Lab Alumni

Graduate students

Philip Rekret (M.Sc., Ecology, 9/2013-2015) “Local adaptation to arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in Lobelia siphilitica (Lobeliaceae)”. Phil is currently Director of the Wildlife Research Centre at the Gal Oya Lodge in the Gal Oya National Park, Sri Lanka.

Emma Bothwell (M.Sc., Ecology, 9/2013-2015) “The effect of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and soil phosphorus level on selection for shoot phosphorus content and photosynthetic rate in Lobelia siphilitica”. Emma is currently in Nursing School, University of Toronto.

Sabina Stanescu (M.Sc., Ecology, 9/2010-2012) “The effects of mycorrhizae and soil biota feedback on the outcome of plant competition.” Sabina is currently Lead Data Scientist at Points International Ltd., Toronto.

Gary Poon (M.Sc., Ecology, 8/2009-2011) “The influence of soil legacy and plant traits on competition between an invasive plant and co-occurring native and exotic species.” Gary is currently Biologist at Vive Crop Protection, Guelph.

Benjamin Sikes (Ph.D., Ecology, 9/2005-4/2010) “Functional differences of arbuscular mycorrhizas: causes and consequences” (co-advised with J.N. Klironomos). Ben is currently Assistant Professor of Microbial Ecology, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Kansas and Assistant Scientist, Kansas Biological Survey.

Mark Sherrard (Ph.D., Ecology, 9/2005-3/2010; M.Sc., Botany, 9/2003-8/2005) “Physiological adaptation to biotic and abiotic soil factors in Bromus inermis”. Mark is currently Assistant Professor of Biology, University of Northern Iowa.

Christine Creese (M.Sc., Botany, 9/2005-8/2007) “Correlated evolution and climate adaptation in Pinus”.  After completing her M.Sc., Chris went on to complete a Ph.D. at the University of California – Los Angeles. Chris is currently working in Media and Communications.

Postdoctoral Fellows and Technicians

Patrick Vogan (Postdoctoral fellow, 5/2010 – 9/2012). Patrick obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto, and worked on understanding the physiological and evolutionary ecology of plant interactions with mycorrhizal fungi, and studying how climate change shapes the evolution of plants. Patrick is currently Research Scientist, New Leaf Symbiotics, St. Louis, Missouri.

Kathryn Yurkonis (Postdoctoral fellow, 2/2010-8/2010 (co-advised with J.A. Newman). Kathryn obtained her Ph.D. from Iowa State University and worked on an OMAFRA funded project that explored how grass-endophyte interactions influenced plant community composition and ecosystem function”.  Kathryn is currently Assistant Professor of Biology, University of North Dakota.

Katherine Eisen (Technician, 8/2013-5/2014). Co-advised with Dr. Christina Caruso, Kate worked on phenotyping the photosynthetic and stomatal functions of Lobelia siphilitica populations as part of a large scale artificial selection project. Kate is currently a Ph.D. student at Cornell University

Elizabeth Seifert (Technician, 8/2010-8/2011). Co-advised with Dr. Christina Caruso, Elizabeth also worked on phenotyping the photosynthetic and stomatal functions of Lobelia siphilitica populations as part of a large scale artificial selection project, and also assisted with projects that examined the interaction between plants and mycorrhizal fungi.Liz is currently working for the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

Allison Benscoter (Technician, 1/2009-8/2010). Co-advised with Dr. Christina Caruso, Allison has the distinction of starting our artificial selection project with Lobelia siphilitica. In addition to spending many hours measuring gas exchange on plants, Allison also assisted with other projects that examined the comparative physiological ecology of plants.Allison is currently an Ecologist for the US Geological Survey in Florida.

Noah Sokol (Technician, 8/2009-6/2010). After completing his B.Sc. at Guelph, as well as his 4th year thesis in the lab, Noah spent a year working with us on a project to explore plant-soil feedbacks in invasive species. Noah was co-advised by Dr. John Klironomos, and is currently a Ph.D. student at Yale University.

Melissa Arcand (Technician, 8/2007-5/2008). Co-advised with Dr. Christina Caruso, Melissa worked on several projects, including studies of the heritability of variation in plant responses to mycorrhizal fungi in Plantago lanceolata, and studies of population level variation in Mimulus guttatus. After leaving the lab, Melissa completed a Ph.D. in Soil Science and is currently Assistant Professor of Soil Science at the University of Saskatchewan.

