People

Welcome! Our group’s research is guided by our mission and values.  Please visit the Join Us page to learn more about opportunities to join our team.

Stephanie Green

Canada Research Chair, Aquatic Global Change Ecology & Conservation

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I study the causes and consequences of biodiversity change in aquatic ecosystems, with the goal of developing science-based tools to inform conservation and restoration decision-making under global change. As a scientist, I relish the opportunity to spans spaces: developing projects that bridge concepts and scales of investigation, and fostering relationships between people as they work to affect change. As a result, my interests are broad, ranging from predator-prey interactions and food webs, to community assembly and resilience, to behavior change and coupled social-ecological modeling, with the common theme of advancing theory in service of society. Prior to joining the University of Alberta, I was a Banting Fellow at the Center for Ocean Solutions at Stanford University and a David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellow at Oregon State University.

Google Scholar homepage       ResearchGate homepage

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Natasha Hardy (Postdoctoral Fellow)

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My main aim is to design tools and frameworks with which to understand how predators and fundamental ecosystem processes are impacted by humans and environmental change and thus contribute to evidence-based solutions for their management. My postdoctoral work focuses on developing new tools to forecast marine food web trophodynamics under climate change in the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem in collaboration with Stanford University and NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center. My research spans from planktonic organisms to fish and seals in my native southeastern Australia. I obtained a B.Sc. with Honours with Prof. Maria Byrne, and a Ph.D in 2018 from the University of Sydney, working with Associate Prof. Will Figueira on the ecological interactions of recolonizing populations of fur seals and temperate reef communities in southeastern Australia.

Google Scholar       Research Gate

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Alexandra Davis (Postdoctoral Fellow)

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I am a marine spatial ecologist and an advocate for equity and diversity in conservation sciences. My postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Alberta will focus on developing a interactive conservation tool to inform interventions for marine invasive species.  I work with multiple partners and management agencies to develop spatial priorities and quantify economic costs for managing Indo-Pacific lionfish in US Caribbean and Tropical Western Atlantic territories. Before I became a U of A Panda, I was a Beaver at Oregon State University in the lab of Dr. Mark Hixon. My dissertation used a combination of diving, GIS, and spatial ecology to analyze the distribution of lionfish in the Bahamas and examine their interactions with habitat and other species at multiple scales. I received a BS in Marine Science from California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB), where I worked in the Sea Floor Mapping Lab analyzing coarse-grained sediment patterns on the California continental shelf. I also have BA in Human Communications.


Aneri Garg (MSc)

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I study the effect of restoration activities on community dynamics and ecosystem assemblage using coral reefs as a model ecosystem. My interest in applied science is to create tools for conservation practitioners, while working with diverse collaborators to create sustainable conservation and restoration solutions. Prior to the University of Alberta, I completed research internships at the Coral Health and Disease Lab at Mote Mote Marine Laboratories in Sarasota, FL, and at Cape Eleuthera Institute in the Bahamas. My undergraduate research at the Marine Macroecology and Biogeochemistry Lab at Mount Allison University focused on quantifying major macromolecular pools in a dominant Arctic phytoplankton strain. I am passionate about diversity and inclusion in science, science communication, and tiny but vital organisms (ie corals, algae, and lichen!)


Noelle Helder (MSc)

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I study how species assemblages on restored coral reefs in the Florida Keys affect nutrient recycling. Stemming from a strong interest in natural resource management at all levels, I aim to use applied sciences to better understand changes in economically valuable ecosystems and develop tools to influence better management decisions. Prior to this, I spent time working with the School for Field Studies in the Turks and Caicos Islands and at the Central Caribbean Marine Institute in the Cayman Islands, developing an interest in engaging stakeholders starting at the community level in resource management decisions. As an avid outdoor enthusiast and guide, I am also passionate about experience-based education, expedition-based research, and empowering underrepresented communities to engage in scientific endeavors.


Natasha Pentyliuk (MSc)

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I study aquatic invasive species with a social-ecological focus on the roles  community engagement play in invasion success and management. I take an interdisciplinary approach to research and collaboration,  with the goal of engaging with the public, government, and industry to work towards more sustainable communities. After completing a degree in marine biology with a minor in psychology at Dalhousie University I gained experience in scientific outreach, education, and research, and now continue my journey at the University of Alberta.

