 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

Current Position: Connie now works for the Wildlife Conservation Society of Canada in Thunder Bay, Ontario, where she is an Associate Conservation Scientist. Connie leads the Ontario's Northern Boreal Landscape Freshwater Program and her research has greatly contributed to the developing field of ‘conservation physiology’, and she was awarded the prestigious Alice Wilson Medal from the Royal Society of Canada in 2013. In addition to a successful research career, Connie is a leader in science communication, outreach, and student mentorship.

For more information, please visit Connie's website.

Nick Goodwin, Dr.

  • Programme Manager BBSRC
  • (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council)

Past Research: During his postdoc at ABEL, Nick focused his research on the life history, ecological diversification and correlates of species richness, specifically studying the evolution of parental care in cichlids. 

Current Position: After leaving ABEL, Nick became a Business Development Manager at the University of East Anglia, and later took a prestigious Programme Manager position at BBSRC in Norwich Research Park, England. Here, Nick supports and develops major capital investment programmes. He develops the programme strategies, job roles, and organisational structures while also being responsible for developing project and programme strategies and plans.

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.

Marian Wong, Dr.

  • Senior Lecturer- Professor of Biological Sciences
  • University of Wollongong

Past Research: Marian's postdoc research at ABEL was centered around the behavioural ecology of social fishes, and she studied the breeding behaviour in a group living cichlid. 

Current Position: Dr. Wong is currently a senior lecturer at the University of Wollogong in Australia, where she teaches biological sciences as well as leading her own fish lab. Her research interests lie in the behavioural ecology and conservation behaviour of social fishes. Dr. Wong's lab uses social fishes from both marine and freshwater environments as model species to test key hypotheses related to the evolution of conflict, cooperation, group-living and mating systems. Her lab is also interested in understanding the impacts of abiotic stressors on the behaviour of social fishes and how this impacts higher levels of their social organisation.To find out more about her work please visit The Fish Lab Website.

 

 

Past Ph.D Students

Aneesh Bose, Dr.

  • Postdoc Research Fellow
  • University of Graz, Austria

Past Research: Aneesh joined ABEL in September 2012 and studied offspring cannibalism and brood abandonment in the plainfin midshipman fish, Porichthys notatus. He investigated what selective factors that drive these behaviours, and what type of conditions that make these behaviours adaptive. His field-based work was 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.

Current Position: Aneesh is now a postdoc under the supervision of Dr. Kristina Sefc in Austria, where he continues to study mating systems and parental care. This upcoming summer, he will be moving to the University of Konstanz in Germany, to continue his postdoc with Dr. Alex Jordan, in the Jordan Lab at the Max Planck Institute for Collective Behaviour.

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

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.

Brett Matthew Culbert

Brett joined the lab in May 2016 as an NSERC USRA student. In September 2016
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 regulation of stress and growth. 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. Brett is supported by an NSERC
CGS.

Viktoria Mileva

  • Research Assistant Department of Psychology
  • University of Stirling

Previous Research: Viktoria Mileva completed her Masters at ABEL, with her research focusing on the stress response of the cooperatively breeding cichlid fish, Neolamprologus pulcher.

Current Position: Dr. Mileva went on to do her Ph.D. at the University of Sterling in Evolutionary Psychology, and is now in the process of completing her postdoc. Viktoria does research in Emotion, Evolutionary Psychology, and Social Psychology. She is currently working in the area of face processing and recognition, and her interests lie in uncovering how we become familiar with stranger's faces and what the limits of our recognition abilities are.

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.

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.

Natalie Sopinka

Past research: Effects of contaminants on sperm characteristics. (2008 - 2010)

Current Position: Natalie obtained her PhD at the University of British Columbia, her research focused on identifying the transgenerational effects of stress in sockeye salmon. Natalie has now found full-time employment in science outreach!

 

Sophie St-Cyr

  • PhD Student University of Toronto - Department of Cell and Systems Biology

Past Research: During her time with ABEL Sophie studied behavioural, physiological and genetic impacts of social status change in cichlid fishes. (2007 - 2009). 

Current Position: In August of 2017 she successfully defended her PhD thesis at the University of Toronto - Department of Cell and Systems Biology. Her PhD focused on how prenatal exposure to predator odour in maternal mice can program the long-term phenotype of the offspring.

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.

Noam Y. Werner, Dr.

  • Scientific Director of Jerusalem Zoo

Past Research: (1995 - 1996) Behavioural influences on Golden Lion Tamrins in enclosure

Current Position: Noam is currently working as a Zoo Curator and Zoologist at the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem.

Jennifer Young

Jennifer Young was an M.Sc. student in her time at ABEL. A remarkable academic, she earned a Bachelor of Arts and Science at McMaster, and a Master in Mathematics, describing herself as a “math nerd/biologist hybrid” who was “addicted to CrossFit.” Her thesis was entitled, “Factors Affecting Population Dynamics of the Invasive Round Goby,” one she researched at ABEL. In September 2013, Jen was diagnosed with a rare small cell neuroendocrine cervical cancer with metastatic disease in the liver and lung. After several rounds of treatment, a thorough deep dive into clinical trials (during which Jen became the self-proclaimed “person they test new drugs on”) and a last-ditch effort to slow the growth of the liver tumors, Jen died on May 17, 2015, at the Juravinski Cancer Centre in Hamilton, Ontario.

Her academic excellence, positive attitude, kind heart, and love for CrossFit didn't stop there. Before her passing, Jen co-founded a foundation appropriately named "Love the Snatch" with her cousin, Ashlee, which remains dedicated to raising funds for cervical cancer research in her honour. Jen did everything from math to science to sports to her eloquent writing and musical talent. To read about her openly discussed battle with cancer, visit her personal blog, From Potato to Paleo.

Beyond her legacy of hope, which has raised over $30,000 dollars, to date, McMaster University dedicated the "Jen Young Memorial Award" in her honour, one awarded for remarkable students in math and science. Jen lives on through her foundation, her university, and above all, in the hearts of those who knew what an incredible and genuine person she was. Please donate or buy merchandise at Love the Snatch to preserve Jen's memory and provide others like her with the means to overcome.

