Information for Prospective Lab Members
If you are a highly motivated undergrad or prospective grad student and are excited about wildlife research in behavioural ecology, ecophysiology and/or conservation biology I’d love to hear from you. I am especially interested in students with (or eligible for) NSERC PGS or other scholarship support. Grades are important but I place just as much emphasis on attitude, work ethic, quantitative skills and enthusiasm. The UofW doesn't have a Ph.D. program in Biology yet but I supervise Ph.D. students via adjunct status at the University of Manitoba. If this sounds like you, email me your CV or resume, an unofficial transcript and a paragraph explaining your interest in doing research in the lab.
Current Lab Members
Quinn Fletcher, Ph.D. (NSERC Post-Doctoral Fellow)
Quinn is an ecologist interested in the causes and consequences of variation energy expenditure. Specifically, he is interested in how environmental factors and the characteristics of animals interact to determine energy expenditure. He is also interested in the consequences of variation in energy expenditure; e.g. (1) fitness consequences, (2) population dynamics, and (3) response to climate change. For more information, visit his website.
Ana Breit, B.Sc. Hons
Ana joined the lab in 2015 and is an import from Wisconsin, where she studied biology and wildlife ecology research and management. She also dabbled in microeconomics, which she hopes to apply to animal behavior with respect to social interactions. With the Willis lab, Ana will be looking at how social group composition, weather, and resource abundance affect pathogen transmission.
Andrew Habrich, B.Sc. Hons
Andrew joined the lab in 2016 after graduating with a BSc honours in ecology from Concordia University in Montréal. He has an interest in interdisciplinary studies in science and hopes to apply this knowledge to conservation biology. For his project, Andrew will be looking at how torpor expression in the fall and spring, as well as environmental variables, affect overwintering survival in little brown bats across different hibernacula.
Nicole Dorville, B.Sc. Hons
Nicole is a long-distance import from Singapore, where she worked in the zoo and freshwater entomology research (at separate times). She also studied wildlife conservation biology in Melbourne, and has experience in rehabilitating captive injured bats. Her latest task is to revive the Campus Wildlife Laboratory for Disease and Ecology (C-WiLDE) to study the disease mechanisms of WNS and to test potential treatments to benefit to species at risk bats.
Trevor Moore, B.Sc. Hons
Trevor joined the lab in Fall of 2016. He is from southern Utah, where he graduated with a Bachelors in Biology and a minor in chemistry. His main area of focus was ecology, and studied prey selection in garter snakes and sound differences in hissing cockroaches. Here at the Bat Lab he is interested in helping bats recover from white-nose syndrome and is researching thermodynamics in bats that are in WNS positive areas.
Emma joined the lab in May 2016 and this summer she assisted with capturing and PIT tagging little brown bats and installing PIT tag systems all across Manitoba and Ontario. While working, Emma fell in love with bats and decided to begin research under Dr Willis' supervision over the summer studying the relationship between body, skin, and core temperature in little brown bats. She is now working to get her research published and is assisting graduate students with their projects over the year.
Kaleigh Norquay, M.Sc. (NSERC Canada Graduate Scholar)
Kaleigh has been working in the lab since 2008 in various capacities, including as a honours' and masters' student. She has investigated the hibernation phenology and long-distance movements of little brown bats and modeled survival estimates for bats with White-Nose Syndrome. Her current role involves coordinating field research, administrative support and public outreach.
Former Lab Members
Heather Mayberry, M.Sc.
Heather was with us for two years as our fearless Lab Manager. Heather studied at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON with Dr. Paul Faure. For her master's work, Heather researched the development of frequency modulated vocalizations in big brown bat pups. She is now doing her Ph.D. with Dr. John Ratcliffe at the University of Toronto Erindale.
Christina uses a combination of molecular and field studies to study the conservation needs of threatened species and populations, and to understand how behavior affects genetic diversity in small populations. Her Ph.D. thesis focused on conservation genetics of freshwater turtles. Christina’s post-doctoral research investigated the genetic response of North American bats to white-nose syndrome, and the population structure of two common bat species across Canada. Christina is now a Research Scientist for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.
Liam McGuire, Ph.D. (NSERC Post-Doctoral Fellow)
Liam is broadly interested in how animals cope with situations of energy limitation. For his Ph.D. research, Liam studied the ecophysiology of bat migration. His post-doctoral research addressed questions of hibernation physiology in North American and European bats, and the implications for white-nose syndrome. He is now an Assistant Professor at Texas Tech University.
Lisa Warnecke, Ph.D. (Government of Canada Post-Doctoral Research Fellow)
Lisa earned her Ph.D. studying thermoregulation and torpor in small marsupials in Australia and won a prestigious Government of Canada PDRF to apply her expertise in ecophysiology, thermoregulation and behaviour to questions about white-nose syndrome (WNS) in bats. She is now a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Hamburg.
