People



Photo of Dr. Paul Bentzen
Dr. Paul Bentzen Professor Dalhousie UniversityBiology

I joined the Biology Department after eight years as a faculty member in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington. My research focuses on the population, evolutionary and conservation genetics of fishes and marine organisms. I am particularly interested in understanding the extent and causal basis  of what might be considered ’cryptic’ biodiversity – that is, genetic diversity within nominal species that results from important historical, ecological and adaptive processes, but is not (necessarily) reflected  in current conventional taxonomic classifications.

 

I direct the Marine Gene Probe Laboratory, a multi-user molecular ecology laboratory situated in the Biology Department at Dalhousie University. From 2005-2010, I was also a member of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) , and during the same period served as a co-chair of the Marine Fishes Specialist Subcommittee of COSEWIC.

 

I co-teach the 3rd year Biology course, ‘Molecular Ecology’ and part of the 2nd year course ‘Genetics and Molecular Biology’.

My Research Gate Profile: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Paul_Bentzen/

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Photo of Lyndsey Baillie
Lyndsey Baillie MSc student

I first joined the Bentzen Lab in 2007, and worked until 2009 as an undergraduate research assistant and lab technician.  Since then I have been working towards my MSc, which is focused on population structure in the Trinidadian guppy (Poecilia reticulata).   I am using both microsatellites and mitochondrial DNA to investigate neutral genetic variation among guppy populations in rivers across Trinidad.  I am particularly interested in identifying the patterns of gene flow that indicate migration both within and between rivers and watersheds, which may reveal the routes taken by guppies as they colonized various areas of the island.

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Dr. Shauna Baillie Post-doctoral Associate Dalhousie UniversityBiology

Shauna’s research is centred within conservation genetics and disease epidemiology, and is motivated by the drive to understand human impacts on the spatial and temporal evolution of animal genes and gene expression. Her current projects with the MGPL involve using neutral theory of molecular evolution to study apparent reversals in parallel adaptive radiation of North American Lake Charr Salvelinus namaycush. Shauna lectures in population genetics, biostatistics and animal biology at Dalhousie University and Saint Mary’s University, Canada. For her Ph.D. (Massey University 2011), she studied colonization genetics and enemy release hypothesis of the New Zealand bellbird Anthornis melanura and their avian malaria parasites. Preceding the above, Shauna taught at the St. Francis Xavier University biology department and was a contract scientist assessing the impact of energy industries on wild animal populations.

Affiliations: Dalhousie UniversitySaint Mary’s UniversityMassey University

Areas of Expertise: Ecology, Population Genetics, Host-Parasite Interactions, Disease Ecology

Home Page URL: http://myweb.dal.ca/sbaillie/

Research Gate Profile: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Shauna_Baillie/contributions/?ev=prf_act

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Photo of Dr. Paul Bentzen
Dr. Paul Bentzen Professor Dalhousie UniversityBiology

I joined the Biology Department after eight years as a faculty member in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington. My research focuses on the population, evolutionary and conservation genetics of fishes and marine organisms. I am particularly interested in understanding the extent and causal basis  of what might be considered ’cryptic’ biodiversity – that is, genetic diversity within nominal species that results from important historical, ecological and adaptive processes, but is not (necessarily) reflected  in current conventional taxonomic classifications.

 

I direct the Marine Gene Probe Laboratory, a multi-user molecular ecology laboratory situated in the Biology Department at Dalhousie University. From 2005-2010, I was also a member of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) , and during the same period served as a co-chair of the Marine Fishes Specialist Subcommittee of COSEWIC.

 

I co-teach the 3rd year Biology course, ‘Molecular Ecology’ and part of the 2nd year course ‘Genetics and Molecular Biology’.

My Research Gate Profile: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Paul_Bentzen/

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Photo of Danielle Bourque
Danielle Bourque Medical student University of Toronto

I did my Honours Project in the Bentzen Lab. After graduating from Dal in 2006, I moved to Vancouver where I completed an MSc in Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia and worked as a Research Coordinator at the Women’s Health Research Institute at the BC Women’s Hospital. As of August 2010, I am working towards an MD at the University of Toronto, with a plan to eventually specialize in Medical Genetics.

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Photo of Dr. Ian Bradbury
Dr. Ian Bradbury Research Scientist, DFO DFO

I did my PhD in the Bentzen Lab on dispersal, homing and connectivity in Rainbow Smelt, Osmerus mordax.

 

I am currently a Research Scientist at Fisheries and Oceans Canada in St. John’s, NL. My research interests are the spatial dynamics, and the evolutionary ecology of marine populations, with particular emphasis on the following:

 

– Dispersal, connectivity and homing in marine species;

– Molecular genetic analysis, and otolith microchemistry and tagging;

– Conservation and Management of marine organisms.