Past Undergraduate Thesis Students

Chelsea Aristone

Chelsea is a fourth year student in the Honours Integrated Science Program at Mcmaster University. She joined ABEL in May of 2019 and has mostly focused on the effect of wastewater effluent on zooplankton populations within Hamilton Harbour.   This year as a thesis student Chelsea plans to move up  in the world and examine how wastewater influences macro-invertebrate communities along wastewater plumes in both winter and summer.

David Barclay

  • (2002-2003)

Past Research: His thesis focused on humour complexity and intelligence.

Current Position: David went into banking.

Noam Berlin

  • (2008-2009)

Past Research: During his time with ABEL, Noam's undergrad thesis focused on parental investment and alternative mating tactics in the Plainfin Midshipman.

 

Current Position:  Noam was a Clinical Research Coordinator for a couple years and then went to medical school at the University of Toronto. He is an advocate for Interprofessional Education for medical students.

Chris Blanchard

  • (2002-2003)

Past Research: His research looked at aggression in N. Pulcher

E. Michelle Brown

  • (2004-2005)

Past Research: For her undergrad thesis Michelle focused on cichlid mating systems, specifically sperm character trait trade-offs during reproduction.

 

Current Position: Michelle went on to study nursing.

Angie Buchner

  • (2001-2002)

Past Research: Her thesis looked at the physical costs of dominance in the N. Pulcher.

 

Grace Anna Burgess

Meet Grace Burgess, who has been in the lab for two years.  Initially in  her  3rd year she did her Integrated Science project with Dr. Andy Turko, spending her time aging otoliths and scales from the endangered redside dace. Last year Grace was a thesis student and investigated the dispersal ability of baby round gobies.   This summer she has been helping in beautiful British Columbia with a number of plainfin midshipman projects.  Grace says the midshipman might be her favourite fish species so far.     One of the earliest memories she has from elementary school is rearing salmon in our classroom which probably kick-started her af-fin-nity for aquatic life!

 

 

Meghan Burke

  • (2002)

Past Research: Her thesis looked at oxygen depletion and helping effort in N. Pulcher.

 

Pauline Capelle

  • (2013-2014)

Past research: Pauline studied sociality in round gobies for her undergraduate thesis with the ABEL lab. She looked at round goby preferences for grouping together and how they value shelter and association.

 

Current research: Pauline completed her M.Sc at the university of Windsor. Pauline researched how variation in maternal stress impacts offspring phenotypes and future environments in Chinook salmon. She then went to work as a Regional Fisheries Intern.

Aaron Chang

  • (2009-2010)

Past Research: While with ABEL, Aaron did his undergrad thesis focusing on the impacts of living in contaminated area.

Current Position: Aaron is now a Real Estate Agent.

Virginia Chant

  • (2001-2002)

Past Research: Virginia looked at the ecological effects of the round goby introduction to Lake Ontario for her undergrad thesis.

 

Current Position: Virginia currently works as a Biologist at Golder Associates.

Rachel Charney

  • (2012-2013)

Past research: Rachel did her undergraduate thesis with the ABEL lab focusing on the ongoing round goby population monitoring project.

 

Current position: Rachel went to Law School at the University of Toronto. She is now practicing law at the Davies Law Firm.

Joanna Cunnan

  • (2016-2017)

Joanna graduated from the Honours Life Sciences program. She joined the ABEL lab in September 2016 for an undergraduate thesis.  She worked with Jessica Miller to study the Alternative Reproductive Tactics and sperm competition seen in Plainfin Midshipman fish. Joanna's research was focused on measuring sperm densities from guarder vs. sneaker males from ejaculate samples obtained in British Columbia.  

Megan Cyr

 

Megan is a fourth year BioPsych student who joined ABEL in January 2020. She previously worked on projects examining how wastewater effluent affects macrozooplankton assemblages in Hamilton harbour, and performed a systematic review of minnow trapping methods. This past year, she conducted an exciting thesis project with Team Caffeine, studying the how aversive learning varies between  wild-caught vs. lab-reared fathead minnow. This summer she has joined our NSERC Promo science outreach project, Fishing for Sciennce annd is inspiring the next generation to look after our aquatic habitats.  Megan  is a native Hamiltonian  and helps to teach the rest of the lab all the well kept secrets of her home town.

Claire Danukarjanto

  • (2012)

Past Research: Claire worked as a work study student and helped to keep the lab running. She also was a thesis student who looked at the costs of parental care in Plainfin Midshipmin by analyzing their gut content.

 

Current Position: Claire is now a Canadian Certified Physician Assistant at McMaster University.

Emphraim David

  • (2015-2017)

Past Research: Ephraim is a graduated ABEL member. He joined as a 3QQ3 research project student.  He helped Ph.D. student, Aneesh Bose, to count eggs by digitally quantifying Midshipman eggs from field nest photographs using the ImageJ program. In his 4th year he did his thesis project with the ABEL lab.  He was supervised by Jessica Miller and Sigal Balshine. His project focused on sperm competition between the different reproductive tactics of the midshipman males. Specifically, he looked at differential sperm morphology and see the potential effects of mucins and other components of seminal vesicle fluid on sperm performance in fertilizing ability. 

Current Position: Ephraim graduated from McMaster University in 2017.

Carol Diep

  • (2005-2006)

Past Research: Her undergrad thesis focused on the hormonal basis of sexual conflict in cichlid fishes.

 

Current Position: 
In 2007 she obtained a Bachelor of Education with a focus on Students at Risk at the University of Toronto. Carol is currently a Secondary Math Teacher at YRDSB

Cassandra Disanto

Cassandra is a fourth year Biology and Psychology student who joined the lab in January of 2018 as a volunteer in the round goby room. She is starting her undergraduate thesis in the lab this summer as well. Her research focuses on how individual behaviour differences among round gobies might influence trappability and sampling bias.

Colleen Dowling

Colleen is a fourth year BioPsych student who joined ABEL in September of 2019. She is currently a thesis student and will be examining the effects of turbidity on the behaviour of the redside dace, an endangered freshwater fish in Ontario.

Lucas Eckert

Lucas is a fourth year student in Honours Integrated Science, with a concentration in Biology. He completed his third year independent project with ABEL, looking at the evolutionary driving mechanisms of reproductive accessory gland evolution across fishes. He is now continuing with ABEL for his undergraduate thesis. 

