CREATE Alumni

These trainees have moved on to other things.....and this is what they are up to now!

Tom Hossie – Postdoctoral Fellow (Trent University)

Amphibian conservation and predator-prey interactions

Supervisor: Dennis Murray
CREATE Program: 2015-16

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Michelle DiLeo - Ph.D. (University of Toronto)

Determining landscape effects on plant populations

Supervisor: Helene Wagner
CREATE Program: 2016

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Kim Morris – M.Sc. (Trent University)

Thesis title: Genomic impacts of hybridization between domestic and wild American mink

Supervisors: Jeff Bowman and Paul Wilson
CREATE Program: 2015-17
Thesis defended April 2017

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Eric Hileman – PDF (Trent University)

Parameter estimation of vertebrate populations using retrospective (capture-recapture modeling) and prospective (simulation or matrix modeling) techniques

Supervisor: Paul Wilson
CREATE Program: 2017

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Mike Brown - M.Sc. (Trent University)

Thesis title: De novo transcriptome assembly, functional annotation, and SNP discovery in North American flying squirrels

Supervisors: Jeff Bowman and Paul Wilson
CREATE Program: 2016-18
Thesis defended May 2018

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Danielle Beaulne - M.Sc. (Queen's University)

Thesis Title: TBA

Supervisor: Georgia Fotopoulos
CREATE Program: 2016-2018
Thesis defended April 2018

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Rebekah Horn - PDF (Trent University)

Population genomics and conservation management of North American caribou

Supervisor: Paul Wilson
CREATE Program: 2018

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Alex Myette - MSc (Trent University)

Thesis Title: Enduring Attack: Defensive Posture in Terrestrial Salamanders (Genus: Ambystoma) and their Predator-Prey Interactions on Pelee Island, Canada

Supervisor: Dennis Murray
CREATE Program: 2015-2018
Thesis defended July 2018

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Chris Blackford - MSc (University of Toronto)

Thesis Title: Connectivity coarse filter approach for Marine Protected Area Network Design

Supervisor: Marie-Josee Fortin
CREATE Program: 2015-2018
Thesis defended August 2018

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Liz Kierepka - Postdoctoral fellow (Trent University)

Landscape genetics, spatial statistics, simulation modeling and GIS technology

Supervisor: Dennis Murray
CREATE Program: 2017-18

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Justin Johnson - MSc (Trent University)

Thesis Title: Assessing molecular and ecological differentiation in wild carnivores

Supervisors: Dennis Murray & Aaron Shafer
CREATE Program: 2016-2018
Thesis defended October 2018

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Tom Hossie – Postdoctoral Fellow (Trent University)

Project Description: While a CREATE trainee, Tom studied the interface of population ecology and landscape genetics to help identify and mitigate threats to the long-term viability of small-mouthed salamander (Amystoma texanum), whose entire Canadian population is restricted to Pelee Island, in southwestern Ontario. He also worked on investigating the factors that shape the predator’s functional response and developing eDNA techniques to monitor Canadian amphibians. During this time, he mentored and trained other CREATE trainees and secured an NSERC PDF grant to ‘reconcile stable coexistence and “hybrid” superiority in populations of Amystoma salamanders’.

Tom is still associated with the Murray lab at Trent University and mentors other CREATE trainees but is currently an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Biology.

Website

Michelle DiLeo - Ph.D. (University of Toronto)

Project Description: Michelle joined the CREATE program late in her PhD work, where she assessed the effect of habitat fragmentation on contemporary pollen flow with paternity analysis of a forb species of concern (Pulsatilla vulgaris) in calcareous grasslands in Central Europe. During her time with CREATE, she worked on genotyping of P. vulgaris seed embryos with microsatellite markers, analyzing paternity with different software packages, analyzing GIS spatial data, and analyzing landscape genetic data.

In September 2016, Michelle started a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Helsinki.

 

Kim Morris – M.Sc. (Trent University)

Research Project:  Kim’s research focused on characterizing functional genes in American mink thought to be associated with traits affected by domestication. Through the analysis of these genetic markers she wanted to determine how ‘re-introduction’ events are affecting genetic diversity and observe if domestic mink functional genes are persisting in wild populations.

In July 2017, Michelle worked as a Wildlife DNA Research Technician for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry (Peterborough, ON) and then in March 2018, she accepted a Genomics Technician position at the USDA Lab in Hawaii!

