Current Personnel

To see profiles of LESA Lab Alumni – Please click here.

Graduate Students

richmondIsabella Richmond (MSc)

Hometown: Kitchener, ON

Previous Education: BSc in Environmental Science (Ecotoxicology and Geochemistry), University of Ottawa, ON

About Me: Ever since I was a kid, I have been excited about nature. I love immersing myself in and learning about the ecosystems around me. Before coming to MUN, I studied environmental science at the University of Ottawa and I spent my summers chasing dragonflies and butterflies in wetlands and urban ponds throughout the Ottawa region. My goal is that my work will help protect all the wonderful systems that I care so much about. In my spare time, I enjoy hiking, camping, honing my ArcGIS skills, and playing hockey.

Patrick Lauriault (MSc)


Hometown: Chesterville, ON

Previous Education: DEC in Environmental and Wildlife Management, Cegep Vanier College, QC

BSc in Biology (Ecology and Conservation), Memorial University of Newfoundland

About Me: Prior to my time in Newfoundland, I was a cegep student in Montreal where I was trained to be a general field technician. After my time in Cegep I spent a few months in Costa Rica to work on a tropical rainforest growth monitoring program. I completed my BSc at MUN December 2017 and I look forward to my next step as a Master’s student working with cyanolichens here in Newfoundland. In my spare time I enjoy fishing, biking, downhill ski and hiking


Matt Murphy (MES)


Hometown: Lots of places, most recently St. Alban’s, NL.

Previous Education: BSc in Biology (Ecology & Conservation), Memorial University of Newfoundland.

About Me: I graduated from MUN in May 2017 and am now starting a Master’s of Environmental Science. I also have a minor in Business Administration and for my master’s project I am planning on looking at some aspect of the business/economic side of conservation.  I’ve lived all over North America from Alaska to Newfoundland and I have always enjoyed animals and nature in general. In my spare time I enjoy lifting weights, hiking, fly fishing.

Tegan Padgett (MSc)

Hometown: Powell River, BC

Previous Education: BSc Biology, Vancouver Island University, BC

About Me: Before starting my MSc at Memorial University of Newfoundland, I worked for the British Columbia Conservation Foundation on two provincial government projects that took me all around Vancouver Island, the central coast, and mainlan


d BC. Specifically, I inventoried and collected habitat data on coastal northern goshawks and surveyed for northern spotted owls. I thoroughly enjoyed

working in the forest and contributing to the conservation management of species at risk. In my personal time, I go hiking, running, camping and love to explore new places and I hope to continue to learn about the ecosystems around me.

Master’s Thesis: My project is part of an Atlantic Canada forested wetland project focused on increasing the ecological understanding of these overlooked and understudied areas. My work is focused on the island of Newfoundland and will be primarily aimed at strengthening our understanding of lichen ecology in forested wetlands. I am in the early stages of my thesis but look forward to getting out in the field to discovering more about these fascinating lichens and their unique ecosystems.

Travis Heckford (PhD)

heckfordHometown: Vancouver Island, BC

Previous Education: 

-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.

Katherine Robbins (MSc)

katHometown: Guelph, Ontario

Previous Education: B.Sc. Hon (Zoology), University of Guelph

Certificate in GIS for Environmental Management, University of Toronto

About me: Professionally, I am a conservation biologist with an interest in all aspects of biodiversity conservation, from applied research, to active management, to education and advocacy. Personally, I feel most satisfied exploring a new ecological environment, which means I take every chance I get to travel. I hope to continue hiking, birding, biking, paddling and scuba diving my way through life.

Master’s Thesis: I am using geolocators to study the behavioural ecology of a planktivorous, diving seabird that breeds on remote islands the North-west Pacific Ocean. Crested Auklets (Aethia cristatella) have a very large breeding range and a very large population size, yet little is known about their behaviour and ecology outside of the breeding season. It’s important to fill these knowledge gaps in order to understand how this species will cope with our rapidly changing oceans due to climate change and anthropogenic activities. I’m interested in determining if and how these birds migrate, what areas at sea are biologically significant to them, and what influences their at-sea habitat selection. I’m privileged to conduct my field work in the remote, uninhabited Aleutian Islands of Alaska – a rugged, volcanic Archipelago described by some authors as “the edge of the world”.

Emilie Kissler, PhD

Emile is investigating co-evolution of moose and their browse species, as well as the dynmaics of landscape pattern as a result of moose herbivory. She is co-supervised by Dr. Luise Hermanutz. Emilie is not quite done her PhD but has taken up a full-time positon with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources in Timmins where she is the Regional Terrestrial Ecosystems Science specialist for the South Porcupine Region.

Undergraduate Students

No honours students currently.

Post-docs and Visiting Researchers


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