Kyle Empringham

  • (2010-2011)

Past research: During his time with ABEL, Kyle did his undergrad thesis on the gut analysis of the invasive round goby in the Hamilton Harbour

Current research: After graduating from Biology at McMaster, Kyle completed his Master's in Resource Management and a Certificate in Dialogue and Civic Engagement. He then worked for the David Suzuki Foundation as a Public Engagement Specialist. He also co-founded the Starfish Canada. According to their website "The Starfish Canada celebrates and amplifies environmental, solutions-based stories across the nation, with a focus on youth-based initiatives".

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.

Kate Feather-Adams

  • (2013-2014)

Kate joined the ABEL lan in 2013 to do her thesis on ontogenetic shifts in feeding behaviour in freshwater apple snails.

Sarah Galus

  • (2014 -2015)

Past research: Sarah did both an undergraduate project and a thesis with ABEL. Her thesis focused on the resource value and contest dynamics in invasive round goby.

 

Current position: Sarah went on to do her M.Sc. at Dalhousie University.

Krista Gooderham

  • (2007-2008)

Past Research: Her undergrad biology thesis focused on morphological abnormalities in fins and brains of the round goby in Hamilton Harbour.

 

Current Position: After graduating, she obtained her M.S. in biology at Laurentian University. In graduate school, she researched the effects of disease and parasitism in mammals and was heavily involved in field research.  She then became a certified Wilderness First Responder and has experience working as a ship captain, wilderness guide and search and rescue team member. Now she is dedicated to teaching conservation by integrating the science curriculum and experiential learning. Currently she is leading trips for Broadreach global educational adventures, working as a natural history instructor for Westcoast Adventure College and as a biology educator and ship captain for the youth program Sailing Educational Adventure.

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.

Caroline Gross

  • (2005-2006)

Past Research: During her time with the ABEL lab Caroline studied the invasive round goby population in Hamilton Harbour.

 

Current Research: She went to the New York Chiropractic College and got her as a Chiropractor and Active Release Techniques Provider.

Mark Hazelden

  • (2003-2004)

Past Research: Mark's undergrad thesis focused on hormonal correlates of aggression in cichlid fish.

 

Current Position: Mark is currently the Senior Director at The Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship.

Kristina Hick

  • (2012-2013)

Past Research: Kristina did her undergraduate thesis with us at ABEL, her project involved comparing the contest behaviour of two closely related cichlid fish species with differing social systems. She explored sociality and social recognition in resource competitions.

Current Position: Kristina Got her M.Sc. at the University of Windsor and is now a Wildlife Research Technician at Environment and Climate Change Canada - Wildlife Research Division.

Noah Houpt

Noah was the summer 2017 USRA student.  He helped out with the plain fin midshipman project in British Columbia in May and June and  in July and August helped with various 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  Noah is currently back in British Columbia collection data for his thesis!

Shiva Houshmandi

  • (2000-2001)

Past Research: Shiva's thesis focused on social structure and group behaviour in fishes.

Current Position: After graduating Shiva got a position as a research assistant at Bahai Int. Foundation.

Sarah Irving

  • (2001-2002)

Past Research: Her thesis looked at song variation of Chickadees in the Royal Botanical Gardens.

Current Position: After graduating she worked at McMaster Media Centre.

Shagun Jindal

  • (2013-2015)

Past Research: Shagun completed he undergraduate degree at McMaster University. She was 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. Her thesis focused on cannibalism as a reproductive strategy for take-over males in Tanganyikan cichlids.

 

Current Position: Shagun is now a Regional Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement Officer at Health Canada.

Joseph (Joe) Jodoin

  • (2016-2018)

Past Research: Joe has completed an undergraduate thesis in ABEL.  He worked on how social behaviour and specifically cooperative breeding in cichlid fishes influences cognition in general and more specifically learning.

Current Position: Joe is attending teacher's college with the hopes of becoming a high school biology teacher.

 

Henry Kou

  • (2014-2015)

Past Research: Cues of Paternity in Plainfin midshipman fish.

Current Position: Research Technician II at Duke University Medical Centre

 

Emily Krutzelmann

  • (2012-2014)

Past research: Emily helped with the ongoing round goby population monitoring project with the ABEL lab and then went on to do her thesis with us. 

 

Current position: After working with ABEL Emily went off to be an administrator at IndEco Strategic Consulting Inc.

Mike Lee

  • (2012-2013)

Past Research: Mike Lee joined the lab in 2012 to do his undergrad thesis. His work looked at the effect of antidepressants on round goby locomotion.

 

Current Position: Mike is now a Senior Lead and Research analyst at Analytics & Services at QUEST - Quality Urban Energy Systems of Tomorrow.

Susan Lee

  • (2003-2004)

Past Research: Susan focused her research on begging behaviour in chicks.

Naylor Lobban

  • (2015-2017)

Past Research: Naylor has been in ABEL in many different positions. He has led the round goby field sampling team over the summer and during the fall. In his fourth year he did his undergraduate thesis with us. Naylor was involved in collecting and monitoring round goby around Hamilton Harbour and in research that explored how diet interacts with the morphology, reproductive output and behaviour of the round goby. 

Current Position: Naylor is currently a law student at Queen's University.

Nick Luymes

  • (2015-2016)
Past research:
Nick graduated as an Integrated Science (ISci) Student.  He is doing did his undergraduate thesis in ABEL.  Nick's research was about the connection between resource density and reproductive success for plainfin midshipman, a singing toadfish. Nick was 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.
Current Position:
He is now a McMaster graduate student working on Aquatic Biology in the Great Lakes basin.

Robert Marchant

  • (2013-2014)

Past Research: His project looked at egg number and male size in plainfin midshipman.

 

James McDonald

  • (2003-2004)

Past Research: His thesis focused on the round goby of Hamilton Harbour.

 

Maria McDonald

  • (2002-2003)

Past Research: Her thesis focused on the influence of chick interference & parental choice in Caspian terns.

 

Nandini Menon, MD

  • (2008-2009)

Past Research: During her research with us at ABEL she investigated contest rules and anatomy of aggression based on size manipulation in cichlid.

 

Current Position: After attending Ross Medical School, Dr. Nandini R Menon is now an Internal Medicine Specialist in Bristol, Connecticut.

Irina Mihaescu

  • (2006-2007)

Past Research: During her time at ABEL Irina focused on testing the predictions of sperm competition theory in African Cichlids.

 

Current Research: She is currently a Psychiatry Resident at Eastern Health in St. John's Newfoundland. 

