Professor | Liber Ero Chair in Conservation Biology | Killam Fellow | Founding director of the Quebec Centre for Biodiversity Science
I obtained a BSc in Zoology (Hons.) in 1994 at the University of Nottingham, where I did undergraduate research on pollinator behaviour in honey bees, and the effects of habitat fragmentation and corridors on species diversity. I obtained a PhD in ecology (1998) at Silwood Park (Imperial College) where I worked with John Lawton on the causes and consequences of extinction. I then did a postdoc with Michel Loreau at the University of Paris VI, where I extended metacommunity theory to the field of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. I then spent four years as an assistant professor at the University of Paris VI, before moving to McGill University as an Associate Professor in 2003. Major research interests include: 1) biodiversity loss as a form of global change, 2) rapid evolution and its consequences for communities, and 3) links between biodiversity change, sustainability and human wellbeing. I recently spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos on the sixth mass extinction and resilient ecosystems for urban sustainability. I am co-lead of the Adapting Urban Environments for the Future theme of McGill's Sustainability Systems Initiative. In 2018, I started a spin-off company called Eco2Urb.
Gonzalez lab members, partners and kids at the top of Mont St. Gregoire.
Post Doctoral Researchers
Celina Baines is interested in the connection between movement ecology and community ecology. She completed a MSc in 2014 with Dr. Locke Rowe and a PhD in 2019 with Dr. Shannon McCauley, both at the University of Toronto. Her graduate research investigated how phenotype and the environment interact to induce or modify dispersal. Celina’s current research explores how the conditions and configuration of the environment influence the number and phenotypes of dispersers, and how this will affect network connectivity and ultimately, the maintenance of biodiversity. She will be studying soil microarthropods in lab and field microcosms, which make it possible to manipulate and replicate entire worlds (i.e., metacommunity networks), to determine the consequences of movement for biodiversity.
Jorge Negrin Dastis is interested in applying a metacommuntiy approach to understanding the eco-evolutionary dynamics of freshwater ecosystems, in particular the importance of evolutionary history, connectivity and their interaction, as key ingredients conferring resistance to a whole metacommunity. Jorge completed his PhD under the supervision of Alison Derry (UQAM), studying the impacts of acidification on local adaptation of zooplankton. Jorge will run the 2018 experiment at LEAP testing evolutionary rescue in metacommunities exposed to multiple stressors.
Sofia van Moorsel's research lies at the intersection between community ecology and evolutionary ecology. She completed a PhD in 2017 with Prof. Bernhard Schmid at the University of Zurich. Sofia received her BSc and MSc degrees from the University of Zurich in 2012 and 2013, respectively. During her MSc thesis she investigated whether incompatibilities between metabolic pathways in E. coli cells would, over time, promote diversification and hence biodiversity. Her doctoral research investigated evolutionary mechanisms driving the positive biodiversity–productivity relationship in grasslands. During her postdoctoral research Sofia will continue investigating feedbacks between ecology and evolution in LEAP. She wants to find out how rapid evolution modifies community stability and how stability and evolutionary rescue are linked.
Ty Tuff explores how different parts of the global ecosystem (i.e. organisms, climate variables, resources, etc.) are moving collectively in space and time—in the same or different directions, at the same or different speeds. Ty is developing models of transport optimization and a new microcosm experimental system to better understand the role of individual movement and population flow through urban habitat corridors. We hope to design urban corridors that maintain sustainable ecological communities and give more people high-quality access to biodiversity. He completed his PhD under the supervision of Dr. Brett Melbourne, and in close collaboration with Dr. Alan Hastings, studying evolutionary rescue and assisted migration under climate warming scenarios using a Tribolium beetle microcosm system. His specialties include spatial modeling, data visualization, experimental design, and computer simulations. If you want to talk to Ty about math, science, art, or design, it’s as easy as sending him a tweet @ty_tuff
Justin Marleau works to bridge the gaps between community and ecosystem ecology through the extension and integration of ecological frameworks and theories. In particular, Justin utilizes mathematical models to both predict and explain the ecological processes that connect the community to the ecosystem and vice-versa. Justin completed his PhD in 2014 under the supervision of Michel Loreau and Frédéric Guichard at McGill University. Justin is currently working with the LEAP team to develop models to explain and predict the complex responses of the communities to the stressors they face.
