Home | Profile | Education | Research | Publications | Teaching | Graduate Students | Links | Press | GigaPans
 
  Nahanni River expedition - 2004

M. Alex Smith

Assistant Professor - Department of Integrative Biology

Profile

I am from a small town in the Ottawa Valley, Ontario. It was here in the rivers, streams and marshes of Renfrew County that I first thought I wanted to be a biologist - it was in Costa Rica in 1991 that I knew. My research today is informed by, and about, each place. I obtained a B.Sc. (Hons) and an M.Sc. (1998) in Biology from Trent University in Peterborough Ontario, and then moved to Montreal, Quebec for my Ph.D. (2004) at McGill University. I received an FQAR Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from the Quebec provincial government that I took to the University of Guelph, and in 2008 was hired as an assistant professor in Molecular Ecology at the University of Guelph. As a biologist, it is important to me to work in both the field and laboratory to integrate field and molecular biology into questions of ecological and evolutionary importance to conservation. I am currently working on multiple projects that include molecular estimates of biodiversity and the distribution of phylogenetic diversity, the co-evolutionary ecology of host/parasitoid/symbiont relationships and the phylogeography of both ants and amphibians.

As a biologist, I try to look at life from multiple perspectives by integrating field and molecular biology. I am currently working on multiple projects that include the molecular estimates of biodiversity and the distribution of phylogenetic diversity (using ants as a model system) the co-evolutionary ecology of host/parasitoid/symbiont relationships (using parasitic wasps and flies as a model system) and the phylogeography of both ants and amphibians. These projects all fall within a research program that I describe as, “species and spaces” where the aim is to test the spatial population ecology and long term ecological monitoring of threatened and understudied species and areas from a biogeographic and phylogeographic perspective using both molecular and traditional ecological tools. My research is hypothesis-based but many of these hypotheses are directed by prior discovery based experiments using a preliminary single gene survey of a taxon or an area. I see the complementary and iterative interactions of discovery-based and hypothesis-based science as one of the most rewarding features of ecological research with a molecular component.

 

Lab Poster 2011.

NEWS:

130404 - the edition of GigaPan Magazine that all participants of Arctic Ecology 2012 took part in creating is now online:

  1. Smith, M. Alex, S. Adamowicz, Amanda Boyd, Chris Britton-Foster, Hayley Cahill, Kelsey Desnoyers, Natalie Duitshaever,Dan Gibson, Steve James, Yurak Jeong, Darren Kelly, Eli Levene, Hilary Lyttle, Talia Masse, Kate Pare, Kelsie Paris, Cassie Russell, Eric Scott, Debbie Silva, Megan Sparkes, Kami Valkova (2013) “Arctic Ecology” GigaPan Magazine Vol 5 Issue 1. http://gigapanmagazine.org/vol5/issue1/ [underlined authors are the undergraduate students of Arctic Ecology 2012 ordered alphabetically]

121221 - videos, photos and thoughts from my recent collecting trip in the ACG are documented here.

121219 - Several highly collaborative couple of papers have seen the light of day in December. Josephine Rodriguez led our paper on dramatically increased estimates of global microgastrine. A large collaborative team publisehd a review of the past 20K of Microgastrinae DNA barcodes - and what it enables. Julie Stahlhut led a reply article regarding the affect of Wolbachia on barcoding bees.

120824 - Our paper that describes nine new species of Rogadinae parasitods from PNG is out today.

120509 - I wrote a blog on paper on Wolbachia and Barcoding Insects: Problems, Patterns and Potential in the Barcode of Life Connect website today.

120502 - Our paper on Wolbachia and Barcoding Insects: Problems, Patterns and Potential was released today in PLoSONE.

120307 - Here is video of the Prenolepis imparis colony in front of the Science Complex at the University of Guelph. Active active today for the first time in 2012. Welcome Back Ants (one month earlier than last year)!

120306 - I had a fun time participating in the University of Guelph's Philopolis this past weekend. There's an article in the Guelph Mercury about our session on the "Species Problem" here.

120220 - I have set up a web site to document the February 2012 ACG ant collection trip. The site includes the videos, field notes, maps, GigaPans and eventually barcoding results and can be found here.

111203 - I have set up a web site to document the November and December 2011 ACG ant collection trip. The site includes the videos, field notes, maps, GigaPans and eventually barcoding results and can be found here.