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Kyle Shanebeck (PhD- co-supervised with the Lagrue lab)

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I study the interactions between parasites and marine ecosystems. My current project is looking at intestinal Acanthocephalans of Sea Otters and their invertebrate intermediate hosts. I am a native Californian and received my BSc in Biological Sciences from Biola University. Was a research assistant with the Tinker Lab (UCSC) and the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sea Otter Research and Conservation Program. I completed my MSc in Ecology at the Universität Bremen, Germany; where I studied the demographics and site selection of intestinal Acanthocephalans in Sea Otters and Seals through the Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation. I am passionate about marine conservation, parasitology, and cross-discipline collaboration in research!

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Cole Brookson (MSc)

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I study the effects of anthropogenic stressors on marine ecosystems and food webs. My research is centered on climate change-driven range shifts in marine pelagic organisms, and using species’ traits to predict the effects of those shifts on predator-prey dynamics. Previous to my work at the University of Alberta, I completed my undergraduate degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto, where my thesis work involved modeling population responses to pollutants and pathogens in aquatic ecosystems. I am passionate about open science, as well as science communication & education, with the aim of making scientific learning and discovery more accessible, welcoming, and cooperative.

Google Scholar

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Courtney Stuart (MSc)

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I study the effects of climate change and anthropogenic stress on the resilience, structure, and function of marine ecosystems using a combination of spatial ecology, GIS, statistical modeling, and field surveys. Particularly, I aim to determine how the recovery of landscape connectivity can bolster restoration and conservation efforts in coupled coral reef – mangrove forest ecosystems in the Florida Keys. Prior to the U of A, I obtained my B.Sc. with honors in Marine Vertebrate Biology from the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University. I conducted my undergraduate thesis research in the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Regional Conservation Area of the Peruvian Amazon, where I examined a novel mandible deformity in several piranha and piranha-like species. I am passionate about diversity in the scientific community, science communication, and interdisciplinary collaboration!

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Victoria Van Mierlo (MSc – co-supervised with the Poesch Lab)

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I study the interactions of invasive Northern Crayfish (Orconectes virilis) with native freshwater fish communities and effects on food web dynamics in Alberta. As a lover of nature and native Southern Ontarian, I am especially interested in the extensive negative impacts that invasive species have on native ecosystems. I received my BSc in Honors Biology at McMaster University, where my thesis work was focused on the efficacy of entomopathogenic fungi to weaken the immune system of the invasive marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys). Additionally, I participated in coral reef species assemblage surveys after the introduction of invasive lionfish at the Cape Eleuthera Institute. Through my MSc work, I hope to provide information to managers that improves invasive species management at the watershed level. I am passionate about sustainability, interdisciplinary solutions, and inclusion in science and research!

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Iris George (Undergraduate Researcher)

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I study the diets of albacore tuna in collaboration with Dr. Natasha Hardy, focusing on prey traits. I plan to expand my research to include Caribbean reef communities, and developing survey techniques for invasive Indo-Pacific lionfish. I am pursuing my undergraduate degree in Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology at the University of Alberta and hope to continue my research career in graduate school.

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Daniel Field (Undergraduate Researcher)

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I’m a biological sciences major  interested in invertebrate biology. My project includes automating processes in ArcMap to collect terrain data from 3D models of reef ecosystems. I’m also using said data to take a rudimentary look at how terrain rugosity affects benthic organism diversity across natural and restored reef sites.

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Zachary Roote (Undergraduate Researcher)

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I am an undergraduate student currently working towards a Conservation Biology degree at the University of Alberta. This summer I am testing the desktop ecologist waters, working with Natasha Hardy to identify knowledge gaps and assess variability in the prey quality literature for species found in the diets of albacore tuna.

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Cindy Matuch (Undergraduate Researcher)

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I am a NOAA Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Undergraduate Scholar at the California State University of Monterey Bay and currently working towards a Marine Science degree with a minor in Statistics. I study the foraging traits of albacore tuna with Dr. Natasha Hardy to help forecast what their diet might me once this species migrates due to climate change.

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Lab alumni


Elizabeth Smith (MSc, University of the Virgin Islands)

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Elizabeth studied ecological and environmental drivers of invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans) movement among invaded coral reefs in St. Croix, USVI. Her project involved implanting lionfish with internal acoustic transmitters within a Vemco Positioning System, yielding fine-scale movement patterns among habitat patches in relation to gradients of abiotic conditions, resource availability, and competition.

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