The Cristescu Lab



Lab Members




Michaela Harris
MSc Candidate
 

 

RNA Metabarcoding to Detect Ecologically Active AIS.

Aquatic invasive species (AIS) may have devastating ecological and economic impacts on Canadian coasts, particularly given current increases in shipping traffic. Early and rapid detection of AIS is necessary to monitor invasions and inform management policy. Metabarcoding of DNA markers has allowed for the detection of low abundance species, such as newly established AIS, more effectively than traditional monitoring methods. However, DNA metabarcoding also detects contamination from dead organisms that do not pose an invasion threat. RNA degrades more rapidly than DNA, and so, should only be detected in living organisms. I would like to investigate the use of metabarcoding with RNA markers in order to detect ecologically active species, which may pose a greater risk of invasion. .

Publications

  • Harris AM, Moore AM, Lowen JB, DiBacco C (in press) Seasonal reproduction of the non-native vase tunicate Ciona intestinalis (Linnaeus, 1767) in Nova Scotia, Canada, in relation to water temperature. Aquatic Invasions.

Scholarships and Awards

  • Canadian Graduate Scholarship – Master’s Program, NSERC, 2016
  • Philip Carpenter Fellowship, McGill University, 2016
  • Graduate Excellence Award, McGill University, 2016
  • Dalhousie In-class Scholarship, Dalhousie University, 2013, 2014 and 2015
  • Hugh P. Bell Scholarship, Dalhousie University, 2014 and 2015
  • Schulich Leader In-class Scholarship, Dalhousie University, 2014
  • Louise McKinney Post-Secondary Scholarship, Government of Alberta, 2014
  • APEGA Millennium Scholarship, The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta, 2013
  • David Dougall Memorial Bursary, Dalhousie University, 2013
  • NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award, Dalhousie University, 2013
  • Jason Lang Scholarship, Government of Alberta, 2012
  • President’s Admission Scholarship, University of Calgary, 2011
  • Alexander Rutherford Scholarship, Government of Alberta, 2011

Presentations

  • Harris AM, DiBacco C. (2015) Seasonal reproductive patterns in the non-native vase tunicate (Ciona intestinalis) in relation to in-situ temperature tolerances. Dalhousie University Cameron Conference, Halifax, NS, January.
  • Harris AM, DiBacco C. (2015) Seasonal reproductive patterns in the non-native vase tunicate (Ciona intestinalis) in relation to in-situ temperature tolerances. Science Atlantic Undergraduate Aquaculture & Fisheries and Biology Conference, Moncton, NB, March.


   


Contact Information
Michaela Harris
B.Sc., Dalhousie University

Department of Biology
McGill University
1205 Avenue Docteur Penfield
Room S3/6A
Montréal, Québec

Office: (514) 398-1622
Fax: (514) 398-5069
Anna.michaela.harris[AT]mail.mcgill.ca