Markelle Morphet

Markelle joined the lab in January 2019, initially as a project student, then a thesis student and is now ABEL's lab manager.  She has studied the effects of wastewater effluent contamination in Hamilton Harbour, looking at both zooplankton populations and the impacts of wastewater exposure on the behaviour and physiology of fathead minnows.  In her spare time Markelle enjoys exploring Ontario’s nature hot spots.

Abby Morrison

  • (2003-2004)

Past Research: Her undergrad thesis, which was done in the ABEL lab, focused on female mate choice copying in humans.

 

Current Position: After graduating, she got a job at Statistics Canada

Vanessa Ng

  • (2017-2018)

Past Research: Vanessa has completed her fourth year of Honours Biology and joined the lab in April 2017. Prior to her thesis she worked with Jessica Miller to analyze sperm surface area in guarder and sneaker males of plainfin midshipman fish. Her thesis with Aneesh Bose was focused on midshipman parental behaviour in lab versus field conditions.  

Current Position: Vanessa recently graduated from McMaster University.

Kirsten Nikel

Kirsten completed her undergrad thesis in the lab in 2017 - 2018. She also worked as a summer research assistant in 2017. Her research focused on the fish community structure and the impact of wastewater effluent on this structure.  She is also worked on how wastewater influences fish behaviour and physiology.

Aderinsola Odetunde

  • (2013-2014)

Past research: Aderinsola joined ABEL lab to do her undergraduate thesis. She looked at grouping sizes in cichlid fish when it comes to anti-predatory behaviour.

 

Current position: Aderinsola completed her M.Sc. at Illinois State University in 2017. Her master's thesis focused on the effects of ectoparasite factors on European starling nestling development, and ectoparasite control on mite abundance and nestling development.

Melanie Pacitto

  • (2004-2005)

Past Research: While at ABEL, Melanie researched familiarity and hormonal influences on colour changes in Neolamprologus pulcher.

 

Current Position: Melanie bace a biology teacher.

Avani Pathak

Avani is a 4th year BioPsych student that joined the lab in April 2018. She has done a bunch of projects in  the lab and has worked as a summer research assistant on the round goby ART project. This  year she  is returning as a thesis student and will be exploring how temperature preferences  and  acclimation temperature in redside dace (a species at risk in Canada) relates to a number of important behavioural and physiological traits.  Most of her time is spent in the basement of the Psychology building working with  these amazing and sadly now rare fish.  When Avani is not working or studying she can be found making the most beautiful drawings!  

Amanda Pereria

  • (2011-2012)

Past Research: Amanda did her undergrad thesis with us in the ABEL lab. Her research focused on the ecological correlates of parental care in Plainfin Midshipman.

 

Current Position: Amanda went of to work with the Ontario Science Centre as a Live Exhibits technician. Currently she works as a Financial Controller for Marche International.

Amir Pishva

Amir is a third year Life Science (honours) student that joined the lab in December 2017. Currently, he is completing a project that explores the types of benthic organisms in wastewater treatment plants in the Hamilton Harbour; with a hope to provide new insights on having a more beneficial and ecosystem-friendly methods of wastewater treatment. Additionally, he also assists in population monitoring of round gobies in Hamilton Harbour.

Stephen Potvin

  • (2012-2013)

Past Research: Stephen Potvin did his undergrad thesis in Biology and Psychology so he could "learn how to make people like him and play with fish". His research focused on the social memory of African Cichlids.

 

Current Position: After studying science communication at Laurentian University he moved to London, England and got a job as a Video content writer/editor at "I Fucking Love Science".

Emilie Rayner

Emilie completed her degree in BioPsych and is currently working to help manage the lab. She has been involved with ABEL since February 2016. She worked on the invasive round goby  in Hamilton Harbour and explored population dynamics and individual behavioural biases with various gear types.   Emilie really loves field work and being outdoors, and has a particular interest in how waste water affects aquatic organism behaviour.

Shakil Salim

  • (2012-2013)

Past Research: Shakil's research with ABEL focused on preventing ring-billed gulls from colliding with vehicles on Eastport Drive

Current Position: After graduating Shakil went to Med School at the University of Toronto.

Rega Sathasivam

  • (2003-2004)

Past Research: Rega was an undergraduate research assistant.

 

Claire Schiller

  • (2008-2009)

Past Research: When Claire was an undergrad thesis student in the ABEL lab her research focused on dietary routes of contaminant transfer in round gobies in the Hamilton Harbour. 

 

Current Position: Claire is currently a medical student at the University of British Colombia. She is also part of the Government Affairs & Advocacy Committee for the Fédération des étudiants et des étudiantes en médecine du Canada.

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. 

Hailey Schultz

Hailey is a fourth year Life Science student who joined the lab in September 2018 as an undergraduate thesis student. Her research is focused on examining the ecological and environmental impacts of wastewater by exploring the use of zooplankton as a potential bio-indicator of water quality

Kathleen Sharland

  • (2005-2006)

Past Research: While doing her undergrad thesis she focused on mate selection in cichlids.

 

Current Position: Kathleen became a Middle School Science Teacher.

Alix Stosic

  • (2007-2008)

Past Research: Alix did her undergrad thesis with the ABEL lab. Her research focused on the impact of environmental contaminants on activity and predator avoidance in the round goby. 

 

Current Position: After graduating, Alix got her Master of Business Administration in the Field Of Health Services Management. Currently she works as a Project Coordinator at the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging and as a Personal Fitness Coach at Momentum Fitness.

Sanduni Talagala

  • (2015-2018)

Past Research: 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 conducted research on the significance of operculum markings in a social context in the cichlid, Neolamprologus pulcher.  

Current Position: Sanduni has recently graduated from McMaster University.

Joanne Tan

  • (2013-2014)

Past position: Joanne did research looking at context dependent changes in social networks.

 

Current position: Joanne worked as an interpreter for the Natural History Museum of Singapore.

Matthew Taves, Dr.

  • (2007-2008)

Past Research: During his time at ABEL he focused on endocrinology of aggression and dominance in cooperatively breeding cichlids.

 

Current Position: In 2015 he completed his PhD in Zoology at the University of British Columbia. His PhD was on local glucocorticoid regulation in avian and murine lymphoid organs. He is currently a CIHR Postdoctoral Fellow at National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health and is exploring cells that are critical for adaptive immunity.

