Lac Hertel

Fussmann Lab
Department of Biology

Lab Members - Former Undergraduate Students

Katie Hindson

Katie McGill Quantitative Biology Honours student (2015/16)

My research is concerned with modeling nutrient-limited growth in phytoplankton. Using mathematical models, I look at how and if phytoplankton can successfully evolve to overcome the negative effects of nutrient limitation.

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Carine Chuhong Zheng

Carine McGill Biology Honours student (2015/16)

I am a U4 biology student and I joined the Fussmann lab in June 2015 to work on an Honours project. Under the guidance of Felipe Dargent, I am collecting empirical results from the Daphnia-parasite system in order to learn about dilution and amplification effects.

Abigail Howard

Abby U2 Undergraduate Student McGill
Research Assistant

I help PhD student Felipe Dargent with the maintenance of the lab, with keeping the fish and parasite cultures happy and with running experiments on the evolution of defence against parasites. I also help postdoctoral fellow Romana Limberger and PhD student Monica Granados with their ciliate cultures.

You also might want to check out my comic webpage.

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Lisa Chen

Lisa Chen U3 Undergraduate Student McGill
Independent Studies 2012

Populations of the same species that live in different environments often evolve different lifestyle preferences due to different natural selection pressures.

In close collaboration with Felipe Dargent, my work involves studying female mate choice in different populations of Poecilia reticulata to test whether populations have evolved preferences to mate within their own populations over the few years they have been separated from each other.

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Anna Luz

Anna Luz U2 Undergraduate Student McGill
Independent Studies 2012

I investigate how the presence of ectoparasites affects the resistance and life history of guppies. In the Phytotron greenhouse I perform experiments with fish that are exposed to odours from other guppies infected with the monogenean parasite Gyrodactylus. I then will test whether resistance to subsequent parasite infection differs from resistance of fish in a control group. I closely collaborate with PhD student Felipe Dargent.

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Sang Hun Han

Sang Hun Han

Undergraduate Student McGill

I started working in the Fussmann lab in January 2009.

As a work study student I help PhD student Felipe Dargent with his experiments on the evolution of resistance and tolerance in a fish-parasite system.

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Sarah Pease

Sarah Pease Undergraduate Student McGill
Undergraduate Research Assistant 2010

I started working in the Fussmann lab in June 2010.

I am part of the AquaMen project on mussel aquaculture in Quebec. I work with graduate students Monica Granados and Sean Duffy. This summer (2010) we are setting up mussel grazing experiments at the Institut Maurice Lamontagne and a large-scale, in-situ mesocosm experiment at our field site in the Magdalen Islands.

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Tyler Bao

Tyler Bao Undergraduate Student McGill
Work Study Student 2009/2010

I worked in the Fussmann lab from June to July 2010.

I worked with PhD student Caolan Kovach-Orr. We were setting up experiments to investigate the effect that permanent and induced defences of planktonic rotifers have on community stability.

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Brianna Levenstein

Brianna Levenstein

Undergraduate Student McGill
Work Study Student 2010

Until June 2010 I helped postdoc Alison Derry with her chemostat experiments on eco-evolutionary dynamics.

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Issei Massunaga

Issei Massunaga Undergraduate Student McGill
Independent Studies 2009/2010

I helped developing effective methods to induce spine formation and elongation in the rotifers of the Brachionus genus in response to a kairomone produced by rotifers of the Asplanchna genus.

This research was supervised by PhD student Caolan Kovach-Orr and related to his research on the relative importance of genetic and phenotypic diversity.

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Genevieve Clark

Genevieve Clark

Undergraduate Student McGill
Work Study Student 2009

I started working for the Fussmann lab in June 2009.

As a work study student I helped PhD student Caolan Kovach-Orr with his experiments on phenotypic plasticity in plankton colonies.

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Valerie Vinette

Valerie Vinette

Undergraduate Student McGill
Work Study Student 2008/2009

I started working in the Fussmann lab in September 2008.

As a work study student I took care of phytoplankton and zooplankton cultures.

I also assisted postdoc Alison Derry with her experiments on eco-evolutionary dynamics.

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Noah Dewar

Noah Dewar

Undergraduate Student McGill
Work Study Student 2009

I started working in the Fussmann lab in May 2009.

As a work study student I help PhD student Caolan Kovach-Orr with his experiments on inducible traits in plankton communities.

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Ekaterina (Katia) Yakushina

Ekaterina Yakushina

Undergraduate Student McGill
Independent Studies, Fall/Winter 2008/09

I am a U3 Biology student, and I have joined Dr. Fussmann's lab as an Independent Studies student.

I am investigating how CO2 impacts plankton species at higher trophic levels. I am currently exposing different species of herbivorous rotifers and their algal food to ambient and elevated levels of CO2.

