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     Current Bonier Lab Members

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

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.
Liam Harrison


JieYuen Ong, MSc student

I am interested broadly in how selection on behavioral variation in animals leads to adaptation. I am also curious about the physiological mechanisms responsible for variation in behavioral responses to changing environments. Hence, for my project, I am working with Nicrophorus orbicollis, a burying beetle that has complex biparental care and reproductive strategies, looking at how changes in its environment affects life history traits. 

Emma Sinclair, BSc honours thesis student

I 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.
Emma Sinclair

 Carina Lai

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. 

           Former Lab Members