Jennifer Sunahar

B.Sc. in Biology from McGill University
Field and lab experience in research
Currently working at the L. Chapman Laboratory, McGill

Phone: (514) 688-7964


I am a recent graduate of McGill University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology, and a keen interest in Ecology, particularly of freshwater systems. As a result of certain courses taken during my undergraduate studies, I have gained research experience both in the lab and the field, primarily on fishes. Currently, I am a volunteer at the L. Chapman Laboratory in the Department of Biology. I am also working on an entomology project at the Bede Laboratory in the Department of Plant Sciences of McGill University.

For more information about my research experience and other qualifications, please see my curriculum vitae.

current research

I am currently assisting Dr. Suzanne Gray with her post-doctoral research that explores the influence of turbidity on the maintenance of aquatic biodiversity. Dr. Gray is investigating morphological, behavioural, and colour variation in a suite of East African fishes that cross strong environmental gradients in the field.

I am responsible for standardizing the photographs of the African cyprinid Barbus neumayeri in Adobe Photoshop, then analysing the colour in Sigma Scan Pro. The analysis in question compares the amount of yellow and red pigment of the fish between and within populations. We are exploring habitat-associated divergence in colour patterns across turbidity gradients.

Barbus neumayeri

past research

Previously, I assisted with the Masterĺ─˘s research of Elizabeth Nyboer. She was investigating the fishing induced ecological change in the large predatory fish Nile Perch (Lates niloticus) in Lake Nabugabo, Uganda.

I was responsible for processing and analysing photographs of the Nile perch in Adobe Photoshop. The analysis in question compares the colour (within a range) and the luminosity of the fish between habitats within the Lake Nabugabo to test for habitat-associated divergence.

Lates niloticus

During my undergraduate studies, I conducted an independent study on the gill size variation of a species of African cichlid, Pseudocrenilabrus multicolor victoriae. The objective of this study was to test for seasonal variation in the gill size of P. multicolor from a river site characterized by highly fluctuating dissolved oxygen conditions.

To meet this objective, I quantified a series of gill traits chosen to reflect both the shape of the gill and its ability to take up oxygen for specimens collected from the Mpanga River system of Uganda during periods of low and normal oxygen levels.

We hypothesised that the P. multicolor may have plastic gills; allowing them to deal with the seasonal variations of dissolved oxygen levels. Although one would intuitively think that low levels of dissolved oxygen availability would select for larger gills in fishes, the seasonal changes that I observed in gill traits of P. multicolor did not support this idea.

The study has been published in October 2010 issue of McGill Biology Student Unionĺ─˘s The Exon.

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Last update: Oct. 9, 2012