Contact Info
Stephen C. Lougheed
Professor, Department of Biology and School of Environmental Studies
Director, Queen's University Biological Station and Elbow Lake Environmental Education Centre
Department of Biology, Queen's University
Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6
Telephone: 613-533-6128
FAX: 613-533-6617


Postdoctoral Fellow

  • Isabella Mandl Project: Developing a conservation strategy for endangered flying foxes using GPS tracking.
  • BIO: Isabella completed her PhD in 2018 at Bristol University, UK, where she worked in conjunction with local NGOs and Bristol Zoo Gardens to study the behavioural ecology of lemurs in Madagascar. She went on to work for a conservation NGO in the Comoros, Indian Ocean, collaborating closely with local communities to protect remaining natural habitat. Besides promoting the importance of collaboration between scientists, practitioners and local communities, her interests lie in studying behaviour of endangered animal species to inform applied conservation actions. As a postdoctoral fellow in the Lougheed lab, she is working on the movement ecology of Pteropus livingstonii, one of the rarest fruit bats in the world, using GPS tracking to establish conservation management priorities for this species.
  • email:

Graduate Students


  • Meghan Britt  (M.Sc. Started 2018) Project: Evolutionary dynamics and secondary contact zones in spring peepers
  • BIO: Meg spent the first 3 years of her undergraduate studies in the Wildlife Biology and Conservation program at the University of Guelph where she received a general B.Sc. in Biology before transferring to Trent University for her B.Sc.H. in Forensics and Biology. During her two years at Trent she received an NSERC USRA to conduct a meta-analysis on the use of genetic/genomic studies in conservation management and completed a thesis in which she used non-invasive samples to estimate key population parameters of an isolated mountain goat population in Alaska.
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  • Nick Cairns (Ph.D. Started 2013) Working thesis title: Genomic insights into speciation in spring peepers.
  • BIO: Nick did his B.Sc. at Brandon University including an undergraduate thesis investigating small snake ecology with Dr. Pamela Rutherford, he completed his M.Sc. on freshwater turtle bycatch and mitigation with Dr. Gabriel Blouin-Demers (University of Ottawa) and Dr. Steven Cooke (Carleton University). His current project is focuses on using genomic tools to look for the signature of reproductive isolation between lineages of the spring peeper (Pseudacris crucifer). Nick’s academic interests reflect his personal ones, he enjoys observing flora and fauna with a particular interest in arid-land natural history. Nick’s website.
  • email:
  • Ying Chen (Ph.D. started 2019) Provisional thesis title: Phylogenomics, hybridization, and mtDNA cloture capture in chorus frogs.
  • BIO: For my undergrad, I spent the first 2 years at Tongji University and then 2 more years at Queen’s University as a “2+2” program student in environmental science. I finished with dual B.Sc degrees from both universities. As a city girl from Shanghai, my great interest in biology was accidentally sparked by a trip to the Queen’s University Biological Station, which lead me to a research project on frog calling phenology in Dr. Lougheed’s lab in my 4th year. Sparked by my newfound passion for frogs from this, I continued into an M.Sc. evaluating male spring peeper’s breeding system, and am now doing a PhD on chorus frogs.
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  • Saskia de Wildt (Ph.D. in Environmental Studies. Started September 2019). Project: Governance systems in polar bear management.
  • BIO: To come. My PhD research will explore the possibilities of synthesizing Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) with Science based knowledge in polar bears.
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  • Wenxi Feng (M.Sc. started 2014; switched to PhD 2016). Provision thesis title: eDNA approaches to quantifying species distributions.
  • BIO: Wenxi finished his undergraduate degree at Fudan University, Shanghai, China. He met Steve through his Canada-China field course (taught with colleague Yuxiang Wang) in 2012 and decided to come to Queen’s for graduate work. His current research involves using environmental DNA (eDNA) to map turtle species distributions in Eastern Ontario and developing eDNA based fish community survey protocols for Eastern China freshwater lakes.
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  • Kristen Hayward (M.Sc. started  September 2019). Project: Developing new tools for monitoring of polar bears.
  • BIO: Kristen completed her B.Sc. at Queen’s University, where she focused her undergraduate thesis and NSERC work on development and validation of a new SNP assay for individual identification of polar bears based on non-invasively collected scat samples. For her MSc., she is excited to further validate and optimize this assay for use in a new community-based, continuous monitoring program for polar bears in the Canadian arctic. She is also working on a side project on Andean condors in which she will analyze diet using metagenomics.
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  • Megan Hazell (Ph.D. started 2015). Provision thesis title: Spatial genomics and conservation of temperate snakes.
  • BIO: Megan did her B.Sc. at U Toronto including an undergrad thesis investigating the genetics and population structure of sympatric Deer Mouse populations in Mexico with Dr. Mark Engstrom. She completed her M.Sc. on the movement behavior and population dynamics of re-introduced Elk into Ontario with Dr. John Fryxell at U of Guelph. Megan currently works as a senior biologist at the Wood Group consulting firm largely focused undertaking long term monitoring programs for Species at Risk such as Woodland Caribou, Eastern Foxsnake and Butler’s Gartersnake. Internationally she has done Projects with the Wood Group, International Finance Corporation and the University of Toronto undertaking faunal biodiversity assessments in Central and South America. Her PhD project is focused on spatial genomics and conservation of temperate snakes.
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  • Leslie Holmes (Ph.D. started 2012). Provisional thesis title: Evolution of the cowpea weevil, Callosobruchus maculates, in response to stress in the face of predation and competition. Co-supervised with Bill Nelson.
