Requirements – Prerequisites as described in the undergraduate course calendar (see below). Also preference for a student with a strong work ethic, great organizational skills, and effective time management. Lab experience (DNA extractions, PCR, etc.) is considered an asset – although will train any student motivated to learn!
Interested? Contact Dr. Linda Rutledge (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Office: LHS D218) to discuss your suitability for this project.
I am excited to have Jovana Stosic working with myself and Dr. Christina Davy (Research Scientist with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry) on a preliminary exploration of DNA metabarcoding of bat faecal samples for diet analysis.
BIOL 4010Y, 4020D: Research Thesis (Sc) Students investigate a specific field of interest under the guidance of a faculty member. BIOL 4020D is a double credit in Biology. BIOL 4010Y is a single credit because the same thesis is submitted to the other department/program in a joint-major or is submitted in conjunction with BIOL 4400Y. Prerequisite: 15.0 university credits; the Animal Care Course (p. 20), if applicable; a minimum average of 75% in BIOL courses completed; and agreement of a faculty member to supervise the project. (In some cases, it may be possible to take BIOL 4020D with a cumulative average of 70% in Biology courses if recommended by a faculty member willing to supervise it.) To be accepted into a joint thesis course, the student must meet the requirements of both programs.
ancient ancestry - wolf genomeS
In collaboration with Dr. Hendrik Poinar at McMaster University and Dr. Paul Wilson at Trent University, along with colleagues affiliated with the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga (Dr. Tim Gaudin; Jeremy Hooper), I am sequencing ancient wolf genomes to understand ancient ancestral contributions to contemporary Canis populations.
DNA metabarcoding to understand diet partitioning
I am interested in understanding dietary partitioning and forage/prey changes in wildlife species, particularly as it relates to environmental influences. My current work includes exploring variation in diet among coyote (Canis latrans) populations, exploring dietary components in bat (Myotis spp.) guano, and identifying differences in caribou (Rangifer tarandus) diet in lichen-poor vs lichen-rich environments.
genomic ancestry of north american canis
Work continues with multiple collaborators on the Canis Ancestry project at Princeton University. This is a large-scale genomics project to clarify ancestry of Canis species in North America. We are using RAD sequencing on thousands of samples across a broad geographic range to identify genome-wide ancestry informative and adaptive markers in various Canis types.
For the past few years I have been collecting noninvasive samples from wolves and coyotes to create genetic profiles to use in Canis assignment tests. This research has helped clarify the extent of occurrence for eastern wolves in Ontario and Quebec. Find out more at easternwolfsurvey.ca or follow me on Twitter @EastWolfSurvey
environmental dna - Fish & avian assemblages
Environmental DNA is broadly defined as trace amounts of target DNA in sources such as water, soil, and scat. I am working with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry to use DNA metabarcoding and high throughput sequencing on Illumina MiSeq system to identify fish and avian assemblages in Ontario's freshwater lakes. Click here for our avian eDNA protocol for Illumina MiSeq.
epigenetics of speciation
Although reproductive incompatibility causing speciation has been linked to variable methylation in plants, little is known about the role of methylation in differentiation leading to speciation in wild animal populations. Does variable methylation influence reproductive compatibility and to what extent does it contribute to speciation? Preliminary results are published here.
red wolf genomics
Along with several collaborators, I am working on RAD-sequencing research to identify ancestry informative and adaptive markers in the southern US Red Wolf population. Read the first publication here.
Inspired by my love of beer and evolutionary processes, I am working on a research project to understand the epigenetic mechanisms associated with various flavour and aromas of hop varieties. A preliminary methylome comparison of Nugget (used for bittering) and Cascade (used for aroma) varieties is underway with plans to expand the project in 2016.
california loggerhead shrike
Utilizing mtDNA sequence data and microsatellite profiles, we investigated population genetics of loggerhead shrike populations in California, including mainland California, the Channel Islands (San Clemente, Santa Catalina, Santa Cruz, & Santa Rosa), and the captive breeding population at the San Diego Zoo. Check out the publication here.
American Robins (Turdus migratorius) are the largest among the North American thrushes. They are widespread across the continent with year-round, summer breeding, and winter non-breeding populations. Among the most widely recognized bird species, relatively little is known about their population genetic structure. I am working on a genomic analysis of samples collected from across the continent to provide a better understanding of this successful songbird. Find out more about the American Robin at All About Birds