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Xiao Xiao

Xiao Xiao

Undergraduate Student McGill
Sura Summer Student 2007
McGill Biology Honours Student 2007/2008

I am interested in the analysis of population interactions (predation, competition, etc) using both the theoretical and experimental approaches. In summer 2007 I studied the coexistence of 2 predators on a single prey species with mathematical analysis and computer simulation, and compared the coexistence range of the 2 predator species in several different model systems.

For my Honours project I switched to a more experimental approach, working on the potential density-dependent dispersal of two species of the rotifer Brachionus. My work showed that there is no significant density-dependent dispersal in our experimental system, the reason of which is still to be determined.

In September 2008 I start as a PhD student in Ecology at Utah State University.

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Matthew Feeley

Matthew Feeley

Undergraduate Student McGill
Independent Studies 2007/2008

I am studying the effects of predator-induced spine formation on competitive dynamics in rotifers. My research is focused on spine formation in two different Brachionus calyciflorus clones after exposure to a factor, specifically a kairomone, produced by the omnivorous rotifer species Asplanchna priodonta. Thus far, I have found that one Brachionus clone, named IGB, outcompetes another clone regardless of whether or not spines are induced. I hope to further examine this clonal competition using a second predatory rotifer species, Asplanchna brightwelli.

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Yujing Wang

Yujing Wang

Undergraduate Student McGill
Undergraduate Research Assistant and Volunteer 2006, 2008

I am a U2 Anthropology and Biomedical Sciences student who has both worked and volunteered at Dr. Fussmann's lab.

I'm helping Will Spitzer with his research project on predator and prey interactions. I am also taking care of bacteria and ciliate cultures.

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Kate Huebner

Kate Huebner

Undergraduate Student McGill
Independent Studies 2008
Volunteer

In the winter semester 2008 I undertook an Independent Research Reading Project with Dr. Fussmann. I explored the historical development of taxonomy and its role for modern ecology. More specifically, I investigated how taxonomic progress and revisions influence the scientific interpretation of a published study on invasive and native collembola in Hawaii.

Currently, I am an occasional volunteer in the lab and help Etienne Low-Décarie with his work on algal evolution and CO2.

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Anil Patel

Anil Patel

Undergraduate Student McGill
Work Study Student 2008

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Daniel Clement

Daniel Clement

Undergraduate Student McGill
Volunteer 2007/2008

I helped produce a long-term data set on the potential for coexistence of rotifer species in chemostats. I sampled and counted rotifers of the two species Brachionus calyciflorus and B. havanaensis.

In this project, we were interested in the competitive dynamics of the two species with only one algal resource. We showed that, as expected, one species outcompeted the other in a homogeneous environment. However, when we grew the rotifers in connected vessels with different temperatures (with the Sartorius Biostat Q4 chemostat apparatus) coexistence was possible.

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Kosmas Papailiadis

Kosmas Papailiadis

Undergraduate Student McGill
NSERC USRA Summer Student 2007

I am interested in competition dynamics in rotifers and their response to varying resource concentrations.

I work with the species Brachionus havanaensis and Brachionus calyciflorus by determining their growth rates at different algal concentrations as well as measuring their densities in chemostats.

This allows me to witness interspecific competition for resources between these two species as well as testing the Rosenzweig-MacArthur model (expanded for 2 species competing for one resource) by comparing my results to the results predicted by the model.

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Susan Bragg

Susan Bragg

Undergraduate Student McGill
Volunteer, Summer 2007

I am interested in spine formation in rotifers.

The predator, Asplanchna brightwelli, releases a factor (a so-called kairomone) that induces spine formation in its prey, Brachionus. This spine is a defence mechanism, making the rotifers much harder to consume.

I work with different strains of Brachionus calyciflorus to measure and compare their responses when exposed to this factor.

Click here for a photo showing posterior spine formation in Brachionus calyciflorus induced by medium conditioned with the predator Asplanchna brightwelli.

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Zusanna Zachara-Szczakowski

Zusanna Zachara-Szczakowski

Undergraduate Student McGill
Work Study Student 2006 - 2007

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Keren Tang

Keren Tang

Undergraduate Student McGill
Independent Studies Student 2006 - 2007

I graduated in May 2007 from McGill University with a major in biology.

For my final year independent project in the Fussmann "Rotifer" lab, I explored the debate between biotic resistance and facilitation by working on two experiments in a laboratory microcosm setting. I used zooplankton (rotifer) and phytoplankton, examining the interaction between an established community and non-indigenous species. In the first experiment I examined the facilitative relationship between a pre-adapted zooplankton-phytoplankton pair that invaded “na‘ve” plankton cultures in the laboratory. Although both invasive populations crashed, the community experienced dramatic variation in size and structure. These may be attributed to the introduction of the species pair and even more importantly, to environmental stochasticity over time.