Eric Hileman – PDF (Trent University)

Research Interests:  Much of Eric’s research involves parameter estimation of vertebrate populations using retrospective techniques, such as traditional and spatially explicit capture-recapture modeling, or prospective techniques, using simulations or matrix models. Due to work with threatened species, his research results are often used to inform state, provincial, and federal conservation strategies.

While at Trent University, he co-authored a technical report for the Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development titled, Estimating boreal caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) abundance in Alberta, Canada, using non-invasive sampling and capture-recapture methods (P.J. Wilson, M. Manseau, N Arnason and E.T. Hileman).

In November 2017, Eric took a position as a Research Ecologist at the Fort Collins Science Center (US Geological Service).

Mike Brown - M.Sc. (Trent University)

Research Project:  Mike’s research focused on identifying functional genes being exchanged through introgressive hybridization between southern (Glaucomys volans) and northern flying squirrels (G. sabrinus) using Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology.

Professional Placement:  Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry (Peterborough, ON).

In May 2018, Mike took a Natural Heritage & Invasive Species Biologist position at the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry (Peterborough, ON).

Danielle Beaulne - M.Sc. (Queen's University)

Research Project:  Danielle’s research project integrated both remote sensing data (airborne LiDAR, TerraSAR-X, panchromatic and multi-spectral imagery) with small-scale (DNA-level) datasets to generate a robust model of a landscape and predict and model species’ distribution and dispersal for a small chorus frog (Pseudacris crucifer).

Professional Placement:  Land Conservancy of Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox Addington (Kingston, Ontario)

In May 2018, Danielle started her PhD. with Dr. Georgia Fotopoulos at Queen’s, continuing on in the CREATE Enviro program!

Rebekah Horn - PDF (Trent University)

Research Interests:  Rebekah is interested in the field of population genomics, with an emphasis on species conservation.  While at Trent, she used whole genome markers to reconstruct the evolutionary history of multiple ecotypes of North American caribou, which is complicated by the glacial history of North America and introgression events between lineages after glacial retreat. She was also involved with researching why contemporary genetic distinctiveness is maintained among caribou ecotypes despite range overlap and known historical introgression.

In June 2018, Rebekah took a position as a Fisheries Geneticist at the Hagerman Genetics Lab with the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission in Hagerman, Idaho.

Alex Myette - MSc (Trent University)

Research Project:  Alex studied predator-prey interactions on isolated Pelee Island (Lake Erie) in southwestern Ontario, particularly how defensive behaviours in salamanders are perceived by predators. His research also assessed the potential threat of predation on the small-mouth salamander Ambystoma texanum, a species-at-risk in Canada with a range restricted to Pelee Island, which will hopefully better inform future conservation efforts.

Professional Placement:  Peterborough Field Naturalists – Alex assisted on a study of brook trout populations in Harper Creek in Peterborough, developed stream assessment protocols, and determined the best ‘citizen science’ App for use in Harper Park (June to Sept 2017).

Chris Blackford - MSc (University of Toronto)

Research Project:  Chris’s project involved proposing an optimal spatial network of Marine Protected Areas based on conservation value in the Canadian Pacific Ocean. He quantified their spatial distribution, size distribution, and protection type (i.e. which MPAs have what IUCN value) at multiple spatial scales and optimize MPA network using MARXAN.

Website

Professional Placement: Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS)-B.C. Chapter – Chris worked on a mapping project of Marine Protected Areas in Vancouver in the summer of 2017.

Liz Kierepka - Postdoctoral fellow (Trent University)

Research Interests:  Liz was involved with a comparative investigation of genetic structure across mesocarnivores to identify life history traits that predict genetic differentiation in Canada, as well as investigating the effects of spatial ambiguity on landscape genetic results. She also helped develop online graduate-level courses in Principles of Environmental Monitoring and Assessment and Landscape Ecology for the CREATE Enviro program and new Masters of Bioenvironmental Monitoring & Assessment (M.BEMA) Program at Trent University

In October 2018, Liz started a new postdoctoral position with Dr. Benjamin Sacks at the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at UC Davis (Sacramento, CA).

Justin Johnson - MSc (Trent University)

Research Project:  Justin compared niche models of parental canid species (eastern wolves & coyotes) and hybrids, and used epiGBS to identify signatures linked to adaptive responses in wild felids (lynx).

Website

Professional Placement:  Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (Peterborough) – this work involved generating a minimum viable population estimate for Algonquin Park’s Eastern wolves in 2017.

In November 2018, Justin started his PhD with Dr. Jochen Wolf at LMU Munich in Germany.

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