I attended McGill University in Montreal, where I earned my B.Sc Honours in Environmental Science in 2006
Honours Project: "Is there a correlation between impact and invasiveness in exotic species?"
Anthony Ricciardi advised me during this project. Both Dr. Ricciardi and I observed that many government agencies defined an "invasive species" as one that both spreads rapidly and causes harmful ecological or economic impacts. This inspired us to investigate whether rate of spread was correlated to impact level. Through this project I gained a thorough understanding of how researchers measure and quantify invasive species impacts, and also earned my first publication, which appeared in Biological Invasions in 2007.
Brian Leung advised me during this project. The Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans consulted Dr. Leung on the risks of invasive species reaching the Great Lakes via the St. Lawrence Seaway. As part of his larger investigation into this problem, Dr. Leung advised myself and several other students on a group project to assess the propagule pressure of nonnative plant species originating in Montreal and ending up in the seaway. I emerged as the leader of the group, along with Nicholas Mirotchnick. Dr. Leung, Nicholas and I continued to work on the project for the next two years, which culminated in a paper and a response letter in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.
Internship: "Salinity tolerance of zooplankton: assessing the effectiveness of ballast water exchange regulations"
Scott Santagata advised me during this project. As part of a team of scientsits from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and NOAA, I worked on this project to assess salinity tolerance in native and nonnative zooplankton in the Great Lakes. We tested the ability of these organisms to withstand a variety of salinity levels, as well as their ability to recover when switched between fresh and salt water. This research was aimed at predicting the effectiveness of ballast water management in lowering propagule pressures from nonnative zooplankton.