In Experiment II investigated the interaction between the community (with varying levels of rotifer species richness) and an introduced rotifer species, and concluded that community species composition plays a far greater role than species richness in deterring invasion (p < 0.001). This is consistent with previous results, especially in terrestrial plant studies. By taking a community ecology approach, these experiments contribute to the overall understanding of the dynamics of invasive species.

While the plankton community and the experience of designing, conducting and summarizing a study were highly stimulating, I decided to bring my passion for science to the great barren desert of the beautiful northwestern New Mexico. Here I teach middle school science on the Navajo Native American Indian Reservation, closing the education gap that continues to taunt this continent.

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Dian Luo

Dian Luo

Undergraduate Student McGill
Independent Studies Student 2006

In my Independent Studies project I studied the "Differential effects of species and genetic diversity on community dynamics." I manipulated the diversity of the top trophic level of an experimental community, rotifers of the genus Brachionus, in four different ways and evaluated the community response to the stressor "increased temperature."

At the lowest level of diversity all top trophic level individuals belonged to the same clone of Brachionus calyciflorus; the second level contained four B. calyciflorus clones from the same location; the third level four different clones of B. calyciflorus from locations all over the world; and finally, at the highest level of diversity, the community comprised clones of three different Brachionus species (B. calyciflorus, B. havanaensis and B. rubens).

I hypothesized that resistance of the Brachionus populations to heat stress would increase with levels of diversity increasing from within-species to between-species diversity.

The experimental results broadly confirmed this expectation. However, I observed no differences among any of the within-species diversity levels. In this experiment, only the highest diversity level (species diversity) served as a "buffer" against heat stress. B. havanaensis proved to be the most heat-resistant species and survived while the other two species (and clones) became extinct.

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Emily Redmond

Emily Redmond

Undergraduate Student McGill
Independent Studies Student 2006

I joined the lab in 2006 for my Undergraduate Independent Studies project.

I used protein allozyme analysis as a method to identify different strains of Brachionus calyciflorus in experimental cultures.

In conclusion, DNA-based methods are probably superior when it comes to quantification of clonal frequencies. However, I was able to show that even moderate levels of genetic diversity can have drastic effects on the population dynamics.

In the summer of 2007 I re-joined the lab and will try to refine molecular methods to track rotifer clonal frequencies in mixed cultures.

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Claire Gong

Claire Gong

Undergraduate Student McGill
Work Study Student 2005 - 2006

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Katherine Priestley

KatherinePriestley

Undergraduate Student McGill
Independent Studies Student 2005

I started working in the Fussmann lab as an undergraduate independent studies student.

My first project examined competition between two rotifer species for a single food source.

Since then I have had the chance to get involved in a number of other projects, including food web studies and even some molecular work.

These opportunities to assist each other on such a variety of topics are part of what makes working in this lab so enjoyable!

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Mahmoud Labib

Mahmoud Labib

Undergraduate Student McGill
Independent Studies Student 2006

I am interested in the mixis behaviour in rotifers.

I mainly work with the rotifer Brachionus calyciflorus in which mixis is elicited by a factor that is produced by females when a culture reaches a density threshold. This work was recently published in Fussmann, Kramer & Labib (2007).

I am also interested in molecular ecology. I am currently working on finding genetic markers between clones of Brachionus calyciflorus, which are morphologically indistinguishable, by carrying out restriction enzyme analysis and RFLP analysis.

Once these markers are found, we will be able to follow the ecological dynamics of a rotifer populations made up of clones that are morphologically indistinguishable.

Watch my rotifer movie: ( 0:46 min ), wmplayer logo ( v.11; 3.2 MB), divx logo ( 3.2 MB ), on YouTube

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Deepa Rao

Deepa Rao

Undergraduate Student McGill
Work Study Student 2005

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Yuliette Yip

Yuliette Yip

Undergraduate Student McGill
Independent Studies Student 2005

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Maude Brochu

Maude Brochu

Undergraduate Student McGill
Undergraduate Research Assistant 2004

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Gregory Kramer

Gregory Kramer

Undergraduate Student McGill
Independent Studies Student 2004

I graduated with a BSc. in Biology from McGill University in 2005 and have now gone back to school for a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

After completing an independent studies project with Professor Fussmann in 2004, I was fortunate enough to be able to work as a research assistant in his lab on a wide variety of projects. Our work on mixis in the rotifer Brachionus calyciflorus was recently published in Fussmann, Kramer & Labib (2007).

Current projects include food web dynamics as well as various competition experiments.

Apart from helping the other research assistants and students with experimental set-up and execution, I am responsible for equipment maintenance and general handy work around the lab.

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Michael Wang

Michael Wang

Undergraduate Student McGill
Work Study Student 2005 - 2006

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