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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Postdoctoral Fellows

 

Natasha Hardy 

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My research centres on understanding and maximising ecosystem functionality, ecosystem services and predator-prey trophic relationships in socio-ecological systems. My postdoctoral work focuses on developing frameworks for forecasting 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. Specifically, I am investigating the impacts of climate change on albacore tuna resource use and distributions, an important fishery across the North Pacific. My research spans from planktonic organisms to fish and seals across the Pacific Ocean. 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. I am a settler, growing ally, and advocate for equity and diversity in biological sciences.

Google Scholar       Research Gate

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Alexandra Davis 

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I am a marine spatial ecologist and an advocate for equity and diversity in conservation sciences. I am currently a Liber Ero Postdoctoral Fellow developing conservation strategies for interventions of marine/ aquatic invasive species. I work with multiple partners and management agencies to understand valued resources, develop spatial priorities, and quantify economic costs for managing invasive species. My current study species include Indo-Pacific lionfish in US Caribbean and Tropical Western Atlantic territories, and the European Green Crab in British Colombia and the Salish Sea. 

I currently serve on multiple EDJI committees and am a member of the board of directors for Black Women in Ecology Evolution and Marine Science (BWEEMS). My work within these groups is to elevate marginalized voices in STEM and provide mentorship, professional development, and opportunities for success in the field(s).

Website: alexandracddavis.com   

Liber Ero: http://liberero.ca/meet-the-fellows/

BWEEMS: bweems.org


Data Manager

Miram Gleiber 

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I am a biological oceanographer and plankton/larval fish ecologist interested in marine food web interactions and how they are influenced by environmental variability. I am working with the Green Lab on a project investigating the role of prey traits for marine food web interactions to better understand the effects of climate change on the distribution of Albacore tuna in the Eastern Pacific. I earned my Ph.D (2020) working with Su Sponaugle at Oregon State University, studying the importance of planktonic prey availability and fine-scale distributions for larval tuna and reef fish success in the Florida Current. Prior to this I worked with Dr. Deborah Steinberg studying long-term changes in zooplankton communities in the scope of rapid climate change in the western Antarctic Peninsula during my B.Sc. (2010) and M.Sc. (2014) at The College of William and Mary/Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

ResearchGate               Google Scholar


PhD Students

 

Kyle Shanebeck (co-supervised with the Lagrue lab)

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I study the interactions between parasites and aquatic mammals. My project is investigating the sub-lethal effects of macro-parasites on river otter and mink in Alberta and British Columbia. Parasites are often considered unimportant in large mammal individual or population health; however, parasites can have complex effects on host energetics (systemic functioning, repair, growth, reproduction). My project asks: do parasitic helminths (worms) influence aquatic mammal individual fitness and population dynamics? Helminths also have complex relationships with pollutants (especially intestinal helminths); and heavy metals are an important threat for aquatic ecosystems in Canada. My project is also monitoring pollutants in both parasite and host tissues: are parasites related to increased or decreased accumulation of pollutants in their host? I was born and raised in southern California; was a research assistant with the Tinker Lab (UCSC) and volunteered for 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!

Research Gate

Papers from my work here at UofA:

Shanebeck KM, Presswell B, Lagrue C (2020). Missing link: California rock crabs serve as intermediate hosts for the parasite Helicometrina nimia. Journal of Helminthology 94, e143, 1–5. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022149X20000218

Shanebeck KM, Lagrue C (2020). Missing link: Acanthocephalan parasites in sea otters: Why we need to look beyond associated mortality. Marine Mammal Science, 36, 676-689. https://doi.org/10.1111/mms.12659

 


Master’s Students

 

Aneri Garg 

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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 

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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.

My research uses SCUBA surveys, photogrammetry, stable isotopes, and spatially explicit modelling to understand feedbacks between reef fish communities and their habitat on coral reefs in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. We work closely with local partners including NOAA and the Coral Restoration Foundation. Previously, I have worked throughout the Caribbean on projects relating to Marine Protected Areas, coral reef conservation, and science communication. I also co-lead the Education and Outreach Committee with the International Coral Reef Society Student Chapter.

Personal website (currently under construction!): https://noellehelder.weebly.com/

 

Natasha Pentyliuk 

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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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Cole Brookson 

IMG_5187My research focuses on using computational tools to investigate how ecological networks rewire in the wake of perturbations. I work mainly on food webs, and I am interested in how we can use species traits to better predict and understand how trophic structures change as a result of various types of anthropogenic disturbance, in both broad theoretical contexts as well as specific applied systems. Previous to my work at the University of Alberta, I completed my undergrad in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto, where I worked on modelling population responses to pollutants and pathogens in aquatic ecosystems. I am passionate about Open Science and promoting computational literacy and training in the biological sciences.

Google Scholar

 

 

 

Courtney Stuart 

Courtney_GreenWebPhotoI am a marine spatial ecologist studying connectivity across the mangrove-seagrass-reef continuum of the Florida Keys. The main goal of my MSc is to construct species- and stage-specific models of habitat suitability for reef fish with complex life histories, particularly those that involve ontogenetic habitat shifts. These regional scale models are the basis for connectivity analyses and are fundamental to the construction of ecologically-relevant management plans. Prior to joining the Green Lab, I obtained my BS in Marine Vertebrate Biology from the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University. My senior honors thesis examined the patterns, rates, and socio-ecological consequences of tooth replacement in fishes of the Peruvian Amazon. I am passionate about diversity in the scientific community, science communication and mentorship, and #WomenInGIS.

 

 

 

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

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I study the interactions of invasive Northern Crayfish (Faxionis 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!

 

 

 


Undergraduate Researchers

 

Iris George 

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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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Zachary Roote 

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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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Caitlin Morganson 

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I am an undergraduate student in the Animal Biology degree program at the University of Alberta. In collaboration with Dr. Natasha Hardy and the Green the lab, and researchers at NOAA and Stanford University, we have collected a suite of traits of available and used albacore prey data. My research project looks into trait-based foraging behaviours of albacore tuna in the California Current System.

 

 

 

 


Lab alumni

 

Elizabeth Smith (MSc, University of the Virgin Islands)

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I studied ecological and environmental drivers of invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans) movement among invaded coral reefs in St. Croix, USVI. My 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.

 

 

 

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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Daniel Field (Undergraduate Researcher)

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I’m a biological sciences major interested in invertebrate biology. My project focused on automating processes in ArcMap to collect terrain data from 3D models of reef ecosystems. I also used 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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