111123 - An article in One Earth magazine profiles the GigaPan and discusses my use of it in Costa Rica in, "Moment Magnified".

111118 - At Guelph article profiles the upcoming Nearby Nature GigaBlitz, recently profiled in GigaPan Magazine.

110924 - Our paper, led by Mike Sharkey and Stephanie Clutts, that integrates morphology, genetics, and caterpillar rearing records in the description of the parasitoid Lytopylus in Costa Rica. Open access paper that can be accessed in ZooKeys.

110901 - The CFI grant that my colleagues Sarah Adamowicz and Mehrdad Hajibabaei wrote has been been successful - soon more infrastructure for biodiversity science!.

110829 - Our paper that integrates genetics, natural history collections, taxonomy and climate change in parasitoid wasp collections made at Churchill, Manitoba between 1930 and 2007 is out today at PLoSONE - have a look here.

110814 - Grant Dobson of the Shaw Woods, talks to the The Ottawa River Institute and the Bonnechere River Watershed Project collaborative Nature in Your Neighbourhood Project about the ongoing Malaise trapping in Shaw Woods.

 

110804 - "At Guelph" article considers our recent publication in PLoS ONE regarding the spruce budworm foodweb.

110718 - A new website has been setup to help coordinate the Algonquin Park Terrestrial Arthropod survey here.

110706 - Our paper that integrates classic foodweb biology, taxonomy, natural history and genetics is out at PLoSONE - have a look here.

110615 - A new website has been setup to help coordinate the Dairy Bush Arthropod survey here.

110601 - An article appears today in Conservation Magazine about GigaPans and conservation science. One of my Cacao GigaPans appears as an example.

110429 - Jan Hrcek's paper on host-parasitoid relationships in Papua New Guinea appears in Molecular Ecology Resources Early View today.

110422 - One of the ACG GigaPans (here) was featured on the University of Guelph homepage to celebrate Earth Day. An article describing the project in At Guelph is here.

110407 - The Prenolepis imparis colony in front of the Science Complex at the University of Guelph is active today for the first time in 2011. Welcome Back Ants!

110407 - I had the privilege of participating in a cool workshop on Biomimicry last weekend. It is discussed in an At Guelph article here.

110406 - One of the ACG GigaPans (here) is part of a series being featured on the GigaPan website to help celebrate Earth Day.

110404 - A photo from Volcan Cacao, near Sendero Circular) in the ACG is the backdrop to Claudia Bertrand's article about her Master's research in this April 2011's iBOL Bulletin.

110228 - I have set up a web site to document the most recent (Feb 2011) ACG ant collection trip. The site includes the videos, field notes, maps, GigaPans and eventually barcoding results and can be found at: https://sites.google.com/site/acgantcollectionsfeb2011/.

110228 - I have set up a web site to document the recent French Guiana, Nouragues research station ant and parasitoid collection trip. The site includes the videos, field notes, maps, GigaPans and eventually barcoding results and can be found at: https://sites.google.com/site/nouraguescollections2011/.

110117 - My favorite field hat is highlighted on the Wellington Brewery "where in the world" site!

101214 - Our MAPL paper (Early View) was discussed in today's Barcode of Life Blog.

101213 - I have set up a web site to document the December and November 2010 ACG ant collection trip. The site includes the videos, field notes, maps, GigaPans and eventually barcoding results and can be found at: https://sites.google.com/site/acgdecembercollections.

101203 - Three images from Dairy Bush GigaPan series were featured today in a fund-raising gala for the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in Hong Kong. Check out some photos taken of the gala here and here.

101119 - Our paper about barcoding gut contents of adult parasitoid wasps to reveal larval host species is in Molecular Ecology, Early View today.

101104 - Science article about the GigaPan focuses on the Dairy Bush from September 22nd 2010. The UoG press release is here. (Frenkel KA 2010 Panning for Science. Science 330:748-749). The talk from Pittsburgh is on YouTube.

My research program expressed as a word cloud (from www.wordle.net).

I am currently recruiting graduate students. If you are a highly motivated student with interests in the research topics described on this page, a Canadian upper-year undergraduate with a strong academic records and intend to apply for NSERC PGS and/or OGS funds please contact me about the possibility of supporting your application. Funded positions are currently available (see below), however students with external funding (NSERC, OGS, FQAR etc.) are encouraged to contact me. Information regarding the graduate program at the University of Guelph is here.

