Elizabeth A. Nyboer
Ph.D. Candidate
Supervisor: Dr. Lauren Chapman
 
Contact Information:
McGill University,
Department of Biology
1205 Docteur Penfield
Room N3/11
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1B1
Tel.: 514-398-6192

elizabeth.nyboer@mail.mcgill.ca


Research


My Ph.D. research explores the degree to which anthropogenic stressors affect ecological change in natural populations, with an emphasis on tropical inland fisheries. Food fishes are a crucial source of livelihoods in developing nations making it vital that we understand how human influences affect the ecology of important stocks. I use a combination of experimental, observational, and meta-analytical approaches to predict how heavily-exploited tropical freshwater fishes respond to stressors related to climate change and fishing pressure. Specifically, I aim to understand how the Nile perch, an invasive but commercially valuable fish species in the Lake Victoria basin of East Africa, responds to these stressors. Relative to temperate marine systems, effects of exploitation and climate change on tropical inland waters have received little attention even though tropical fishes are predicted to be especially sensitive to global warming given their narrow thermal ranges and consequent sensitivity to deleterious effects of warmer temperatures and associated declines in oxygen levels. Thus, there is accelerating interest in predicting how climate change may contribute to ongoing dynamics in the Lake Victoria basin, in particular water quality and food security.









A local fisherman paddling out to check his gill nets on Nabugabo in the early morning


Education

2013 - present
Ph.D. candidate
McGill University, Department of Biology
Project Title: Climate change and fishing pressure in tropical inland waters.
Supervisor: Dr. Lauren Chapman

2010 - 2012

M.Sc., McGill University, Department of Biology.
Project Title: Fishing induced ecological change in Nile Perch (Lates niloticus) in Lake Nabugabo, Uganda.
Supervisor: Dr. Lauren Chapman

2008

B.Sc., Simon Fraser University
Double major in Biology and Humanities


Past Research

Master’s Research: Fishing-induced ecological change in Nile Perch

My master’s research examined movement patterns and habitat selection of Nile perch in Lake Nabugabo. I also quantified habitat-mediated divergence in morphological traits to better understand mechanisms by which intense fishing may contribute to ecological change in this species.

I used radio telemetry to track Nile perch for 5 months and analyzed these data in ArcGIS to evaluate home range, movement and habitat selection. Geometric morphometric analyses and computer-based colour analysis were used to quantify divergence in body shape and colour between two ecologically divergent habitats (wetland vs forest) in Lake Nabugabo.

Photo (right) : tracking Nile perch using radio telemetry

2009
Food web interactions of Pacific salmon in coastal aquatic ecosystems.

This research, conducted in collaboration with Dr. Wendy Palen at Simon Fraser University, aims to understand how energy originally fixed by plants (either terrestrial or aquatic) makes its way into food webs of interacting species that ultimately get consumed by juvenile Pacific salmon in coastal ecosystems.

We use information about aquatic macro-invertebrate species present at different places in the watershed (small shady upland streams to large sunny rivers) to evaluate how resource availability changes down the watershed, and compare these patterns with samples of juvenile salmon diet composition and stable isotope concentrations.

Photo (left) : habitat mapping on the South Fork Eel River, California

   


2008
Aggression and courtship behavior of the Mangrove killifish (Kryptolebias marmoratus)

This project investigated intra- and inter-sexual competition and mating strategies in a self-fertilizing hermaphrodite, the mangrove killifish. I conducted a number of behavioural experiments in the laboratory to study the influence of size and colour on the ability of the males of this species to outcompete conspecifics for resources and mating opportunities.
Supervisors: Dr. Isabelle M. Côté and Dr. Phillip P. Molloy

Photo (left) :A male mangrove killifish - pure males of this species make up a small percentage of a primarily hermaphroditic population.