James Turner, Ph.D. (Post-Doctoral Fellow)
James (shown here with his field assistant) was an Australia PhD import who completed his thesis on thermoregulation in pygmy possums in 2010. He used his experience with open-flow respirometry and energetics to address physiological effects of WNS in bats. His is now an Alexander von Humboldt Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Hamburg.
Mary Timonin, Ph.D., NSERC PDF (Cornell University)
Mary completed her PhD on the neuroendocrine basis of paternal behaviour at Queen's University in 2008 and worked on a range of projects in the lab as a Post-Doc from testing the efficacy of thermal refuge sites as a possible mitigation for white-nose syndrome to addressing links between animals’ individual “personalities”, energetics and physiological stress. She has since been a NSERC Post-Doctoral Fellow at Cornell University and is now entering the DVM program at the University of Saskatchewan.
Ph. D. Students
Mary-Anne Collis, M.Sc.
MAC is a UK import who has traveled widely across the globe studying various species and aspects of conservation and behavioural ecology. She joined our lab as a PhD student working on the pre- and post- white-nose syndrome (WNS) survival and movement of little brown bats assessed using PIT-tags and remote data logging systems. See her website here.
Quinn Webber, B.Sc. Hons. (Manitoba Graduate Scholar)
Quinn has been a bat-lab member since 2012 and completed a BSc honours in the lab and is currently in the process of completing his MSc. For his MSc Quinn examined the causes and consequences of sociality in bats. Quinn examined behavioural traits, including sociality and personality, as potential predictors of roost selection in bats, while also assessing how behaviour predicts disease transmission and acquisition. In 2016, Quinn moved to St. John's, Newfoundland, to pursue a Ph.D at Memorial University.
Alana Wilcox, B.Sc. Hons., B.A. Hons. (NSERC Canada Graduate Scholar)
For her honours project, Alana examined the behaviour of bats with white-nose syndrome (WNS) as a part of a larger collaborative study. She analysed behaviours of bats infected with the North American and European isolates of Geomyces destructans, the causative agent behind WNS, to test hypotheses about the mechanisms underlying mortality from this devastating disease. For her master's research, Alana looked at at the relationship between personality and energetics. Specifically, she assessed if behavioural tendencies affected feeding in captivity and if bats selected artificially-heated bat houses in order to save energy.
Zenon Czenze, M.Sc. (NSERC Canada Graduate Scholar)
Zen was an import to the lab from St. Mary's University in Halifax where he studied the ectoparasites of bats with Dr. Hugh Broders. For his M.Sc., Zen used a combination of temperature radio-telemetry and PIT-tagging to study hibernation energetics in little brown bats. His work addressed effects of huddling or clustering on energetics and the relationship between torpor patterns during hibernation and the date that individual bats emerge from hibernation. Zen is currently working on a Ph.D. on the energetics of lesser short-tailed bats in New Zealand.
Nadine Price, M.Sc.
Nadine is a University of Manitoba M.Sc. student co-supervised by Dr. Kevin Campbell, studying molecular methods for determining sex in the star-nosed mole, one of our least-studied but most fascinating North American mammals. Male and female star-nosed moles cannot be distinguished based on morphology and Nadine is working on non-invasive methods for sex determination using molecular markers obtained from samples of hair or other tissues.
Allyson Menzies, M.Sc. (NSERC Canada Graduate Scholar)
For her honours and masters project, Ally helped develop the first behavioural test for personality in bats and used it to test the hypothesis that individual personality correlates with energetics in bats. For her masters research she was co-supervised by Dr. Jens Franck and used molecular markers and quantitative genetics to investigate repeatability and heritability of physiological and behavioural traits that could help bats survive white-nose syndrome. Ally has since moved on to Murray Humphries' lab at McGill for her PhD, to study seasonal and resource-driven variation in energy expenditure of squirrels, snowshoe hares, and lynx in the Yukon.
Felix Martinez-Nunez, M.Sc. (Manitoba Graduate Scholar)
Felix has worked on a range of projects using molecular techniques to study the biology of plants. Co-supervised by Dr. Sara Good, Felix is now applying his molecular skills to questions about bat populations in Manitoba and Ontario, using molecular markers to assess relatedness of little brown bats from winter and summer sites throughout Manitoba.
Kristin Jonasson, M.Sc. (NSERC Canada Graduate Scholar)
Kiristin studied hibernation energetics in little brown bats, and in particular, differences in male and female hibernation patterns. Questions about the energetics of hibernation have become extremely important with the emergence of WNS which has killed hundreds of thousands of bats in the eastern U.S. WNS-affected bats apparently starve before the end of hibernation and it is critical that we better understand the normal hibernation energetics of this species.
