To see profiles of LESA Lab Alumni – Please click here.
Jillian McGroaarty (MSc)
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario
Previous Education: BSc in Zoology from University of Guelph
About Me: While completing an honours thesis investigating arthropod diet behaviours, I quickly learned to appreciate all parts of our ecosystems, especially those that are hardest to see. Without ever having visited beautiful Newfoundland, I moved to St. John’s to join the LESA lab and study lichen as model systems for larger landscapes. When I’m not studying this life form, I hope to see puffins, whales, caribou and other native animals. Much of the rest of my time will be spent trying new recipes, adding to my nature collection, taking film photos, and being by the ocean!
Jennifer Rey-Goyeneche (MES)
Hometown: Bogota, Colombia
- Bachelor’s degree in Ecology, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Colombia)
- MSc in Primate Conservation, Oxford Brookes University (UK)
- MA in Education: Childhood and Youth Studies, Oxford Brookes University (UK)
Personally and professionally, I am deeply interested in biodiversity conservation, which is an area I have approached through three interconnected pathways: socio-ecological research, environmental education and citizen science. As an Ecologist, I have supported projects focused on the conservation of endangered species, such as primates, marine turtles, cetaceans, and Amazonian fish, and have worked alongside rural and ethnic communities, like Afro-Colombian and Indigenous Peoples. I have a passion for experiencing new geographical and cultural contexts. Fortunately, my career and volunteering experiences have allowed me to visit and explore some amazing destinations.
Ashley Locke (MES)
Growing up in rural Newfoundland, I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors and quickly gained a respect for the beauty and complexity of natural ecosystems. In 2019 I completed my BSc (Hons.) in Environmental science at MUN’s Grenfell campus. In my spare time I enjoy camping, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, watching scary movies and spending time with my dogs. I am now looking forward to pursuing a MES to become better equipped for a career in the environmental sciences with the goal to work in conservation.
Hayley Paquette (PhD)
Hometown: Honeywood, Ontario
About Me: I recently completed an MSc. in Biology at Carleton University in Ottawa where my research took me to Forillon National Park on the Gaspé Peninsula of Quebec. I spent almost two months combing the park for lichens, collecting voucher specimens and documenting their habitat to establish a baseline species list for the park. I think simple questions can have the most interesting answers, especially when it comes to lichens, and I am thrilled to be joining the LESA lab to continue researching lichen ecology and biogeography in Canada. Outside of academia, I have worked in a factory, bakery, bar, NGO, and iron mine, to name a few. I bike, paddle, ski and anything else that takes me outside; and I love talking about trips (past and future).
Hometown: Kitchener, ON
Travis Heckford (PhD)
Hometown: Vancouver Island, BC
-Advanced Diploma in Geographic Information Systems Applications (ADGISA), Vancouver Island University, BC.
-BSc Biology and Geography, Vancouver Island University, BC.
About Me: Professionally, I am employed as a wildlife biologist with the BC Conservation Foundation and work on various species at risk projects with the Ecosystems Branch of the BC Ministry. My work with them primarily covers Vancouver Island, the Central Coast, and Haida Gwaii. Personally, I enjoy spending time in nature, exploring new places and culture. I feel very fortunate that my personal and professional interests align. I have a strong research interest in conservation biology, habitat modelling, landscape ecology and using GIS to examine spatial patterns and ecological processes.
PhD Project: My PhD project pertains to the spatial ecology of a forest vegetation-snowshoe hare-lynx food web system. This is a joint project with the Terrestrial Ecology Research Group (TERG). My research questions focus on assessing the quantity and quality of snowshoe hare vegetation resources, specifically how nutrient content and availability influence resource selection through space and time. I aim to develop stoichiometric distribution models (StDMs) by incorporating ecological stoichiometry and nutrition into resource selection functions. Using StDMs I plan to evaluate forest harvest impacts on nutrient flow, ecosystem processes and landscape connectivity.
Growing up, I was always outside playing sports or with my friends. Before moving to Newfoundland in 2010, I would visit my grandparents on the west coast (of Newfoundland) which always consisted of extensive hikes in search of various mushrooms and orchids. Needless to say, my surroundings heavily shaped my future. Now, I love everything about nature. I’m always the one to stop, admire, photograph, and ask questions about my surroundings regardless if I’m paddle-boarding, hiking, fishing, camping, gardening or even driving. I like to spend my free time camping, sewing or gardening. After completing my honours, I hope to pursue my masters.
Post-docs and Visiting Researchers