Our Team


Dr. Oliver P. Love

Dr. Oliver P. Love

Associate Professor, Canada Research Chair
olove@uwindsor.ca

Research in our lab examines the physiological mechanisms driving life-history trade-offs and variation in fitness in both terrestrial and aquatic vertebrates spanning from temperate to Arctic ecosystems. We seek to solve applied issues in species of conservation concern using mechanisms that link environmental change with performance and fitness. Our work is supported by a number of research awards (NSERC Discovery, Northern Supplement, Canada Foundation for Innovation) as well as a recent Canada Research Chair in Integrative Ecology. Dr. Love received his BSc from Concordia University, his MSc from McGill, and his PhD from Simon Fraser University. His NSERC-funded post-doc at the Université du Québec à Rimouski involved work in the Eastern Canadian Arctic and he joined the Biology Department at the University of Windsor in 2009. Dr. Love has also been a hybrid member of the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research (GLIER) since 2014.


Chris Harris

Chris Harris

Lab Manager
2013 - Present

Chris began in our lab in 2010 as a lab technician, completed his MSc on examining the validity of feather corticosterone as a relevant biomarker of environmental stress in tree swallows in 2014 and during that time became our full-time lab manager. Chris works on everything from Tree swallow field work and winter bunting banding to developing/supervising physiological assays in the lab and its general smooth running. If you need a complex lab, technical or field problem solved, Chris is your solution.


Dr. Audrey Le Pogam

Dr. Audrey Le Pogam

Post-Doctoral Fellow
2021 - Present

Understanding how and why organisms respond morphologically, behaviourally and physiologically to environmental variation allows us to uncover the mechanisms by which we expect them to respond to climate change. For her PhD at the Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR) where she worked with her primary supervisor Dr. François Vézina, Audrey examined the metabolic adaptations and cold acclimation mechanisms that allow free-living and captive Snow buntings to survive and thrive across a highly variable annual cycle. Audrey’s work now shifts to focus on examining whether the very same adaptations which have made buntings such capable cold specialists now are making them maladapted to a rapidly-warming Arctic. As a post-doctoral fellow, Audrey continues to support the ArcticScope team led by Dr. Vézina and supported by the Love LabDr. Kyle Elliott, and Dr. Anna Hargreaves. Very glad we can continue working together Audrey!


Dr. Allison Patterson

Dr. Allison Patterson

Post-Doctoral Fellow
2022 - Present


Sarah Senécal

Sarah Senécal

PhD Candidate
2021 - Present

We all know that using more time, energy or even resources during one part of our lives will eventually come back to impact a future stage of our lives. Sarah is examining just that by looking at the carry-over effects of the costs of breeding to subsequent life history stages (e.g., winter) in Black-capped chickadees. To examine these complex effects, Sarah is using a diversity of cutting-edge experimental techniques in a free-living population of chickadees that she and her team can track all through the year. Based at the Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR) where she is working with her primary supervisor Dr. François Vézina, Sarah’s fascinating project combines energetic physiology, behavioural ecology and a strong emphasis on life history trade-offs. We are very happy to be included in this amazing work with such a great research team, and we are looking forward to helping them to break new ground in asking how organisms manage the costs of living across their entire lifetime. Welcome Sarah!


Inès Fache

Inès Fache

PhD Candidate
2022 - Present

In the past century, landscape composition across North America has been changing dramatically. Whether we measure these impacts as changes in weather or the loss of wild habitats due to agricultural intensification, this change is expected to have significant impacts on animal populations. Inès is working to understand how the influence of changing environmental parameters affects the physiology and population distribution of a highly nomadic species that visits Southern Canada during our winter: the Snow bunting. For her PhD project, Inès will first examine winter population changes from broad spatial scales (continental and National) to finer spatial scales (Provinces and States) to examine whether buntings populations have been declining at the same rates across their North American Wintering range. Based at the Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR) where she is working with her primary supervisor Dr. François Vézina, Inès will combine different approaches, using historical data obtained by community science projects with experimental techniques on free-living and captive birds to examine the mechanisms that may be responsible for these changes over time. Welcome to our teams Inès!


Erika Nissen

Erika Nissen

MSc Student
2020 - Present

Erika joined our lab in the Fall of 2020 and is working on a long-term GPS movement ecology dataset from East bay common eiders collected by our former PhD student and PDF, Dr. Holly Hennin. Holly is co-supervising Erika from Environment and Climate Change Canada where she works with our long-term Arctic collaborator Dr. Grant Gilchrist. Erika is specifically examining where pre-breeding female eiders spend their time foraging around the East bay colony before committing to laying, and is specifically examining how fine-scale changes in ice cover in the bay impact foraging and movement decisions of individuals females as they invest in reproduction. Erika’s work is not only important for understanding whether behavioural flexibility can respond to changing energetic demands and abiotic opportunities within a year, but more importantly for building the rules and and linkages that will allow us to use multi-annual predictive modelling with collaborator Dr. Christina Semeniuk to forecast how eiders are expected to respond to rapidly-changing ice conditions in the Arctic over the next 20-40 years. Welcome Erika!