Tomomi Suwa (Technician, 5/2004-4/2005). After completing her undergraduate degree at Guelph, as well as her 4th year thesis in the lab, Tomomi spent a year working with us on projects related to the physiological basis for tolerance to herbivory as and physiological consequences of genome duplication. Tomomi recently completed her Ph.D. in Plant Biology at Michigan State University.You can learn more about Tomomi’s research through her website.

Undergraduate 4th year thesis students

James Seery (2015-2016). James studied the frequency of endo-reduplication (endopolyploidy) in plants by surveying a large number of species in the regional Guelph flora. He also explored whether and how leaf function was related to endopolyploidy. James was co-advised with Dr. Brian Husband.

Susan Hensen (2013-2014). Susan examined whether tetraploid Chamarion angustifolium were more likely to benefit from inoculation with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi than diploid plants, on the assumption that the higher DNA content of tetraploid versus diploid plants would increases their demand for phosphorus. After completing her B.Sc. at Guelph, Susan is currently a M.Sc. student at California State University – East Bay.

Ken Thompson (2013-2014). Ken studied whether the ecological climate niches of tetraploid and diploid Chamarion angustifolium differed, and also tested whether tetraploid cytotypes were more likely to out-compete diploid cytotypes under dry soils. You can learn about Ken’s research through his website. Ken was co-advised with Dr. Brian Husband. After completing his B.Sc. at Guelph, Ken completed a M.Sc. at the University of Toronto and is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of British Columbia.

Emily Upham-Mills (2011). Emily studied how altered rainfall patterns affected physiological trait expression in Avena barbata. After completing her B.Sc. at Guelph, Emily worked as a research technician for a few years, and is currently a M.Sc. student at the University of Alberta.

Nigel Gale (2010-2011). Nigel worked on a project that explored physiological plasticity to extreme climatic events in  Avena barbata. After completing that project, Nigel stayed on for an additional semester to examine how mycorrhizal fungi influenced plant responses to water stress. He was co-advised by Dr. Christina Caruso and also collaborated with Dr. Patrick Vogan. After completing his B.Sc. at Guelph, Nigel is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Toronto, and you can learn about his research through is website.

Emily Drystek (2010-2011). In collaboration with Drs. Kathryn Yurkonis and Jonathan Newman, Emily explored how endophyte infection influences the ability of tall fescue to establish within plant communities. After completing her B.Sc. at Guelph, Emily went on to complete a M.Sc. at the University of Toronto.

Rachel Germain (2009-2010). Rachel worked on a project that examined the adaptive value of drought-induced parental effects in Avena barbata. She was co-advised by Dr. Christina Caruso. After completing her B.Sc. at Guelph, Rachel completed a Ph.D. at the University of Toronto, and is now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia. You can learn more about Rachel’s research through her website.

Noah Sokol (2008-2009). Noah explored how mycorrhizal fungi influence the growth and physiology of Avena barbata, and invasive grass species. He was co-advised by Dr. John Klironomos. After completing his B.Sc. at Guelph, Noah worked with us as a technician for a year, and is currently a Ph.D. student at Yale University.You can learn more about Noah’s research through his website.

Tracie King (2006-2007). Tracie examined how a common wildflower species, Rudbeckia hirta, responded to suppression of its mycorrhizal symbiont by the invasive plant, Alliaria petiolata. After completing her B.Sc. at Guelph, Tracie completed a Veterinary Medicine degree at the Ontario Veterinary College, and is currently a Veterinarian.

Alison Walden (2005-2006). Alison worked with us to examine how polyploidy influenced xylem structure and function of Chamarion angustifolium. After completing her B.Sc. at Guelph, Alison completed a M.Sc. in Plant Agriculture, also at Guelph. Alison is currently working in intellectual property at Dupont Pioneer.

Megan Clifford (2004-2005). Megan worked with us on examining xylem function in leaves of Avena barbata, and also examined how genetic relatedness influences competitive interactions in Lobelia siphilitica. She was co-advised by Dr. Christina Caruso.

Tomomi Suwa (2003-2004). Tomomi studied whether photosynthetic traits influence the ability of an invasive grass, Avena barbata, to tolerate herbivory. After completing her B.Sc. at Guelph, Tomomi worked for a year as a technician in the lab.  After leaving Guelph, Tomomi completed a M.Sc. at the University of Nebraska, and recently completed her Ph.D. at Michigan State University.You can learn more about Tomomi’s research through her website.

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