Publications

  • Molloy PP, Nyboer EA & Côté IM. 2011. Male-male competition in a mixed mating fish. Ethology, 117: 586-596

  • Nyboer EA & Chapman LJ. 2013. Movement and home range of introduced Nile perch (Lates niloticus) in Lake Nabugabo, Uganda: Implications for ecological divergence and fisheries management. Fisheries Research, 137: 18-29

  • Nyboer EA & Chapman LJ. 2013. Ontogenetic shifts in phenotype-environment associations in Nile perch, Lates niloticus (Perciformes: Latidae) from Lake Nabugabo, Uganda. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. DOI:10.1111/bij.12122

Manuscripts submitted or in press

  • Nyboer EA, Gray SM & Chapman LJ. 2013. A colourful youth: ontogenetic colour change is habitat-specific in the invasive Nile perch. Submitted to Freshwater Biology, July 2013. Manuscript ID: FWB-P-Jul-13-0406

  • Vaccaro I, Chapman CA, Nyboer EA, Luke M, Byekwaso A, Morgan C, Mbabazi D, Twinomugisha D & Chapman LJ. 2013. An interdiscliplinary methodology to harmonize ecology, economy, and co-management: Fisheries exploitation in Lake Nabugabo, Uganda. [In press] African Journal of Aquatic Science. Manuscript ID: AJAS-2013-005





Affixing radio and data-storage
tags to a Nile perch


Conference Presentations

  • Nyboer EA & Chapman LJ. 2013. Movement, home range and eco-morphological divergence in Nile perch (Lates niloticus) in Lake Nabugabo, Uganda. National Fisheries Resources Research Institute of Uganda, Jinja. Oral presentation.
  • Nyboer EA& Chapman LJ. 2012. World Fisheries Congress, Edinburgh. Movement, home range and ecological divergence in the commercially fished Nile perch (Lates niloticus) in Lake Nabugabo, Uganda. Poster.
  • Nyboer EA& Chapman LJ. 2012.  Habitat-associated divergence of Nile perch in Lake Nabugabo, Uganda. Quebec Center for Biodiversity Science Annual Symposium. Oral presentation.
  • Nyboer EA& Chapman LJ. 2011. Movement, home range and vulnerability in the commercially fished Nile perch (Lates niloticus) in Lake Nabugabo, Uganda. Quebec Center for Biodiversity Science Annual Symposium. Oral presentation.
  • Nyboer EA& Chapman LJ. 2010. Ecological divergence in the commercially fished Nile Perch (Lates niloticus) in Lake Nabugabo, Uganda. Quebec Center for Biodiversity Science Annual Symposium. Oral presentation.
  • Nyboer EA, McCormick, JA, Courcelles DMM, Palen, WJ, Power ME, McNeely C, Limm M, Finlay J. 2009. Eating in or going out? Tracing the sources of energy to top predators across a watershed. Pacific Ecology and Evolution Conference (PEEC). Poster.
  • Nyboer EA, Molloy PP & Côté IM. 2008. Big males, red males? Intra-sexual competition and dominance in a mixed mating fish. Pacific Ecology and Evolution Conference (PEEC). Poster.
  • Nyboer EA, Ma BO & Roitberg BD. 2006. When do Anopheles gambiae want to suck your blood? Ecology and Evolution Conference. Poster.



Presenting to our collaborators at the
National Fisheries Resources Research Institute in Jinja, Uganda

Teaching Experience

  • September – December 2013 – McGill University. TA, course coordinator and sessional lecturer, Perspectives in Science (BIOL 210)
  • September – December 2011, 2012 – McGill University. Teaching Assistant, Perspectives in Science (BIOL 210)
  • September - December 2010 - McGill University. Teaching Assistant, Organismal Biology (BIOL 111)
  • January – April 2010 - McGill University. Teaching Assistant, Cell and Molecular Biology (BIOL 112)
  • January - April 2007 – Simon Fraser University. Teaching Assistant, Plant Ecology (BISC 404)
  • 2002-2003 – Monkey Bay Private Secondary School, Grades 9 and 11 English and Biology



Kituti Landing - we meet with the fishermen regularly to get their
input and ideas on our research


Kaziru landing - one of the 3 major fish landings on Nabugabo.






Andrew and I with a 53kg female Nile perch



The two major habitat types in Lake Nabugabo: forest edge and wetland edge ecotones
   


The laboratory at Lake Nabugabo
Loading the research boat


   
Last update: Sept. 5, 2013