About Me

My academic accomplishments are listed in my CV:
Curriculum vitae

Education

  • Ph.D. Yale School of the Environment* 2019
  • M. Phil Yale School of the Environment* 2016
  • M.E.Sc. Yale School of the Environment* 2014
  • H.B.Sc. Lakehead University 2012
  • * then School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

Growing up

I was born and raised in Peterborough, Ontario, which is a small city in the beautiful Kawartha Lakes region nestled between Toronto and Ottawa. I grew up on a farm and spent my childhood in the fields and forests of my rural home. I spent my high school years on a mixture of the arts and natural sciences, but decided to pursue an undergraduate degree in biology after competing in Ontario Envirothon and Canada Wide Science Fair. I studied at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario and returned to Peterborough during the summers to work on stream nitrogen cycling and nanoparticle contamination with Dr. Maggie Xenopoulos. I was introduced to population and community ecology in my last two years of university when working with Dr. Doug Morris studying rodent populations in Thunder Bay, Ontario and Nunavut. Doug's use of mathematical theory to understand and explain ecological and evolutionary patterns has a huge influence on me.

Graduate Work

After graduating from Lakehead University, I moved to Yale University in New Haven Connecitcut to work with Dr. Oswald Schmitz. Os helped me combine my interests in nitrogen cycling and community ecology to study how animals alter nutrient movement through ecosystems. I became interested in using mathematical models to predict the effects of different organisms on the cycling of carbon and nitrogen. I noticed that much of the work studying how animals impacted nitrogen cycling studied either aboveground or belowground animals. I started looking at the soil organisms at our field sites in Northeastern Connecticut to match Os's work on aboveground animals. I decided to study how two groups of organisms--aboveground herbivores and belowground decomposers--interacted through nutrient cycling and how they influence plants, microbes, and the whole ecosystem.

Post-doctoral Work

I moved to London, ON in Janurary 2020 to work with Dr. Zoƫ Lindo on nutrient limitation in soil arthropods and soil food webs. We are collaborating with Dr. Paul Frost, who has developed a method for measuring nutrient limitaiton in Daphnia that we are adapting to soil mites. We are also developing models of carbon and nitrogen cycling through the soil food web. We plan on using the new data and models to help us understand how organisms, like mites, contribute to the decomposition of organic material in the soil and the release of nutrients into forms available to plants.