Ian Bradbury website

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I worked in the Bentzen Lab for 2 and a half years while doing my Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology at Dalhousie University. I genotyped various species of fish using microsatellite markers, and assisted in morphological analyses on rainbow smelt.

I am currently a member of the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science as a certified cytotechnologist and am living and working in Toronto.

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Kimberly Chambert Project Manager Broad Institute

My  master’s thesis in the Bentzen Lab consisted of a population genetic assessment of the endangered Atlantic Whitefish, Coregonus huntsmani, and the Lake Whitefish, C. Clupeaformis, in Atlantic Canada.  Specifically, I investigated the genetic substructure of these two species from 18 populations, and one population of cisco, C. artedi, by analysis of 15 microsatellite loci.  The Atlantic whitefish, an endangered and endemic species of Nova Scotia, was found to be highly genetically distinct from both Lake whitefish and cisco.

Current  position

I am currently a Project Manager at The Broad Institute within a neuropsychiatric genetics group that is actively searching for the genetic causes of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.  My primary responsibilities include managing high throughput genetic activities within the Broad, from sample collection to data delivery, to ensure that progress adheres to timelines, budgets and team goals.

Linked In

http://www.linkedin.com/in/kimberlychambert

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Photo of Adam Cook
Adam Cook PhD student

Research interests:

I am interested in the effect of environmental factors on the dynamics of diadromous fish populations. More specifically, I want to know the processes governing a fish’s response to its environment and how the individual’s inherent responses correlate to changes in life-history strategy at the population level. As well, I am interested in using results from lab-based studies to better understand genotype x environment interactions for determining critical habitat as well as making predictions of fish dispersal or migration at different life-stages. Diadromous fish populations are of interest to me because they have such diverse and complex life-history strategies, in addition to their high level of inherent plasticity.

Current Research:

My thesis research is directed toward determining the role of environmental variability in altering survival and growth of individuals from small populations as well as developing tools for the estimation of population parameters in rare and elusive fish species. The model species I am using is the endangered Atlantic Whitefish (Coregonus huntsmani). Historical data indicate that Atlantic Whitefish made diadromous migrations from the Tusket and Petite Rivers in southwestern Nova Scotia, however,  it has been decades since Atlantic Whitefish were last observed in the Tusket River. The Petite River watershed still possess some Atlantic Whitefish although the numbers are suggested to be reduced through the interaction of environmental acidification, introduction of non-indigenous predatory fish species, and the construction of dams without adequate fish passage. My work uses the progeny of captive broodstock to identify the effects of low pH and temperature perturbations on growth and survival of Atlantic whitefish through ontogeny. Additionally, the age or life-stage that tolerance to full strength seawater will be determined for making inferences on the timing of downstream diadromous migrations. Experiments will be performed in a lab I designed to meet the demands of rearing an endangered fish, and that allows full control of environmental pH, temperature and salinity.

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Mark Coulson PhD student Dalhousie UniversityBiology

My current research focuses on rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax) population genetics. Specifically, I am looking at historical (e.g. glacial refugia) versus contemporary processes (geographical and temporal barriers) that shape the population structure of this species across their native distribution. To this end, I am employing the use of both microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA markers.

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Peter Feige Web-developer Efficiency Properties

Peter is the Web-developer for Paul Bentzen Laboratory. Besides being a programmer, he also has over 10 years experience in the academic and science work environment. He worked, during his studies in Marine-biology, for over four years in the remote sensing unit of the Bedford Institue of Oceanography, joined after his graduation a one year Leeatherback turtle project at Dalhousie and after that 7 years at the CELP project…

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Dr. Dan Hasselman Postdoctoral Researcher University of WashingtonSchool of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences

I joined the Bentzen Lab in 2003 as a technician, but became a PhD student and subsequently completed my PhD degree on the population genetics of American shad across its native range in 2010.

 

Following my doctoral research at the Marine Gene Probe Laboratory on American shad in their native range, I pursued a post-doctoral position in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington examining this species in its introduced range. The primary goals of this research include i) resolving the distribution of self-sustaining shad populations among Pacific coastal rivers and identifying the source population(s) of migrants for the colonization of additional drainages, ii) exploring the potential for range expansion under climate change scenarios, identifying habitats susceptible to future shad colonization, and predicting timelines for invasion of certain rivers, and iii) characterizing the life history variation exhibited by shad since their introduction to the Pacific northwest. An overview of my broad research objectives can be found at my web page.

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Photo of Nicole Höher
Nicole Höher PhD student Alfred Wegener Institute

I was a technician in the Bentzen Lab in 2006-07, during a one year visit to Canada. My main tasks focussed on genotyping, specifically microsatellite loci in Atlantic Cod. Currently, I am a PhD student in the cell biology and toxicology department at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany. My recent work addresses the impact of anthropogenic stressors on the immune system of blue mussels.