Anittha Thayaparan

Anittha is a 4th year Biology & Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour student who joined the lab in September 2019 as an undergraduate thesis student. Her research involves investigating the diversity and quantity of zooplankton species in waste water effluent.

Anittha Thayaparan

Anittha is a 4th year Biology & Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour student who joined the lab in September 2019 as an undergraduate thesis student. Her research involves investigating the diversity and quantity of zooplankton species in waste water effluent.

Dominika Tomczyk

  • (2011-2012)

Past Research: Dominika did her undergraduate thesis with the ABEL lab. She explored the cognitive consequences of living in a contaminated area.

 

Current Position: Dominika went to Teacher's College at Wilfred Laurier and is now an Occasional Teacher for the Wellington Catholic District School Board.

Stephanie Tong

  • (2009-2010)

Past Research: Her undergrad thesis was focused on the effects of contaminants on behaviour and physiology in the round goby.

Current Position: After graduating from McMaster she went on to do Nursing at McMaster.

Sara Venskaitis

  • (2009-2010)

Past Research: While doing her undergrad at McMaster, she did her thesis on the audience effect in cooperatively breeding fish.

Current Position: Following her graduation from McMaster, Sara got a certificate in ecosystem restoration, a Master's of Science in international forestry and a Master's in Forestry. She is currently working as a GIS Technician at the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute.

Aikta Verma, MD

  • (2002-2003)

Past research: While doing her undergrad at McMaster University, Aikta focused her research on habitat and reproductive preferences in round gobies.

 

Current Position: Aikta completed medical school at the University of Ottawa and is currently a Doctor in the Department of Emergency Medicine.

Mathew Voisin, MD

  • (2010-2011)

Past Research: During his time with ABEL, he did his senior undergrad thesis on the effects of Isotocin on group preferences in social fish.

Current Position: After graduating from McMaster, he was accepted into Queen's Med School program. He is now a neurosurgeon at the university of Toronto, and is publishing interesting papers on neurosurgery and neuroscience.

Grace Wang

  • (2009-2010)

Past research: While with ABEL, Grace did her undergrad thesis on the effects of contamination on dispersal behaviour of the round goby. 

Current Position: After graduating from Biology, Grace got her Bachelor of Science-Nursing. She has been a registered nurse since and is currently a fully-certified Epic Anesthesia and Optime Applications Analyst.

Theresa Warriner

  • (2014-2016)

Past Research: Theresa did her undergraduate thesis with the ABEL lab. She explored the impacts of wastewater on bluegill sunfish behaviour. She also helped to maintain the lab, take care of our animals and coordinate volunteers. 

 

Current position: Theresa is doing her masters with the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research (GLIER) at the University of Windsor. She is examining the interactive impacts of climate change and pre-natal maternal stress on the phenotype, behaviour and fitness of young Chinook salmon. 

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.

Victoria Winslow

Victoria was a 4th year Biology-Discovery student who joined the lab in the Fall of 2019 as a volunteer responsible for the care of African cichlids! In thee winter 2020, Victoria helped on a project looking at the impacts of micro plastic exposure on the behaviour of fathead minnows. Last year she tackled an ambitious thesis on the temperature tolerance in male round goby in relation to their reproductive tactics.  
This summer she has joined Amy Kalbfleisch to manage ABEL.  Victoria is in charge of EVERYTHING in the lab itself but is also helping out on a cichlid thermal preference project and on round goby population mentoring in the field.

Eliza Wu


Eliza is a third year Chemistry student and joined the lab in April 2018. Eliza has a keen interest for water contamination and sustainability. In the fall, she will be conducting a project on how the contaminants in treated wastewater influence fish biology. As well, she will assist in monitoring the population of round gobies in Hamilton Harbour.

Nicole Yee

Nicole is a fourth year Life Science student who joined the lab in September 2018 as an undergraduate thesis student. Her research focuses on how observed parental care behaviour in plainfin midshipman fish is affected by fluctuating environmental conditions.

Past NSERC Undergraduate Summer Research Award (USRA)s

Daniel Balk

  • (2010)

Past Research: During his time with ABEL he researched lateralization and fight dynamic in cooperative fish.

Current Position: After McMaster, he went to the University of Waterloo for a Master's in Clinical Psychology and Ryerson for his PhD.

Pauline Capelle

  • (2013-2014)

Past research: Pauline studied sociality in round gobies for her undergraduate thesis with the ABEL lab. She looked at round goby preferences for grouping together and how they value shelter and association.

 

Current research: Pauline completed her M.Sc at the university of Windsor. Pauline researched how variation in maternal stress impacts offspring phenotypes and future environments in Chinook salmon. She then went to work as a Regional Fisheries Intern.

Henry Kou

  • (2014-2015)

Past Research: Cues of Paternity in Plainfin midshipman fish.

Current Position: Research Technician II at Duke University Medical Centre

 

Nick Luymes

  • (2015-2016)
Past research:
Nick graduated as an Integrated Science (ISci) Student.  He is doing did his undergraduate thesis in ABEL.  Nick's research was about the connection between resource density and reproductive success for plainfin midshipman, a singing toadfish. Nick was 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.
Current Position:
He is now a McMaster graduate student working on Aquatic Biology in the Great Lakes basin.

Nikol Piskuric

  • (2005)

Past Research: During her time with ABEL Nikol studied the round goby population in the Hamilton Harbour

 

Current Position: After graduating from Biology & Psychology in 2007, she entered the Ph.D. program in Biology at McMaster, and graduated with highest honours in 2012, winning the Governor General’s Academic Medal. She is currently an Assistant Professor at McMaster University.

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.

Janine Wong

  • (2011)

Past Research: Janine focused her research on the impacts of contaminants on energetics and swimming speed of the round goby.

Current Position: After graduating from McMaster, Janine attended Humber College for graphic design. Currently she is a multi-disciplinary designer, photographer and graphic designer.

Past Undergraduate Project Students

Joseph Adrangna

  • (2014-2015)

Past Research: His ABEL project was focused on  otolith size in Plainfin Midshipman fish

Current Position: He is currently at Dentistry school at NYU.

