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University of Ottawa

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Risa Sargent (PI)

email: rsargent [at] uottawa [dot] ca

Risa is an associate professor in the department of Biology at the University of Ottawa. In her work she applies the principles of evolutionary ecology to address questions about how plant communities - including their pollinators and herbivores - function. For a more complete picture of the work going on in the lab, check out our publications page.

Marina Torreblanca (MSc candidate)

email: mtorre048 [at] uottawa [dot] ca

Marina is studying the impacts of the presence of a well-known biocontrol of purple loosestrife (Neogalerucella) on the successful emergence of a second biocontrol - the flower feeding weevil Nanophyes.



Cory Barker (MSc candidate)

email: cbark050 [at] uottawa [dot] ca

Cory is interested in the impact of the urban environment on pollinators and pollination. This summer he will be studying aspects of pollination at a variety of community gardens across the Ottawa region.


Julia Charlebois (MSc candidate)

email: jchar167 [at] uottawa [dot] ca

Julia is studying the role of spatial relationships in pollinator-mediated interactions between native and invasive plants.

Lab Alumni  

Elizabeth Da Silva (MSc 2010)

Elizabeth found evidence for facilitation in pollinator-mediated interactions between the invasive species purple loosestrife and the native plant Decodon verticillatus. After her MSc, Elizabeth pursued a post-degree teaching program and is now a teacher in Ottawa.

Christina Thomsen (MSc 2014)

email: cthom120 [at] uottawa [dot] ca

Christina quantified pollinator-mediated selection of herbivore tolerance traits in the invasive wetland plant, purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria). She is now working at AgriFood and Agriculture Canada.


Jake Russell-Mercier (MSc 2013)

email: jruss064 [at] uottawa [dot] ca

Jake's thesis work explored how how a beetle released to control Loosestrife impacts pollinator-mediated interactions in this system. Jake is now working at Environment and Climate Change Canada.


Vashti King (BSc (Hon) 2011)

Vashti's Honours project examined how plant invasions influence pollinator foraging patterns and impact the fitness of native species. Vashti started medical school in September 2011 and is now a practicing doctor.



Lisa O'Donnell (formerly Hensel) (MSc 2011)

Lisa studied the role of local diversity on pollen limitation in Trillium grandiflorum communities. She won a poster prize for her thesis work at the Banff CSEE meetings, and is currently working on her doctorate at the University of Calgary.

Michael Stastny (Postdoctoral Fellow, 2012-2016)

Michael is interested in plant-animal interactions, especially herbivory. He is now a research scientist at NRCAN's Canadian Forestry Research Centre in Fredericton, NB, working on plant antagonists such as spruce budworm.

Michael Stastny

Gabrielle Forget (MSc, 2017)

email: gforg065 [at] uottawa [dot] ca

Gabby studied how the impacts of invasive species are related to phylogenetic relationships among community members. Gabby will be using her MSc aquired R skills to examine economic models for the Bank of Canada - winning her the award for the most creative use of her MSc!


Excedera St. Louis (MSc 2014)

email: estlo103 [at] uottawa [dot] ca

Excedera studied how the release of Neogalerucella for biocontrol has impacted purple loosestrife population demography, fitness and aspects of the surrounding plant community. Excedera is now working as a Species at Risk biologist for the government of British Columbia in Victoria.