Fall 2013 - I am currently only able to accept students with external funding (NSERC, OGS, FQAR etc).

Check the University of Guelph Graduate Program here to see if you are eligible and please contact me if you have questions and would like to discuss these opportunities!

Education

PhD McGill University 2004 (David M. Green)

MSc Trent University 1998 (Michael Berrill and Carolyn Kapron)

BSc Trent University 1996

Full CV

Ectatomma in Belize - 2010.

Research

Ecology of parasitoids, hyperparasitoids, symbionts and hosts
"Ecological interactions among species are the most important processes that drive adaptive evolution and the diversification of species" - Wade 2007. Work in this program has already allowed a more accurate direct understanding of patterns of host-specialization amongst several families of parasitoid insects. We are now in a position to examine co-evolutionary relationships amongst the hosts, the parasitoids, their own parasites (hyperparasitoids - Taeniogonalos sp.) and bacterial symbionts (Wolbachia). We discovered several cases where parasitoids expected to be host generalists were, in fact, morphologically cryptic specialists. The inverse of this discovery is a unique capability to more precisely examine the causes and consequences of those remaining truly generalist parasitoids - prior work on these taxa and in this tropical area regarding host-generalist parasitoids dealt with a bad data due to the inclusion of morphologically cryptic specialists! Highly collaborative work with Dan Janzen, Winnie Hallwachs (collections and ecology and general ecological evolutionary know how), Jose Triana Fernandez, Monty Wood, Norm Woodley, Jim Whitfield, Josephine Rodriguez, Michael Sharkey, David Smith and Andy Dean (taxonomy, ecology and phylogeny), and Mehrdad Hajibabaei, Rodolphe Rougerie (molecular).

Recent contributions from this program

Smith, M. Alex, and 28 co-authors listed alphabetically. (2012) Wolbachia and DNA barcoding insects: Problems, Patterns and Potential. PLoSONE 7(5):e36514.

Rougerie, R., Smith, M. Alex, Fernandez- Triana,J., Lopez-Vaamonde, C., and Hebert, PDN. Molecular analysis of parasitoid linkages (MAPL): gut contents of adult parasitoid wasps reveal larval host. Molecular Ecology 20(1):179-86.

Smith, M. Alex, Eveleigh, ES, McCann, KS, McCarthy, PC, Van Rooyen, KI. Barcoding a quantified food web: crypsis, concepts, ecology and hypotheses. PLoS ONE 6(7): e14424.

Smith, M. Alex, Rodriguez, J. J., Whitfield, J. B., Deans, A. R., Janzen, D. H., Hallwachs, W., and Hebert, P. D. N. (2008) Extreme diversity of tropical parasitoid wasps exposed by iterative integration of natural history, DNA barcoding, morphology, and collections. PNAS 105(35):12359-12364.

Smith, M. Alex, Wood, D. M., Janzen, D. L., Hallawachs, W. and Hebert, P. D. N. (2007) DNA barcodes affirm that 16 species of apparently generalist tropical parasitoid flies (Diptera, Tachinidae) are not all generalists. PNAS. 104(12):4967-4972.

Smith, M. Alex, Woodley, N. Hallwachs, W. Janzen, D. H. Hebert, P. D. N. (2006) DNA barcodes reveal cryptic host-specificity within the presumed polyphagous members of a genus of parasitoid flies (Diptera: Tachinidae). PNAS 103:3657-3662.

Biodiversity assessment in a molecular age
"Species are the currency of biology" - Agapow et al 2004 - and molecular techniques for enumerating and comparing areas and faunas should allow the rapid enumeration of 'total biodiversity'. To date, work in this area has been published for a test-data set from Madagascar, and further analyses in Mauritius will be submitted for publication this year. This work is also highly collaborative involving Brian Fisher, Paul-Michael Agapow (and we mourn the loss of our colleague Ross Crozier) and independent work where my lab provides both field collections and genetic expertise. Ant fauna of the Malagasy region provide a model system to examine the co-evolution of endemic and invasive species.

Recent contributions from this program

Crozier, R. H., Agapow, P‐M., and M. Alex Smith. (2010) Conservation genetics: from species to habitats. in BIODIVERSITY RESEARCH– SAFEGUARDING THE FUTURE: Outcomes and recommendations of the CBD - COP 9 Associated Meeting Bonn, May 2008, Editor: Jessica M. Reeves. pp 73-79.