Tristan Agpawa

Tristan is in third-year BioPsych and joined ABEL as a 3QQ3 project student this June 2022.   Tristan first  ABEL project was with Hossein Mehdi investigating the effects of wastewater effluents on zooplankton communities.  He is currently working with Sina Zarini and studying  the zooplankton density in the La Salle Marina and Fifty Point Provincial Park taken during the day and night, at the water’s surface and a depth of 5 meters. . Outside of the lab, his hobbies include watching movies, reading books, travelling, playing video games, and he is looking forward to learning tennis and skiing. 

 

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.

Fatima Al-Mosawi

Fatima is in her second year of the Biology and PNB program. She joined the lab in January 2022 and is currently helping Jan score behavioural videos that investigate how learning is impacted by caffeine in fathead minnows. She is very interested in the various ways humans can impact aquatic life. Outside of the lab, Fatima enjoys hiking and watching basketball!

Heather Alexander

  • (2005-2006)

Past Research: Heather's project focused on the cooperatively breeding fish, N. Pulcher.

 

Kaushik Baliga

  • (2014-2015)

Past Research: During his undergrad, he did a project with the ABEL lab where he helped with the population monitoring of the round goby in Hamilton Harbour.

 

Current Position: He graduated form McMaster in 2017. He is currently a Physician Navigator at St. Joseph's Health Centre.

Michael Barone

  • (2011-2012)

Past Research: Michael's research project focused on parental care in the Plainfin Midshipman.

Current Position: Michael is doing his Master's in the Digital Music Lab.

Angelica Batac

  • (2016-2017)

Past Research: Angelica is a graduated Life Sciences student who joined the lab in July 2016. She did a PNB project under the co-supervision of Aneesh Bose, quantifying the reproductive success of midshipman eggs.  She also volunteered 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.

Current Position:  

Jacqueline Beaudry, Dr.

  • (2005-2007)

Past Research: Jacqueline's project focused on the study of the round goby populations of Hamilton Harbour.

Current Position: Jacqueline works with glucagon receptors in mice as her research focuses on diabetes.

Shagufta Bi Bi

Shagufta recently completed her degree in Honours Biology this past April at McMaster University. Shagufta has joined the ABEL lab in September 2018 and can be found admiring her plants during her spare time." 

Celeste Bouchard

  • (2011-2012)

Past research:  Celeste had an undergrad project where she examined differences in genetic markers to elucidate alternative reproductive strategies in Plainfin Midshipman fish.

Current Position: Celeste is currently studying medicine at the University of New England.

Lindsey Bruer

  • (2011-2012)

Past Research: Her project looked at social networks in cooperatively breeding fish.

 

Ryan Caldwell

  • (2012-2013)

Past Research: Ryan was part of the ongoing round goby population monitoring research.

Current Position: Ryan got his Master's at McGill University in the Field Of StudyDevelopmental Genetics and is now a Business Development Specialist at Mitacs.

Isabelle Cavanagh

Isabelle is a third year student in the BioPsych program.  She joined the lab as a second year project student in January of 2021, where she helped with fish husbandry for fathead minnows and completed a research project on habituation.  This semester, Isabelle is helping Sina Zarini with his project and will be examining the diet of baby round goby.  She is beyond excited to return to the lab!

Duncan Chambers

  • (2013-2014)

Past Research: While a project student in the ABEL lab Duncan focused on egg size variance across populations of midshipman fish.

Current Position: Duncan got his Master's of History at McMaster and now works as a Historical Interpreter at Whitehern Historic House & Garden National Historic Site.

Simi Dhanota

Simi is a 3rd year Honours Life Science student who joined the lab in September 2018 as a project student. She is working alongside Nick to explore the impact challenging environments have on offspring development.

Maggie Dobbins

Maggie is a third year BioPsych student who joined the ABEL lab this year as a 3QQ3 project student. She is currently helping Jan Bikker with her experiments on the effects of caffeine, specifically looking at anxiety in fathead minnows. Her tasks include scoring videos and helping care for the minnows. She has previously worked in the Dukas lab and is fascinated by many animals and their behaviours. Outside of the lab Maggie enjoys baking and roller-skating!

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.

Nickolas Goenadi

Nickolas is a 3rd year student in the Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour program specializing in Mental Health. He joined the lab in January 2019 as a project student. His first project was one with grad student Matthew Selena working comparative cichlid cognition. Over the summer his is working with anther grad student Adrienne McLean and thesis student Julie Scholtz doing research on the invasive round goby. He will be helping with collecting and running fish through behavioural trials.

Kelsey Goodrick

  • (2013-2014)

Past Research: While with ABEL Kelsey researched the physiological costs of sociality.

Current Position: Kelsey is a vet student at the Atlantic Veterinary College.

Mirjam Groen

  • (2010-2011)

Past Research: Mirjam's project focused on the aggression in invasion front of the round goby

Current Position: Mirjam is now a practicing clinical psychologist.

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.

Jonathan Hamilton

Jonathan Hamilton is a third year student in Biology and Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour. Jonathan joined the lab in January 2019 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. He is responsible for classifying these samples as well as utilizing them as bioindicators of water quality.

Jaiwei Han

  • (2010-2011)

Past Research: Jaiwei's project looked at biodiversity in the nests of plainfin midshipman.

Current Position: Jaiwei graduate from McMaster and attended dental school.

Jeannine Holmes

  • (2013-2014)

Past Research: Her project looked at aggressive interactions of invasive round goby.

Holly Howe

  • (2012-2014)

Past research: Holly's undergrad research at ABEL focused on egg size and number trade-off in midshipman fish.

Current position: After graduating from McMaster, she did her Master's at the university of Toronto, worked as a research assistant at MIT and a research associate at Harvard Business School and is starting her PhD at Duke University Fuqua School of Business and is interested in motivation, emotion and wellbeing.

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.

Cayli Hunt

  • (2011-2012)

Past Research: During her time with ABEL Cayli researched the paternity of Plainfin Midshipman offspring through DNA extractions.

Current Position: She currently works as a registered nurse in British Columbia.

Yvette Kuo

  • (2013-2014)

Past Research: While at ABEL Yvette did her undergrad research project on counting Plainfin Midshipman eggs,

Current position: Yvette is currently a Clinical Genetics Technologist (Molecular Oncology) for Hamilton Health Sciences.

Catherine Lau

  • (2011-2012)

Past Research: During Catherine's time with ABEL she researched the diet of the invasive round goby in the Hamilton Harbour.

