Our Team


Dr. Oliver P. Love

Dr. Oliver P. Love

Associate Professor, Canada Research Chair
olove@uwindsor.ca

Research in the Love 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. The lab’s 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. Christine Madliger

Dr. Christine Madliger

Post-Doctoral Fellow
2016 - Present

Christine completed her PhD in the Love Lab examining baseline glucocorticoids (GCs) as biomarkers of human-induced environmental change using Tree swallows, a declining aerial insectivore, as a model system. Christine continued her work with our lab under the co-supervision of Dr. Steven Cooke at Carleton University where she is now a full-time PDF under his supervision. Christine continues to work with the Love Lab primarily by focusing on assessing how barriers related to logistics, interpretation, and translation of knowledge may limit the carry-through of physiological monitoring to conservation success. You can find out more about Christine’s extensive research program on her website.


Audrey LePogam

Audrey LePogam

PhD Candidate
2014 - 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. Audrey is examining 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. She is conducting her field work at Alert, Nunavut and her lab-based work on a captive population of buntings held at the Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR) where she works with her primary supervisor Dr. François Vézina. Audrey’s work is set to shed light on multiple novel mechanisms by which these iconic birds respond to dramatic variability in their working environments. Welcome to team bunting Audrey!


Sydney Currier

Sydney Currier

MSc Student
2018 - Present

Sydney began as a Research Assistant in the Love lab in 2016 and completed her honours project on sexing Chinook salmon. For her MSc, Sydney will be examining the sex-specific, early-life interaction between maternal and environmental stress on offspring phenotype and performance in Chinook with previous MSc student Pauline Capelle. Sydney will be working closely with the Predictive Ecology lab of Dr. Christina Semeniuk and the Conservation Genetics lab of Dr. Daniel Heath. Very happy to keep you on our team Sydney!


Keta Patel

Keta Patel

MSc Student
2017 - Present

Keta completed her undergraduate honours thesis under the direction of Drs. Daniel Heath and Oliver Love by developing and using microsatelite primers to examine the relationship between male quality and extra-pair paternity in Snow buntings. For her MSc, Keta will be continuing her genetic work in Dr. Heath’s lab and will be co-supervised by Dr. Love. Keta’s thesis will focus on examining genetic variation across Snow bunting populations worldwide, as well as using a transcitptomics approach to examine global gene expression in response to increases in ambient temperature during heavy workload life history stages such as chick-rearing. Great to have you on our team Keta!


Alyssa Eby

Alyssa Eby

MSc Student
2018 - Present

For organisms to succeed in rapidly-changing environments they must have the adaptive capacity to keep up with the pace of change. To examine whether Arctic seabirds have this degree of capacity to respond to climate change, Alyssa is examining whether thick-billed murres have the flexibility in foraging effort and spatial habitat use necessary to keep pace with the effects of climate change. By combining these foraging measurements with data on energetic physiology and resource quality (via stable isotopes), Alyssa can then determine whether these flexible decisions are adaptive at the individual level which will inform us whether populations will persist. Alyssa’s highly integrative project is a strong collaborative effort between Dr. Grant Gilchrist of the National Wildlife Research Centre at Environment and Climate change Canada and Dr. Kyle Elliott’s lab at McGill University. Welcome to our Arctic team Alyssa!


Erica Geldart

Erica Geldart

MSc Student
2018 - Present

The ability of organisms to respond behaviourally is often their first-line response to rapid changes in their world. Erica is combining behavioural and physiological mechanisms to determine whether common eiders have the adaptive capacity to respond to the direct and indirect effects of climate change. Specifically, Erica is examining behavioural responses during incubation fasting to increases in polar bear predation on nests (indirect effects) and elevations in ambient temperature (direct effects). She will combine this data with estimations of energy use through a proxy of changes in basal metabolic rate. Erica is supervised by Dr. Christina Semeniuk at GLIER and works closely with Dr. Grant Gilchrist of Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Love Lab on her highly integrative project. Looking forward to working together at East bay Erica!


Madison Sturba

Madison Sturba

MSc Student
2019 - Present

Madison began volunteering with the Love Lab in early 2018, working with MSc student Sydney Currier on developmental plasticity in Chinook salmon. She then conducted her honours BSc project in our lab looking at the phenotypic changes that occur in female Chinook during the senescence that occurs leading up to spawning. Madison is building on this work during her own MSc project which examines how and why elevated water temperatures affect the speed and physiological management of senescence in female Chinook, working alongside Sydney with our industrial partners Yellow Island Aquaculture Limited. Given the dramatic declines in many Chinook salmon populations along the entire West coast of North America, Madison’s work will help to shed light on the costs of having to migrate and spawn within the new reality of climate change. We’re all very excited to have you continue working with us Madison!


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 Payel

Sara Payel

MSc Student
2021 - Present

North American Snow bunting populations have declined by an estimated 65% in the past 40 years according to a report by the Audubon Society. Unfortunately, because few research groups study this Arctic-breeding species, we know little about the possible mechanisms that may be driving these declines, and whether all provinces are experiencing similar negative population trends. Sarah is working on a long-term dataset collected by previous BSc honours student Jason Chappus to examine links between agricultural and climatic change on the wintering grounds as possible drivers of the dramatic North American decline in Snow buntings reported by the Audubon Society. Sarah is conducting her MSc at the Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR) where she works with her primary supervisor Dr. François Vézina. Sarah brings a strong interest in determining how human-induced change impacts birds populations, especially the impacts of high-intensity agriculture, so she perfectly poised to ask this question! Welcome to team bunting Sarah!