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 Fellows

  • Rute Clemente-Carvalho Project: Genomics of fish and bears.
  • BIO: Rute completed her M.Sc. at the Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de Sao Paulo, Brazil (MZUSP) and PhD at Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil (UNICAMP). Her research interests centre on population genetics and systematics, and in particular on patterns of morphological differentiation and molecular divergence among populations across their geographic ranges. She spent one year (2010-2011) in our lab as postdoc examining the phylogeography of Argentine toads Melaphryniscus rubriventris. She returned in 2016 to oversee some exciting Arctic fisheries, frogs population genetics, and polar bear genomics projects.
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  • 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.
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  • Ying Chen (M.Sc. started 2017) Provisional thesis title: Reproductive behaviour and genetics of the spring peeper.
  • 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 now continue into an M.Sc. evaluating male spring peeper’s perching behaviour during breeding, as well as some quantitative genetics of calls.
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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.
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  • Hannah Driver (M.Sc. started 2017). Provisional thesis title: Stock genomics of Lake Whitefish at the northern extent of their range.
  • BIO: Hannah completed her B.Sc. at Queen’s University, where she did an undergraduate thesis investigating latitudinal differences in a core circadian gene in seabirds. This sparked her interest in genetic research, and now, as part of a large-scale Arctic fisheries project, she is pursuing an M.Sc. concentrating on understanding the population structure of lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) at its northern range limit in Nunavut, Canada.
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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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  • Junjie Jin (MES started September 2018). Project: Using eDNA to detect Microcystis. Co-supervised with Yuxiang Wang.
  • BIO: Junjie completed his B.Eng. at Tongji Zhejiang College, Jiaxing, China in 2018. He came to Queen’s University in 2015 as a Queen’s-Tongji 2+2 student and completed his B.Sc. degree at Queen’s in 2018 as well. Early in his undergraduate thesis, he worked in the Lougheed and Lefebvre labs focusing on using eDNA to detect microcystin-producing Microcystis. This sparked a firm determination to solving the issue of harmful algal blooms. He continued into an MES focusing on the advantages of PCR in detecting the “almost invisible”, and further promoting applications of eDNA and PCR to early monitoring of harmful cyanobacterial algal blooms as well as the identification of cyanobacteria species and toxicity.
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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.
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  • 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 Wainright (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.
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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.
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Undergraduate Thesis Students

  • Kestrel DeMarco
  • Project title: DNA barcoding at field stations.
  • email:
To come

Lab Volunteers

  • Shannon Edie
  • Stafford Maracle
  • Darcey Pearson
  • Sherry Shen


Postdoctoral Fellows

Graduate Students

Undergraduate Thesis & Mentorship Students

Past Visiting Scientists

Work Study Students & Lab Volunteers

International Internship Students


(from St. Lawrence College)