Fran Bonier, Assistant Professor
My research interests are broad and varied, from ecology to behavior, physiology to evolution. In general, all of this varied work is organized by one theme: response to challenges. I am fascinated by the challenging conditions that organisms face, and the myriad ways that they respond to those challenges. In addition to being a biologist, I am also a mom to two boys and an amateur equestrian.
Sarena Olson, MSc student
I am interested in how parental life history events can affect offspring, specifically how the presence and degree of parasitism in adults can affect their offspring’s growth, development, and response to infection later in life. I have chosen to study avian malaria in red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) and to look specifically at the maternal effects of this disease on future generations in the field. To look at these effects, we are conducting large-scale field experiments in a population with exceptionally high rates of infection with avian malaria.
Liam Harrison, MSc student
Environmental factors such as temperature play a major role in shaping
individuals, populations, and ecosystems. For my MSc thesis, I am describing plasticity in
life history traits of a species of burying beetle, Nicrophorus orbicollis,
facing natural variation in temperature. I am also measuring the
fitness correlates of this plasticity. This species is ideal for my
research because it is sensitive to changes in temperature and exhibits
biparental care - a form of parental care that is relatively rare in
the insect world. My work will contribute to our understanding of how
recent and future climate change might affect this species, and
ectotherms more generally.
JieYuen Ong, MSc student
Emma Sinclair, BSc honours thesis student
am broadly interested in how environmental challenges shape the
physiology and life history traits of organisms. My honour’s thesis
project investigates the maternal effects of haemosporidian infection
on the red-winged blackbird population at QUBS, which has a >95%
infection prevalence. Specifically, my research looks at whether
treating these infections impacts female oxidative balance and egg
characteristics such as pigmentation, mass, and shape.
Carina Lai, BSc honours thesis student
My undergraduate thesis project is
focusing on how adaptive plasticity can help individuals cope with a
changing environment. Specifically, I will be investigating phenotypic
plasticity in antimicrobial strategies of the burying beetle Nicrophorus orbicollis in response to temperature.