Joel Jameson, M.Sc. (NSERC Canada Graduate Scholar)
Joel completed his Honours research in 2007 at the University of Manitoba on echolocation and joined our group to study wind power impacts on bats in Manitoba. Joel used acoustic recording and mortality surveys in the vicinity of the St. Leon wind farm to test the reproductive landmarks hypothesis as an explanation for the apparent attraction of bats to wind turbines.
Tracie Parkinson, B.Sc. Hons. (NSERC USRA Scholar)
Tracie completed her Honours work in our lab spring 2008 on thermal energetics of silver-haired bats and helped us set up a system for use of passive transponders (PIT tags) combined with molecular techniques to study social networks and population genetic structure in little brown bats.
Amie Peterson, B.Sc. Hons
Amie completed a 4-yr B.Sc. in Spring 2015 but decided to complete her Honours degree after taking Craig’s field course in small mammal energetics last summer. This summer she assisted with PIT-tagging and sampling bats at maternity colonies throughout Manitoba and Ontario for the Neighbourhood Bat Watch program. Amie will be studied the relationship between stress hormones and personality in bats for her thesis.
Emily Beaton, B.Sc. Hons
Emily joined the lab for the 2015 field season. She helped sample maternity colonies across Manitoba and northwestern Ontario for the Neighbourhood Batwatch. In spring 2016, she completed her Honours thesis at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, examining the relationship between personality, ectoparasites load and immune performance in little brown bats.
Dylan Baloun, B.Sc. Hons.
Dylan explored the response of several plasma metabolites to feeding in pre-hibernation little brown bats. He is now a MSc. candidate at the University of Western Ontario where is continuing to study physiology and energetics, however, through the lens of migration and the "torpor assisted migration hypothesis".
Kristina Muise, B.Sc. Hons.
Kristina is interested in the physiological and behavioural aspects of animals, and how they react to changes in the environment such as disease and climate change. In 2014, she completed her honours thesis looking at how latitude affects the allocation of time between pre-hibernation fattening and mating behaviour in a population of little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus) from central Manitoba.
Shelby Bohn, B.Sc. Hons.
Shelby is interested in how behaviour and personality relate to the life history and ecology of small mammals. For her honours project she looked at the behaviour of little brown bats inoculated with Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the fungus responsible for white-nose syndrome, in order to better understand the cause of mortality.
Chantal Carriere, B.Sc. Hons. (NSERC USRA Scholar)
Chantal’s honours research in 2010 addressed geographic variation in torpor expression and energetics of bats from throughout Manitoba, as well as repeatability of torpor expression in little brown bats, after controlling for variation in body condition.
Amanda Matheson, B.Sc. Hons. (University of Manitoba, NSERC USRA Scholar)
For her Honours project, co-supervised by Dr. Kevin Campbell at the U of Manitoba, Amanda tested the influence of recent feeding on individuals’ decisions about torpor expression. Her work is important for understanding the timescale of small mammal energy budgets and the role of the heat-increment of feeding (i.e., the heat released by the gut during digestion) on thermoregulation during torpor entry and arousal.
Scott Unruh, B.Sc. Hons.
For his Honours project, Scott used meadow voles to test the hypothesis that animal personality or temperament is correlated with resting energy expenditure. His test of this hypothesis has implications for understanding physiological variation in free-living animals and for understanding the fitness costs and benefits of different energetic and behavioural strategies of mammals.
Jane Harrington, B.Sc.
Jane joined the lab for the summer of 2015, where she assisted with the PIT tagging of bats at 22 maternity colonies. She was also essential in the building of heated bat boxes, a innovative way to reduce stress of WNS affected female bats. Jane started a degree in law in fall 2015.
Nastashya Wall, B.Sc. Hons. (Research Assistant)
Nastashya is interested in animal social behaviour and physiology. She is currently completing her undergraduate thesis on paternal care in red-winged blackbirds. During the summer, Nastashya was part of a crew testing for white-nose syndrome in North-Central Manitoba and placing pit-tags in little brown bats.
Claire McKibbin, (NSERC USRA Scholar)
Claire worked in the lab as an undergraduate assistant in summer 2009 assisting with mortality and acoustic surveys for bats at wind turbines and other sites, as well as coordinating our insect sampling for the summer.
Derek Donald, B.Sc. Hons. (Research Assistant)
Derek finished his B.Sc. (Honours) at the University of Regina in 2006 and spent the summer of 2007 with us assisting with research on energetics and roost selection in migratory bats. Derek returned to Regina to work on his M.Sc. quantifying human impacts on water quality in Saskatchewan prairies lakes.
Aaron Trachtenberg, B.Sc. Hons (Research Assistant)
Aaron helped with a project aimed at improving our ability to differentiate torpid from normothermic skin temperatures for small mammals using data from Australian eastern horseshoe bats. We weren’t able to convince Aaron to turn down his Rhodes Scholarship to stay and study wildlife ecology and he began Ph.D. work in neuroimaging at Oxford University in Sept. 2008.