Juan Zuloaga is focused on developing methods and tools for site selection and prioritization to identify Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) across Canada. KBAs are sites that will contribute significantly to the global and regional persistence of biodiversity, from terrestrial to freshwater and marine ecosystems, and across multiple taxonomic groups. Juan’s goal is to make a tangible contribution in biodiversity science and conservation planning by identifying areas of high potential for delineating KBAs sites. It will provide evidence-based information to help in the decision-making process that will eventually create not only new protected areas but will be relevant for: regional and local planning, environmental impact assessments, monitoring targets, guiding investments, restoration, among others.
Current Graduate Students
Alex Arkilanian (MSc candidate) studies dendritic networks of the Saint Lawrence valley to investigate the ways in which fragmentation of streams and rivers can influence their biodiversity and stability in the face of projected climate and land use change.
Charles Bazerghi (MSc candidate) is working on evolutionary rescue and restoration at LEAP. He is assessing whether evolved ponds can assist the recovery of acid-disturbed communities that did not adapt.
Valentin Lucet (MSc candidate) works on building socially realistic models of land use and land cover change, via the analysis of social networks, in order to inform conservation action to improve connectivity in fragmented landscapes.
Kristina Krebs (PhD candidate, co-supervised with Graham Bell) studies the impacts of land use change on freshwater community diversity and composition, and the degree to which communities can adapt to multi-stressor environments.
Alessandra Loria (PhD candidate, cosupervised with Melania Cristescu) The ecological and evolutionary interplay between pollution and biodiversity
Katie Millette (PhD candidate, cosupervised with Melania Cristescu): Evolution in contaminated environments: selection, gene flow, and the maintenance of Daphnia populations exposed to multiple stressors.
Helen Elina obtained her BSc from York University studying self-incompatibility in Brassica and later she obtained her PhD ( McGill University) under the supervision of Prof. Gregory Brown studying the function of the respiratory chain and male sterility in Brassica napus. A recipient of many scholarships and awards during her academic years: Canada Scholarship, Fonds FCAR PhD Scholarship, NSERC PhD (PGS B) Scholarship, Philip Carpenter Biology Scholarship, Research Institute of Hospital for Sick Children Summer Research Scholarship, York Science Research Award, York University Entrance Scholarship, York University Renew in-Course Scholarship. She left research and in 2009 joined the team of the Quebec Centre for Biodiversity Science and the Gonzalez Lab where she heads the administrative and financial management.
Post doctoral researchers:
Zoë Lindo (now Associate Professor at Uni. Western Ontario).
Bronwyn Rayfield (environmental consultant APEX RMS)
Cecile Albert (now CNRS researcher, Aix en Provence)
Jerome Dupras (now Assistant Professor at Uni. of Quebec at Outaouais)
Catalina Gomez (PhD, 2017)
Sarah Leo (PhD, 2016)
Michael Pedruski (PhD, 2015)
Patrick Thompson (PhD, 2015): now Killam Post doc at UBC
Edward Wong (PhD, 2015): now post doc at Princeton U.
Matthew Mitchell (PhD; now post doc UBC)
Jonathan Whiteley (PhD, now Wildlife biologist at Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa)
Pradeep Pillai (PhD; now post doc at NorthEastern Uni.)
Georgina (Xoxo) O'Farrill (PhD; now at the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, Montreal).
Tariq Gardezi (PhD)
Nirmala Massin (PhD, Chargée de mission, UPMC, Paris)
Blandine Descamps-Julien (PhD, Chef de projet - Recherche et Développement, Université d'Aix-Marseille)
Chloe Debyser (M.Sc candidate)
Shaun Turney (MSc, now PhD McGill University)
Carly Ziter (MSc, now PhD Wisconsin)
Robby Marotte (MSc, now PhD Trent University)
Kyle Martins (MSc, research assistant, McGill University)
Tim Holland (MSc, now PhD at McGill University)
Colin Fontaine (DEA, now CNRS, Mueseum, National D'Histoire Naturelle, Paris)
Delphine Saudo (DEA)