  • BIO: Leslie received her B.Sc. in forensic science from U. Windsor in 2008. Early in her undergrad degree, she began working in a forensic entomology lab as a work study student. Helping grad students with their theses, she became enamoured with the study of insects and their application in forensics. She completed her M.Sc. with Dr. VanLaerhoven at Windsor working on the life-history of the black soldier fly to see how we might maintain fly-based waste management facilities year-round in S. Ontario. During her MSc. she spent a year in Texas mentored by Dr. Tomberlin at Texas A&M University. She moved to Queen’s to undertake a PhD with Bill Nelson & Steve Lougheed using cowpea weevils to address questions related to competition & predation.
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  • Emily Landon (M.Sc. started September 2019). Project: Quantifying polar bear diet using metabarcoding.
  • BIO: Emily completed her B.Sc. at the University of Guelph, where she did an undergraduate thesis investigating the population genetic structure, species richness and habitat selection of Arctic sawflies (Pontania) in Churchill, MB with Dr. Sarah Adamowicz. This sparked her interest in the use of genetic tools in research and conservation management, and she is now pursuing an M.Sc. focusing on quantifying polar bear diet using metabarcoding methods.
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  • Peiwen Li (Ph.D. started 2017). Provisional thesis title: Stock & evolutionary genomics of Arctic char in the Lower Northwest Passage.
  • BIO: Peiwen completed her B.Sc. at Tongji University, Shanghai, China, and Queen’s in Environmental Science under a “Queen’s-Tongji 2+2 program”, receiving B.Sc. degrees from both institutions. She met Dr. Lougheed, one of the coordinators of the “2+2 program”, before she came to Queen’s. Steve aroused her interests in molecular genetics and bioinformatics, and she then worked as a summer intern in his lab on an exciting Arctic fisheries project. The project helped her to decide to pursue her interests in biology. With this newfound passion for biology, she is now pursuing a Ph.D., focusing on understanding population structure and evolutionary genomics of Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus) in Nunavut, Canada.
  • email:
  • Matthew Macpherson (M.Sc. started May 2018). Project: Evaluating conservation strategies for a Threatened population of Gray Ratsnake (Pantherophis spiloides) Co-supervised with Jackie Litzgus (Laurentian University)
  • BIO: Matt completed his B.Sc. at the University of Guelph, where he did an undergraduate thesis investigating the effects of anthropogenic activity on patterns of meso-predator activity around common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) nests. His current research involves designing effective roadside mitigation fencing for gray ratsnakes, and investigating the environmental factors that determine snake nest box use and success.
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  • Lesley Rudy (M.Sc. started January 2019). Project: Nesting ecology and conservation of northern map turtles.
  • BIO: Lesley completed her BSc in Biology at the University of Guelph.  She also holds a diploma in Ecosystem Management from Fleming College.  She has worked for 10+ years for government and not-for-profits in stewardship, conservation and granting.  Her volunteer work and passion for wildlife has brought her back to academics to study the phenology of a local urban turtle population.
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  • Christina Tschritter (Ph.D. started 2018). Project: Landscape genomics and range dynamics in polar bears.
  • BIO: Christina completed her undergrad degree at the University of Saskatchewan, where she continued her education and earned her M.Sc. Her Masters focused on assessing the genetic diversity and genetic relationships of the Sable Island and Alberta feral horse populations. Christina is primarily interested in the application of genetic tools in the conservation of populations and species. She is scheduled to join the Lougheed lab in autumn 2018 and will study the landscape genomics and range dynamics of polar bear populations across Canada.
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  • Chanjuan Qu (Ph.D. Tongji University – visiting scholarship student). Provisional thesis title: Fine-scale landscape genomics of the spring peeper. Comparing spatial hypotheses using different data sources. Co-supervised with Jianfu Zhang and Kat Stewart.
  • BIO: Chanjuan completed her B.Sc. at Huazhong Agricultural Univ. in the Department of Environmental Engineering, which involved the solution of water, air, and soil pollution. She started her PH.D. (direct entry) at Tongji Univ. in  Environmental Science, and carried out her environmental DNA research on Yangtze finless porpoises, which involves a substantial biological base knowledge, under the co-supervision of Dr. Jianfu Zhao (Environmental Science) and Dr. Kathryn Stewart (Biology). Now as a Visiting Research Student in Biology at Queen’s, she continues her research under the supervision of Dr. Stephen C. Lougheed. She is discovering the charm of biology.
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  • Sean Vanderluit (M.Sc. started 2019). Provision thesis title: Landscape genomics of polar bears.
  • BIO: Sean completed his B.Sc. at Queen’s University, where his undergraduate thesis studied landscape effects on genetic structure in the Gulf of Boothia polar bear subpopulation. He is currently expanding these interests to address a pan-Arctic landscape genomic study.
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  • Jesús Vargas Soriano (Ph.D started 2017). Provision thesis title: Understanding diversification of Campylorhynchus wrens in Southeastern Mexico: Speciation of the Yucatan Wren in the Northern of Yucatan Peninsula.
  • BIO: I am currently a first year PhD student at Queen´s University. I am interested in evolutionary biology, and particularly phylogeography. For my doctorate I am focusing on  the evolution of Yucatan Wren (Campylorhynchus yucatanicus) a member of the wren family (Troglodytidae), a family with high endemism in Mesoamerica. Using DNA data and recordings of vocalizations, I will test hypotheses of diversification the Campylorhynchus and particularly the effect of th Yucatan peninsula on evolution of local diversity. For a hobby, I enjoy walking into the forest taking in its wonderful smells and clean air, and hearing the sound of birds.
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  • Hayden Wainwright (M.Sc. started 2019). Provision thesis title: Using mark-recapture methods and non-invasive sampling to estimate polar bear population size
  • BIO: Hayden completed his B.Sc. at Queen’s University, where his undergraduate thesis investigated the use of surfactants as potential remediation agents for cyanobacterial blooms. This first experience in the world of academia, combined with a life-long passion for the outdoors, sparked Hayden’s interest in biological research and conservation. His current research investigates the utility of mark-recapture methods and non-invasive sampling techniques in polar bear populations.
  • email:


Research Associates

  • Zhengxin Sun Works with many Biology faculty and students and runs our Molecular Core Lab.
  • BIO: Zhengxin received his B.Sc. in Biochemistry from Peking University, China and M.Sc. in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology from Medical College of Ohio, Toledo, USA. He joined the Queen’s Biology Department in 2005 to run the EEB Molecular Core lab. He helps train students with molecular techniques used in ecology and evolutionary research; provides DNA genotyping and sequencing services to Biology faculty and students, and provides services/consultation in genomic library construction as well as other matters involving molecular techniques.
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  • Monica Navarette Bedolla. Assists with BearWatch
  • BIO: Monica completed her B.Sc. and M.Sc in Biology and Metallurgical Engineering, respectively, at Universidad Michoacana in Mexico. Over the last 15 years she has worked as a Lab technician in various biotech and microbiology projects in Mexico. Monica has also worked as a high school teacher, where she ran science labs. Monica is currently working as a technician on BearWatch seeking to develop a scat-based biomonitoring protocol for polar bears.
  • email:

Summer Interns

  • Shannon Edie
  • Stafford Maracle
  • Andreea Bocicariu


Postdoctoral Fellows

Graduate Students

  1. Junjie Jin (MES 2018-2020). Thesis title: Detecting the invisible: Early monitoring of cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms with quantitative PCR.
  2. Ying Chen (M.Sc. 2018 – defended autumn 2019) Thesis title: Understanding sources of variation advertisement call attributes in spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer).
  3. Hannah Driver (M.Sc. 2018 – defended autumn 2019). Towards a sustainable Arctic fishery. Population genomics of lake whitefish in a hybrid species complex
  4. Danielle Beaulne (M.Sc. 2018 – Co-supervised with Georgia Fotopoulos, Geology & Geological Engineering). Thesis title: The importance of geospatial inputs in assessing fine-scale landscape genetic patterns of a temperate treefrog.
  5. Amanda Cicchino (M.Sc. 2018 – defended October 2017). Thesis title: Physiological consequences and reproductive benefits of arboreal calling behaviour across the range of the spring peeper.
  6. Megan Snetsinger (M.Sc. 2018 – defended October 2017). Thesis title: Genetic structure and connectivity of the endangered Butler’s gartersnake (Thamnophis butleri) across the fragmented landscape of Southwestern Ontario.
  7. Michael Colley (M.Sc.  2015) Provisional thesis title: The influence of mitigation structures on Sistrurus catenatus in Killbear Provincial Park. Co-supervised with Jackie Litzgis.
  8. Hayley Roberts (M.Sc. 2015) Thesis title: Female breeding phenology of temperate frogs in Eastern Ontario.
  9. Samantha Klaus (M.Sc. 2012). Thesis title: Correlates and temporal variation in call phenology of Eastern Ontario frogs. Now an analyst with Health Canada.
  10. Kat Stewart (Ph.D. 2012) Thesis title: Contact zone dynamics and the evolution of reproductive isolation in a North American treefrog, the spring peeper (Pseudacris crucifer).
  11. Nicola Banger (M.Sc. 2012 – Co-supervised with Gabriel Blouin-Demers). Thesis Title: Consequences of multiple paternity for female fitness in an Ontario population of northern map turtles, Graptemys geographica.
  12. Leonardo Campagna (Ph.D. 2012. Principle Supervisor Pablo Tubaro. Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernadino Rivadavia”, Buenos Aires). Thesis title: Evolución de una radiación reciente en el género Sporophila (Aves, Passeriformes). Now a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