Current Position: Catherine has a M.Sc. in the Field Of Study Experimental Psychology (Behavioural Neuroscience) and currently works to do scientific outreach. She currently works as a Knowledge Translation/Outreach Intern at the Ontario Brain Institute.

Stephanie Liang

Stephanie is a fourth-year BioPsych student who joined ABEL as a 4QQ project student in September 2021. She is currently working with Jan on the impacts of caffeine on reward learning in fathead minnows. She has a special interest in behavioural ecology, and evolutionary biology and psychology. Outside of the lab, Stephanie enjoys playing the bassoon with the McMaster Concert Band, painting, and playing fetch with her cat, Miko.

Marissa Lu

  • (2014-2016)

Past Research: Her ABEL project was focused on the paternity of consumed eggs in Plainfin Midshipman.

Current Position: She was an intern at the McMaster Pediatric Surgery Research Collaborative.

Marlene Malik

  • (2016-2017)

Past Research: Marlene completed her degree in Honours Psychology, Neuroscience, & Behaviour (B. Sc.) and joined ABEL in 2016. She worked with then Ph.D. candidate Aneesh Bose to measure the nest densities of midshipman fish to better understand midshipman reproductive ecology. Marlene was interested in alternative reproductive tactics and how different factors, like territory density, influence reproductive success. 

Current Position: Marlene is currently a Research Assistant at Sunnybrook Research Institute.

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

Sandeep Mishra

  • (2004-2005)

Past Research: While working with ABEL Sandeep looked at evolutionary psychology, behaviour and sociobiology. 

Current Position: Sandeep is now an Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at the University of Regina.

James Morrison

  • (2012)

Past Research: While working with ABEL he researched isotocin and brains in social fish.

Current Position: James did his Master's in Neuroscience and got his MBA. Currently he works as a Behavioural Economics Consultant at PwC.

Gheeda Mourtada

Gheeda is a third year student in Psychology, Neuroscience and Behavior (PNB). She is currently completing a summer project with Matt Salena that explores behavioural differences between non-social and social cichlids. She is also helping with ABEL's annual population monitoring of round goby in Hamilton Harbour.

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!

Umeshaa Pararajasingham

  • (2009-2010)

Past Research: Umeshaa's project looked at feeding behaviour of the round roby.

Current Position: Umeshaa now works as a Policy Analyst for the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

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."

Lianne Ralph

  • (2016-2018)

Past Research: Lianne was both a project student and a volunteer and was helping out with both the diet study and with video coding for our studies of the effects of wastewater on fishes.  

Current Position: Lianne recently graduated from PNB at McMaster University.

Max Rannie

  • (2011-2012)

Past Research: Max's independent research project was on sex discrimination and preference in social fish.

Current Position: Max recently got his Doctor of Medicine (MD) at the Medical University of the Americas.

Kate Raymond

  • (2016-2017)

Past Research: Kate is a graduated PNB student. 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. 

Current Position: Kate is currently working as a Research & Accessibility Assistant at SickKids Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning 

Pakeezah Saadat

  • (2016)

Past Research: Pakeezah's dissected round goby for multiple projects.

Current Position: Pakeezah is getting her Masters at McMaster in the  Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact.

Reda Sanjay

  • (2014-2015)

Past Research: During their project with ABEL, they helped with the round goby population monitoring of Hamilton Harbour.

Current Position: Reda has graduated from McMaster University.

Maha Siddiqui

Maha is a third year student in the Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour program. She joined the lab in September 2018 as a project student, and her work focuses on how environmental factors affect the reproductive quality of plainfin midshipman fish. 

Danya Taylor

  • (2004-2005)

Past Research: Danya's project focused on the role of humour in social interactions.

 

Braeden Terpou

  • (2014)

Past Research: Braeden's project focused on brood abandonment in the Plainfin Midshipman.

Current Position: Braeden did his undergrad thesis in Sue Becker's lab and graduated in 2017. He now studies Neuroscience at Western University.

 

Ajay Thaker

  • (2014-2016)

Past Research: Ajay did an undergrad project where he looked at the Plainfin Midshipman reproductive success and round goby population monitoring.

Current Position: He now studies Dentistry at Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Alexis Torkos

Alexis is a fourth year Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour student that joined ABEL in September of 2018 as a volunteer. She is now working on a project with Matthew Salena, researching social cognition in cichlid fish using comparative analyses between cichlid species. 

Nicolas Tsui

Past Research: Nicholas Tsui is a recent graduate of Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behaviour (PNB). In 2017, Nick joined ABEL as an undergraduate project student responsible for population monitoring round gobies in Hamilton Harbour.  Aside from setting traps and collecting gobies in the field, he measured, weighed and dissected samples for our ongoing round goby studies.

Current position: Nick is a recent graduate from McMaster.

Tiffany Tsui

  • (2011)

Past Research: While at ABEL she looked at social networks in cooperatively breeding fish.

Current Position: After graduating, Tiffany became a research assistant at Offord Centre

Adrienne Yau

Adrienne is a 3rd year Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour student who joined ABEL in September 2021 as a project student. She is currently working with Sina to investigate Vertical Migration behaviour in baby round goby. Her responsibilities include habituating baby round goby to light and dark conditions and scoring the fish recordings. When Adrienne is not in the lab, she is busy sewing plushies based on her drawings (or anything her friends’ request)! 🙂

Andrea Yu

  • (2005-2006)

Past Research: Andrea's research with ABEL focused on cooperative breeding in cichlid fish.

Current Position: Andrea is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and content writer reporting on food, drink and culture.Her writing has appeared in the Toronto Star, enRoute, Canadian Traveller, Post City, MENU Magazine,Escapism Toronto and Narratively.

Yinan Zhang

  • (2016-2017)

Past Research: Yinan was an Honors Life Science student who joined the ABEL lab in 2016.  She worked with Ph.D. candidate Aneesh Bose on how the lunar cycle affects the reproduction of Midshipman fish. She examined the cohort ages of nests obtained from BC.

Past High School Co-Op Students

Jonathan Miller

Member: 2004-2005

Tabitha Mirza

I am a high school co-op student and joined ABEL in the summer of 2018 as a component of my SHSM - the e program - at Pauline Johnson C&VS.  I am very interested in marine biology and I have had the opportunity to gain experience in the lab by participating in population monitoring of the round goby and zone of impact, assisting in trials for an undergrad thesis, conducting dissections and overall lending a hand wherever and whenever I can. 