Sara Bellefontaine

Sara Bellefontaine

MSc Student
2021 - Present

Sara joined our lab in the Fall of 2021 and comes to our team with lots of experience and interest in shorebirds. In trying to help tease apart the many mechanisms that may be driving declines in Arctic-breeding shorebirds, Sara will be examining the physiological and behavioural responses of various shorebird species to variability in weather conditions and nest site quality during incubation. To solve this complex problem, Sara will be using heart rate recording technology pioneered in eiders by our technician Chris Harris and recent MSc graduate Erica Geldart to estimate whether wind, rain and a bird’s choice of where to specifically orient its nest interact to impact the metabolic costs of incubation. Since increases in the energetic cost of incubation also means that a bird will burn through its resources more quickly, Sara will also be looking at how changes in these environmentally-driven costs proximately affect incubation consistency to ultimately ask how and why nest fate is affected by environmental stressors. Sara is co-supervised by Dr. Paul Smith at Environment and Climate Change Canada, and will be working in the field at Dr. Smith’s East Bay Mainland shorebird camp, right across the water from our East Bay Island camp. Looking forward to using some amazing field techniques to get at an important conservation question. Welcome to the team Sara!


Alysha Riquer

Alysha Riquer

MSc Student
2022 - Present

With experience working with a variety of species, Alysha joined the Love lab in the Fall of 2022 with a focus on breeding Snow buntings, co-supervised by Dr. François Vézina at the Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR). With a keen interest for conservation, Alysha will be examining how variation in weather affects arthropod emergence which then is expected to drive flexibility in the breeding synchronization of Snow buntings. She will be using and further contributing to the long-term breeding and migratory Snow bunting dataset collected at East Bay Island since 2007. Alysha is ultimately aiming to determine whether buntings have the capacity to keep pace with climate change in a rapidly changing Arctic. Welcome to the team Alysha!


Samuelle Simard-Provençal

Samuelle Simard-Provençal

MSc Student
2022 - Present

Sam joined our lab in the Fall 2022 and is arriving with a background as a bird bander. She is an active bander in British Columbia, and enjoys working very closely with a  range of birds across taxa to examine moult and plumages. With a broad interest in all things ornithology, Sam has narrowed down her research interest to movement ecology and will be examining the movement of Snow Buntings as a continuation and expansion of the work done by Emily McKinnon. Sam will primarily be working with several populations of Snow Buntings in south eastern and maritimes Canada to take a closer look at their wintering movement and how this relates to weather conditions and sex. To investigate the movement of such a nomadic species, the motus wildlife tracking system will be the key to tracking these birds. Using radio tracking technology in areas with a strong network of motus towers will ideally allow for spatial connectivity mapping of buntings in their non-breeding range. Sam is additionally working on building a network of Snow Bunting banders internationally to further look into the connectivity of the species at a global scale. Welcome to the team Sam!!


Rebecca Jardine

Rebecca Jardine

MSc Student
2022 - Present

Rebecca will be joining our lab in the Fall of 2022 and is arriving with lots of experience and interest in all thing’s birds. Rebecca will be examining the thermal, behavioural and fitness responses of warming Arctic temperatures on snow buntings at East bay island, co-supervised by long-time bunting collaborator and energetic physiology expert, Dr. François Vézina. Specifically, starting in the summer of 2022, Rebecca will be field-testing predictions from an upcoming paper by Vézina-Love post-doctoral fellow Dr. Ryan O’Connor which used a thermal polygon approach to predict that snow bunting’s chick rearing performance will be severely impacted by even moderate temperature increases due to climate change. To examine this question, Rebecca is using novel Radio-Frequency IDentification (RFID) thermal tags and in-house receivers developed by the Vézina-Love teams to measure real-time changes in body temperature in response to elevated ambient temperature as parents work hard to raise their nestlings in an ever-warming Arctic. Rebecca’s work at our low Arctic East bay island site can then be compared with data from Dr. Vézina’s high Arctic site at Alert, Nunavut. Welcome to our collective teams Rebecca!


Emily MacDonald

Emily MacDonald

MSc Student
2022 - Present

Emily joined the Love and Semeniuk labs in the Fall of 2022 from McGill University working on an honours project with long-time Arctic collaborator Dr. Kyle Elliott examining whether the cost of reproduction affects feather quality in thick-billed murres. Emily is working on a highly integrative project looking at the physiological and behavioural responses of Arctic-breeding common eiders to heat stress. More specifically, Emily is using non-invasive measurements of heart rate to estimate metabolic costs of incubating under increasingly warm temperatures faced by Arctic-breeding seabirds. Emily will then be using these physiological responses to estimate (and then measure) at what temperatures incubation behaviours become interrupted as eiders begin to face heat stress and a loss of metabolic control over their body temperature. Such an exciting, highly topical and wonderfully collaborative project. Welcome to our labs Emily!