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Photo of Stanley King
Stanley King PhD student

My interest lies in the taxonomy and systematics of parasites, particularly those infecting fishes. My research primarily involves finding and describing new species of parasites using a traditional taxonomic approach coupled with molecular analysis. One genus that is of particular interest,Gyrodactylus, is thought to have in excess of 20,000 members, of which only ~ 500 are known to science.

In a population biology context I am also interested in quantifying the genetic variation in species of Gyrodactylus and describing how that variation is distributed. Species of this genus can be pathogenic, so it is important that we understand their genetic makeup.

Lastly, I am interested in investigating if species of Gyrodactylus can be used as ‘biological tags’ of their host fish, potentially providing information on host evolutionary processes and demography, unobtainable through analysis of host genetics alone.

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Photo of Jackie Lighten
Jackie Lighten PhD Student

I am interested in using molecular methods to tackle questions surrounding the ecology and evolution of species, with particular enthusiasm for phylogeographic studies. My thesis will use phylogeographic approaches, coupled with next-generation sequencing technologies to address diverse themes related to patterns of adaptation in marine and freshwater fishes. These include the following:

* Speciation in Western Atlantic skates (Leucoraja spp.)
* Arctic climate change induced speciation in Atlantic and Pacific sister taxa
* Trans-Arctic gene flow in marine fishes
* MHC diversity and evolution in the Trinidadian guppy (Poecilia reticulata)

I am also involved in a side project within the lab which will use Gyrodactylus parasites infecting three spine sticklebacks, on both sides of the Atlantic, to elucidate cryptic evolutionary processes within the host species.

I am currently funded by CHONe and DFO.

In my spare time I surf, eat, and travel.

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Emily MacLeod Undergraduate student

Emily is an undergraduate in Biology at Dalhousie University. She was a summer research assistant in the Bentzen Lab in 2011. She assisted in research on the population genetics of Threespine Sticklebacks and their Gyrodactylus parasites.

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Meghan McBride Acting Lab Manager

Meghan’s was an MSc student in the Bentzen Lab. Her research focused on the anadromous clupeid fish, Alosa pseudoharengus, commonly known as Gaspereau, Alewife and Kiack. Her research used microsatellite markers to examine  population structure within Maine and Atlantic Canada, and also to examine the influence of stocking on patterns of genetic differentiation in Maine.

Meghan successfully defended her MSc thesis in April 2013, and is currently working as acting lab manager for the MGPL and assisting Paul Bentzen with his research.

 

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Dr. Megan McCusker Postdoctoral Researcher

I did my Ph.D. in the Bentzen Lab on demographic history, population genetics and phylogeography of wolffishes across the North Atlantic Ocean.  I am currently a post-doctoral researcher in Ontario. I am interested in the intersection between evolution, population genetics, and conservation. Specifically, I am interested in how genetic markers can be used to understand the evolutionary history and to address the conservation concerns facing marine fishes. Prior to coming to Dalhousie, I completed an M.Sc. with Rick Taylor at U.B.C. and worked for provincial fisheries in British Columbia.

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Photo of Ian Paterson
Ian Paterson Lab Manager Dalhousie UniversityBiology

I have two roles: Assisting Paul Bentzen with his research and managing the day to day operations of the Marine Gene Probe Laboratory.

Ian is currently (July – December 2013) somewhere in the southern hemisphere, taking a leave of absence from being lab manager.

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Craig Reynolds Aquaculture advisor Fisheries and Oceans Canada

My Masters research in the Bentzen Lab used laboratory and field based experiments to examine the effect of freshwater acidification on the survival of American Eel (Anguilla rostrata). I completed my MSc in 2011 and am currently employed as an aquaculture advisor at Fisheries and Oceans Canada, in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Here I provide advice and coordinate aquaculture related activities in the region, ensuring that aquaculture development is achieved in a sustainable manner.

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Photo of Julie Rivard
Julie Rivard MSc student

My research focuses on a sympatric pair of landlocked Rainbow Smelt (Osmerus mordax) in Lochaber Lake, Nova Scotia.  Both morphs (small bodied and large bodied smelt) spawn in the same two streams at overlapping times, but continue to appear to act as two different species.  Previous research shows that the populations are genetically distinguishable, however, the genetic divergence is small enough to suggest that hybridization between the morphs potentially occurs to some degree.   I am using microsatellite data collected from smelt larvae to test whether hybridization between the morphs occurs, and if so, whether the hybrids are selected against by disruptive selection.

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Sarah did her Honours research in the Bentzen Lab from 2003-2004, examining the population genetics of Striped Bass.  She is currently teaching and travelling in Asia, but plans to return to Marine Biology next year to complete her Masters.

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