Who Are We?

The lab

Our lab has scientists with a diversity of backgrounds in plankton ecology. We work on water characteristics, microbes, phytoplankton, and zooplankton.

Dr. Warren Currie (PhD Biological Oceanography, University of Guelph)

Dr. Currie is a Fisheries and Oceans Canada Research Scientist at the Great Lakes Laboratory for Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences in Burlington, Ontario. He is a biophysical-limnologist with specialization in lower trophic food webs, impacts of invasive species, and interactions of pelagic species with their environment. He has more than 30 years of experience working in a wide range of aquatic habitats from streams to open ocean. He combines modeling and empirical collection of biological and environmental data, focusing on the use of sensor technology for the collection of spatial data on plankton and water properties, and has worked on the testing and development of fluorometric and optical sensors on fixed and towed platforms. He currently responsible for research and monitoring within Great Lakes Areas of Concern, and bi-national lake-wide assessments of zooplankton and phytoplankton food webs which support Great Lakes fisheries.

Warren Currie, Ph.D. | Directory of scientists and professionals (science.gc.ca)

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Kelly Bowen (MSc Environmental Biology, University of Guelph)

Kelly is zooplankton research biologist with extensive experience working with lower trophic systems in the Great Lakes Areas of Concern and Lakewide Monitoring. Most of her research involves zooplankton composition, production, and ecological interactions. Her expertise includes limnological field methods, crustacean zooplankton identification, rotifers, and she has led the Lake Ontario Mysis diluviana (Mysid Shrimp) monitoring program for many years.


Mariam Elmarsafy (MSc, Wilfred Laurier University)

Mariam is a zooplankton research biologist interested in the interactions of zooplankton with their ecosystem. Her previous research has involved using resurrection ecology of zooplankton egg banks to determine tolerances to environmental conditions. At DFO she is responsible for determining drivers of zooplankton distribution and composition using multivariate analysis in R.
Mariam wearing a life jacket on a research vessel.

Mark Fitzpatrick (MSc, University of Windsor)

Mark is a phytoplankton research biologist with an interest in the composition and growth of phytoplankton and microbes in the Great Lakes. He is responsible for our research and monitoring using laboratory and shipboard measurements of algal primary productivity and bacterial growth rates using 14C uptake. His interest in trophic ecology and fate of carbon within the microbial food web is important to DFO’s responsibilities in Areas of Concern, the impacts of algal blooms, and the changes to the Great Lakes undergoing oligotrophication.


Heather Niblock (BSc, University of Windsor)

Heather is an aquatic research biologist responsible for the Great Lakes lower trophic research and monitoring program. She is a team lead for all aspects of fieldwork using small vessels and our research ship CCGS Limnos, and heads our lab-work, analysis, and writing related to water properties, water chemistry and phytoplankton identification and composition.

Heather deploying a schindler trap off a small boat with fall leaves in the background.

Owen Fleming (University of Guelph)

Owen is a third-year Marine and Freshwater Biology co-op student at the University of Guelph working as a plankton technician within our Great Lakes lower trophic research and monitoring program. His work includes identifying, counting and sorting plankton with a microscope, preserving and archiving these creatures, as well as collecting samples of them across Lake Ontario and beyond! 

Joseph Gentile (AdDipl Environmental Technology, Fleming College, BSc Trent University, MEnvSc. University of Toronto)

Joseph is completing his UofT MEnvSc Internship with the Great Lakes lower trophic research lab. He is responsible for data management, laboratory analysis and fieldwork of our water chemistry, phytoplankton and microbial-loop sampling using small vessels and our research ship CCGS Limnos.

Ashley FernsEnvSc University of Waterloo, fall 2024 MSc Biology, University of Waterloo)

Ashley has completed several co-op terms at the Canada Centre for Inland Waters with ECCC-ACRD during her EnvSc degree and will working with Dr. Currie within the Great Lakes lower trophic research lab and Cuddington lab for her MSc thesis. She will be responsible for fieldwork and data analysis of new zooplankton imaging technologies from small vessels and our research ship CCGS Limnos.

Lab Alumni

Dr. Colette Ward (PhD Theoretical Ecology, University of Guelph)      2018-2024
Currently Ministère de l’Environnement, de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, de la Faune et des Parcs

Dr. Ward is a quantitative ecologist who seeks to identify patterns and underlying mechanisms of change in aquatic ecosystems. Much of this work focuses on food web structure and function – to understand (i) how various environmental stressors, especially eutrophication, influence energy flow in food webs and (ii) how these patterns of energy flow, in turn, influence trophic control and ultimately whole-ecosystem structure. Her current work with Fisheries and Oceans Canada uses ecological theory to develop applications for ecosystem restoration and conservation. Overall, this work often involves processing and synthesizing long-term, spatially expansive data sets using principles of data science.

Google Scholar

Colette standing in front of palm trees wearing a dive suit.

Robin Rozon (MSc University of Toronto)         
Currently Aquatic Science Technician with Sarah Bailey’s Lab at GLLFAS

Zooplankton Technician     2016-2019

null Robin Rozon (@rockinrobin03) / X (twitter.com)

null Robin Rozon – LinkedIn

Morgan Piczak (MSc McMaster University, PhD, Carleton University) 
Currently Liber Ero and NSERC Postdoc, Dalhousie University

Zooplankton Technician     2019-2020

Google Scholar

null Morgan Piczak – LinkedIn

Students and Casual Employees

Matthew Wengler

2016 winter

Currently PhD candidate U. East Anglia

Angela Graham

2016 winter

Currently Dunnville Vet Clinic, OVC 2022

Angela Wilson

2016 summer

Currently Ontario 

Jofina Victor

2016 summer

Currently DFO Aquatic Sci Technician

Amanda Conway

2016 summer                   

Currently DFO Biologist

Kaye Puhakka

2016 fall


Claire Kemp

2016 fall

Currently Project Manager WISE lab

Melissa Risto

2016 summer, 2017 winter

Currently DFO Biologist, Pacific

Rachel Eagles

2017 summer


Cherri Lau

2017 summer – fall

Currently Res. Associate Terramera

Anne Ha

2018 winter


Maggie Fang

2018 summer

Currently DFO Technican

Jessica Desforges

2018 summer                   

Currently DFO Biologist NWAFS

Olivia/Jihyun Kim

2019 summer – fall         

Currently PhD candidate Queens U.

Jessica Wier

2019 summer


Jofina Victor

2019 fall, 2020 winter

Currently DFO Aquatic Sci Technician

Alessia Schembri

2021 summer                   

Currently ECCC TOS

Eve Krauss

2021 Fall

Currently Aquatic Biologist NRSI

Jacob Brown

2022 Winter-Summer


Madison Baskin

2023 Winter-Summer


Rajosree Paul

2023 Winter-Summer


Owen Fleming

2024 Winter-Summer