Collaborators

Current students




Ingrid Ng 

  • BSc – Zoology, University of Guelph, 2007
  • MSc – Ecology, University of Guelph, 2009

I got my first taste of ecology research in 2006 as an undergrad research student working with Karl.  Over the next couple of years, I continued in the Cottenie Lab, happily delving into community ecology as a Master’s student.  I was given the freedom to go where my curiosity takes me, and I went somewhere unexpected: to the arts.  While my interest in ecology remains strong, the fields of environmental ethics and education have a solid pull on me as well.  Recently, I have come to understand that academic disciplines are not so bounded as they seem, that tackling environmental issues necessitates cross-cultural communication, and that the common language of research can have important unifying outcomes.  My PhD is co-advised by Karl Cottenie here at Guelph, and Bob Jickling in the Faculty of Education at Lakehead University.  Broadly, I aim to explore the relationship between science, philosophy, and education and use research to build stronger ties between these parts of the whole.

Brittany Jones 


Marina Neytcheva



Other collaborators


  • Dagmar Frisch
  • Ben Halpern
  • Astrid Schwalb 
  • Tadeu Siqueira
  • Jani Heino
  • Sarah Pinto
  • Anna Astorga
  • Michal Hajek

Past students



Thiago Goncalves-Souza


  • BSc – Biological Sciences, Escola Superior São Francisco de Assis, Brazil, 2005
  • MSc - Animal Biology, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Brazil, 2009

I am currently PhD student in Animal Biology at Universidade Estadual Paulista, São José do Rio Preto, São Paulo, Brazil. I am co-advised by Dr. Gustavo Q. Romero (Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil) and Dr. Karl Cottenie. I am interested in understanding the mechanisms that best predict the spatial distribution of vegetation-dwelling arthropod communities. My research interests include arthropod-plant relationships, community ecology, ecological statistics and macroecology. The main questions related to my research program are: (i) does the plant architecture explain the variation in composition and abundance of arthropods? (ii) Is the effect of plant architecture on the community structure of arthropods geographically consistent? (iii) Do neutral processes, such as distance decay similarity, structuring vegetation-dwelling arthropod communities? (iv) Do deterministic processes (i.e., niche-based theories) explain the community structure of vegetation-dwelling arthropod communities?

Amanda Winegardner

I started working in the Cottenie lab during my 3rd year of an undergraduate degree in environmental biology. I graduated in the spring of 2009 and started a MSc with Karl a few weeks later. I’m originally from Barrie, Ontario though I’ve been more than happy to call Guelph my home for the past 5 years. My summer home during my undergrad was western Alberta where I spent several years exploring the mountains and waterways with youth, working at an outdoor education centre. I like to run, paddle and generally be in the outdoors.
My main research interest is environmental change in northern aquatic systems, with my MSc research based in Churchill, MB. Zooplankton metacommunity responses to environmental change in the sub arctic 
My project focuses on the invertebrate communities inhabiting rock pools along the coast of Hudson Bay. These ephemeral rock pools are undergoing environmental change as dynamic weather and ocean patterns have caused an almost three fold increase in salinity in the last quarter century. Using a combination of observational studies and manipulation experiments I am studying the effect of these changes in salinity on the zooplankton communities. This work includes work on adult zooplankton as well as dormant resting structures. My research also incorporates the use the metacommunity concept to predict zooplankton community responses to disturbance and stress.

Brittany Ferguson


My love of plants and animals began from a young age – I used to love poking around at frogs and minnows and whatever else I could find down by our pond (where the water melons do not grow you’ll be sad to learn…). We have had many pets in my household throughout my life and I currently reside with a rabbit, dog, tropical fish, cats and horses as well as my human companions. In case your wondering – many of the fish have names – my favourite – is Horatio the lobster – who’s name was inspired by the ‘Maui Jim’ sporting red head we all know from the popular t.v series csi Miami…

This love of all things nature has carried through to today, as I’m a fourth year student studying biology and minoring in zoology at the University of Guelph.

This year I will be completing an undergraduate thesis under the supervision of Karl Cottenie and Tom Nudds. My thesis focuses on the metacommunity dynamics of aquatic invertebrates in freshwater ponds and whether or not ducks act as vectors for invertebrate transport. The region where my data was collected, (by Jennifer McCarter – a previous student who conducted her masters under Tom Nudds supervision) lies within the prairie pothole region of North Dakota.

I’m very eager to get this project underway – and to delve further into academia!

Kyle Gillespie


This year, under the guidance of Karl and the rest of the gang at CottenieLab, I will be undertaking an undergraduate thesis project.My passions include diving, the outdoors and marine science (not necessarily in that order) and I have been fascinated with aquatic systems since spending my childhood summers sifting through tide pools on Canada’s east coast.
Since arriving in Guelph back in 2006, I’ve spent my fair share of time wading in swamps and falling into streams in South-western Ontario; however in recent years I have managed to finagle a few research positions on the West coast. My work with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council in 2008/09, centred on pacific salmon populations in the Canadian Western Arctic. Working at the Pacific Biological Station in British Columbia allowed me the opportunity to explore, analyse and  fisheries records dating back to the mid 19th century.
Since early 2009 I have had the good fortune to work on various ecological monitoring initiatives with Parks Canada at Gulf Islands National Park Reserve South-western British Columbia. At GINPR, our various monitoring projects are designed to take the “pulse” of the park. Whether it be hiding in the bushes at the crack of dawn, recording equipment in hand, ready to “spy” on songbirds, or count clams buried in the sand, or count deer turds, the goal at the end of the day is to make sure that the ecological health of the park is being maintained. This year, using a data set collected over the past 7 years in the park, I will be performing an analysis on food web dynamics and attempting to determine the influence of various biotic and abiotic factors in Southern Gulf Island eelgrass beds.

Lucija Prelovec


I grew up sailing and snorkeling in the Adriatic Sea, and it was these early experiences that made me fall in love with marine and freshwater biology.  While in elementary school, I found out about Guelph’s Marine and Freshwater Biology program and ever since then I knew I would be a student at Guelph.   I have become an active participant both in my program as well as in the program’s club.  While my real passion lies in cetaceans, I have always been fascinated with invertebrates, namely planktonic and intertidal species.  During my third year at Guelph, I began volunteering in Cottenie’s lab, counting and identifying plankton species.  In my fourth year, I began a thesis project under Karl Cottenie and Elizabeth Boulding regarding a trade-off test on zooplankton metacommunites.  I am excited to get the project under way and learn more about ecology throughout the year!
  • Erin Ipsen
  • Sachico Scott
  • Deniz Ergun
  • Katy Jay
  • Andrea Allen
  • Robin Crossley
  • Nancy Linehan
  • Jessica Martino