  13. Amanda Xuereb (M.Sc. 2012) Thesis title: Characterizing population genetic structure and inferring the influence of landscape features on gene flow in a temperate snake species. Just finished her Ph.D. at the University of Toronto.
  14. Jeff Row (Ph.D. 2011) Thesis title: Testing for the imprint of historical and contemporary processes on genetic and ecological diversity of eastern foxsnakes across multiple spatial scales. Now an environmental consultant. | web site |
  15. Gabriela Ibarguchi (Ph.D. 2011 – co-supervised with Vicki Friesen). Thesis title: Biogeography and diversification of Andean seedsnipes (Thinocoridae): An Antarctic avian lineage?
  16. Markus Dyck (Ph.D. candidate – co-supervised with W. Nelson) Research focus: foraging ecology and bioenergetics in temporally and spatially heterogeneous landscapes. Withdrawn to serve as the primary polar bear biologist for Nunavut.
  17. Amy Chabot (Ph.D. 2010) Thesis title: The Impact of Migration on the Evolution and Conservation of an Endemic North American Passerine: Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus).
  18. Michelle DiLeo (M.Sc. 2010) Thesis title: The influence of landscape on genetic structure of a threatened reptile. The eastern massasauga rattlesnake. Now a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Toronto. Mississauga. | web site |
  19. Alex Little (M.Sc. 2009 – co-supervised with C. Moyes) Research focus: Evolution of oxidative metabolism in fishes.
  20. Kathryn Elmer (Ph.D. 2006). Thesis Title: Genetic diversity across spatial and evolutionary scales in some neotropical amphibians. Now a lecturer at the University of Glasgow. | web site |
  21. Briar Howes (Ph.D. 2006). Thesis Title: Genetic and ecological analysis of a species’ range. Now a Critical Habitat Biologist with Parks Canada (Gatineau, Quebec).
  22. Laura Nagel (Ph.D. 2006) Thesis Title: Evolutionary divergence in a common ectoparasite of coral reef fishes. (Primary supervisor Bob Montgomerie). Now a adjunct professor and instructor at Queen’s University.
  23. Daria Koscinski (M.Sc. 2003) Thesis Title: The relative importance of geographic isolation vs. ecological gradients in diversification of an Andean treefrog, Hyla andina. Now a conservation biologist with Carolinean Canada | web site |
  24. Anne Dalziel (M.Sc. 2003). Thesis Title: Evolution of aerobic energy metabolism in high performance fish: origins of variation in mitochondrial content. (Co-supervised with C. Moyes). Now a postdoctoral fellow at Laval University.
  25. James Austin (Ph.D. 2003). Thesis Title: Multi-scale perspectives on the genetic structure of a widespread amphibian, the North American Bullfrog, Rana catesbeiana. (Co-supervised with P. Boag). Now an Associate Professor in Wildlife Ecology & Conservation at the University of Florida (Gainseville). | web site |
  26. Emily Croteau (M.Sc. 2002). Thesis Title: Conservation genetics of northern populations of a declining songbird, the Brewer’s Sparrow (Spizella breweri breweri) in a fragmented landscape. (Co-supervised with P. Boag). Now an Assistant Professor at Valdosta State University. | web site |
  27. Mary Vallianatos (M.Sc. 1999). Thesis Title: Conservation genetics and population structure of the Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) in Central and Eastern North America. (Co-supervised with P. Boag). Executive Assistant to the Senior Vice-President of Health Affairs, University of Florida.

Undergraduate Thesis & Mentorship Students

Past Visiting Scientists

Work Study Students & Lab Volunteers

International Internship Students


(from St. Lawrence College)