Maria Pricop

  • (2017-2018)

Past Research: Maria was our grade 12 co-op student in 2017. She had a lot to learn and helped out our lab members in anything they require an extra pair of hands with, although most of her contributions so far have pertained to the round goby project. Her beliefs align with those of our fish; just keep swimming and you won't drown (in school work and poor time management skills). Fortunately, she gained a lot from her placement and is happy to report she now has an inkling of what she wants to do with her life, having a keen interest in evolutionary biology and animal behaviour.

Current Position: Maria has just graduated high school and will be coming back to McMaster in the fall of 2018 as a first year Integrated Science student. Congrats Maria!

Past Research Assistants

Jennifer Beneteau

  • (2005-2006)

Past Research: While working with ABEL, Jennifer studied the cooperatively breeding fish, Neolamprologus pulcher.

Current Position: She started her PhD at Simon Fraser University in 2009.

Kate Brower

Kate Brouwer is a third year student in environmental life sciences at Queen’s University. Kate is working as a Research Assistant at ABEL for the first time this year. She is working on a summer project about the husbandry of fathead minnows, a new species to ABEL, as well as population monitoring round gobies.

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.

Natasha Leadbeater

  • (2015-2017)

Past Research: Natasha is a graduated PNB student, who specialized in mental health.  She started in October 2015 as an ABEL work-study student.  She headed up the Round Goby population monitoring study all summer and the helped to 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.

Helen Macdougall-Shackleton

Helen (pictured on the right) is a third year undergraduate student in the Integrated Science program, and is particularly interested in ecology, animal behaviour, and evolution. She will join ABEL for the 2021 summer field season as a research assistant, where she will work with Jan to study the impacts of caffeine on fathead minnow behaviour and physiology. In her spare time, Helen enjoys drawing, playing the cello, and consuming environmentally-relevant levels of caffeine.

Alyssa Schermel

  • (2007-2008)

Past Research: While working with ABEL Alyssa focused on round goby from lake Ontario.

Current Position: Alyssa is currently a Research Assistant in Nutritional Sciences at University of Toronto

Past Undergraduate Volunteers

Luke Brenton

Luke is a third year student pursuing Honours degrees in the Arts and Science and Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behaviour programs. He is currently working on a summer project exploring comparative cichlid behaviour/cognition between social and non-social species, as well as helping out with the population monitoring project.

Jacqueline Garnett

Jacqueline joined ABEL in September 2017 to volunteer for the round goby project. As a project student in the Winter 2018 term she collected information on the presence of accessory glands in teleosts. She now continues on that project as a volunteer.

Shivani Kadakia

  • (2013-2014)

Past Position: Shivani volunteered to help out in the lab. They took part in lab maintenance and helped with checking on the health of our fish.

Preet Kaur

  • (2013-2014)

Past Research: Preet was in charge of lab maintenance and performing fish health checks.

Current Position: Preet graduated from McMaster in 2015.

 

Michelle Ogrondik

  • (2014-2015)

Past Research: Michelle was a lab volunteer who worked hard to keep the lab well maintained and the fish healthy.

Current Position: Michelle is completing her Master’s Degree in the NeuroFit Lab of the Department of Kinesiology. 

 

Colleen Paris

  • (2016-2017)

Colleen is an 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 worked to help maintain the fish rooms to ensure that all fish are living in safe and optimal conditions.

Twishna Patel

  • (2011)

Past Position: Twishna volunteered to help out in the lab. They took part in lab maintenance and helped with checking on the health of our fish.

Thipiga Sivayogathan

  • (2016)

Past Position: Thipiga was a big help in the lab, they took part in lab maintenance such as tank care and helped with checking on the health of fish.

Kajeevan Yogathan

  • (2013-2014)

Past Position: Kajeevan volunteered to help out in the lab. They took part in lab maintenance and helped with checking on the health of our fish.

Past 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.

Sam Ali

Sam is a 2nd year Health Sciences Student. He is taking care of the cichlid fish tanks as well as doing weekly dissections of round goby. In his free time, will find Sam on the field playing soccer. Sam owns his very own betta fish!

Jeff Deminchuk

Jeff is an escaped university student who has recently been returned to school after spending several years in the wild. Joining ABEL as a volunteer in September 2018, he’s interested in the evolutionary factors that lead to cooperation and conflict. If he’s not in the lab finding his inner freshwater Nemo, he can be spotted playing cards at a poker table or at the gym training in Muay Thai kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Grant Fortin

  • (2011)

Past Research: Grant did a sediment analyses of Hamilton Harbour.

Yash Joshi

Yash is a 2nd year Integrated Science student concentrating in Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behaviour who joined ABEL in January 2022 as a project student. He is currently working with Adrienne on research aimed research looking at how particular personality traits in fish link to the probability of entering in a trap. Outside of the lab, Yash loves playing and watching various sports, as well as going for hikes.

 

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.

Torri Pyett

  • DFO field research assistant

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

Member: 2013-2014

Sue Vu Thu

Sue is in her second year of the Biology-Physiology program at McMaster University. She joined ABEL as a volunteer in the summer of 2020 with a keen interest in studying animal behavioural and evolutionary ecology. In her free time, she loves playing her musical instruments, volunteering to rehabilitate wild animals, and watching standup comedy!

Alex Limin Wang

  • (2017-2018)

Past Research: Alex joined the lab as a volunteer in May 2017.  She was helping with the round goby population monitoring project and with lab maintenance and fish care.

Current Position: Alex has graduated from McMaster in June 2018.

Past Staff

Sherry Du

Sherry was ABEL's lab manager over the summer of 2017.  Sherry worked 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.

Amy Kalbfeisch

Amy Kalbfleisch has returned to the position of ABEL's Lab Manager, She was a previous Project Student extraordinaire in the lab. Amy is responsible for the round goby population monitoring project for all field based research.  She also helps with general maintenance and organization of the lab and helping wherever it is needed!  She is  also kept busy working on an project exploring the social networks in cichlids and aging of redside dace.   

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!

Victoria Winslow

Victoria is a fourth year Biology Discovery student who joined the lab in November 2019 as a volunteer and a project student. This summer Victoria has been working as a research assistant for the lab and has started doing her data collection for her undergraduate thesis starting in the Fall of 2020. Her research focuses on investigating the differences in temperature tolerance between guarder and sneaker males in the invasive round goby.