Smith, M. Alex, and B. L. Fisher. (2009) Invasions, DNA barcodes, and rapid biodiversity assessment using ants of Mauritius. Frontiers in Zoology. 6:31.

Smith,M. Alex, Fernandez-Triana, J, Roughley, R., and Hebert, P. D. N. (2009) DNA barcode accumulation curves for understudied taxa and areas. Molecular Ecology Resources. 9s1:208-216.

Smith, M. Alex, Fisher, B. L., and Hebert, P. D. N. (2005) DNA barcoding for effective biodiversity assessment of a hyperdiverse arthropod group: the ants of Madagascar. Phil Trans Roy Soc: B. 360:1828-1834.

Biogeography, phylogeography and spatial ecology of temperate amphibians and ants

"Phylogeography..an integrative endeavor that lies at an important crossroads of diverse micro- and macroevolutionary disciplines" - Avise 2000. For many species in the Great Lakes region of North America the principal determinants of contemporary phylogeography are the historic distance from southern refugia during Pleistocene glaciation. Population genetic studies of freshwater species have demonstrated significant genetic structuring in disjunct habitats (such as river basins), however anthropogenic change (e.g. pollution and dams) have reduced many formerly continuous habitats into subdivided islands. Within amphibian species native to Ontario I am interested in investigating local and regional processes of population isolation (dispersal, metapopulation ecology) coincident with hydrogeographic isolation. Within the ant species of Ontario, I am interested in an inter-specific comparison between those species with winged vs. wingless queens and the geographic distribution of genetic variation, and a comparison of the genetic variation of endemic vs. native species where they co-occur.

Recent contributions from this program

Smith, M. Alex, Green, D. M. (2004) Phylogeography of Bufo fowleri at its northern edge of range. Mol Ecol 13(12): 3723-3733.

Smith, M. Alex, Green, D. M. (2005) Dispersal and the metapopulation paradigm in amphibian ecology and conservation: Are all amphibian populations metapopulations? Ecography 28(1): 110-128.

This is a video of a recent presentation that Brian Fisher made of our work at the International Barcode of Life Conference in Mexico City (November, 2009).

Searching for ants in Gros Morne National Park - 2009

Publications

h-index 18, Google Scholar Citations

47. Jose Fernandez-Triana, Sophie Cardinal, James Whitfield, Winnie Hallwachs, M. Alex Smith, Daniel Janzen (2013) A review of the New World species of the parasitoid wasp Iconella (Hymenoptera, Braconidae, Microgastrinae). ZooKeys 321 (2013) : 65-87 

46. Quicke, D. L. J. M. Alex Smith, Hrcek, J. and Butcher, B. A. (2013) Cystomastacoides van Achterberg (Braconidae, Rogadinae): first host record and descriptions of two new species from Thailand and Papua New Guinea Journal of Hymenoptera Research 31: 65–78.

45. Julie K. Stahlhut José Fernández-Triana, Sarah J. Adamowicz, Matthias Buck, Henri Goulet, Paul D.N. Hebert, John T. Huber, Mark Merilo, Cory S. Sheffield, Thomas Woodcock, and M. Alex Smith. (2013) Diversity of Hymenoptera and the dominance of parasitoids in a sub-Arctic environment. BMC Ecology 13:2doi: 10.1186/1472-6785-13-2.

44. Julie K. Stahlhut, Jason Gibbs, Cory S. Sheffield, M. Alex Smith, and Laurence Packer (2012) Wolbachia (Rickettsiales) infections and bee (Apoidea) barcoding: A response to Gerth et al.Systematics and Biodiversity. 10(4):395-401

43. Smith, M. Alex; Fernández-Triana, José; Eveleigh, Eldon; Gómez, Jaime; Guclu, Coskun; Hallwachs, Winnie; Hebert, Paul; Hrcek, Jan; Huber, John; Janzen, Daniel; Mason, Peter; Miller, Scott ; Quicke, Donald; Rodriguez, Josephine; Rougerie, Rodolphe; Shaw, Mark; Varkonyi, Gergely; Ward, Darren; Whitfield, James and Alejandro Zaldivar-Riveron. (2012) DNA barcoding and the taxonomy of Microgastrinae wasps (Hymenoptera, Braconidae): impacts after eight years and nearly 20,000 sequences. Molecular Ecology Resources. DOI: 10.1111/1755-0998.12038.

42. Daniel H. Janzen, Winnie Hallwachs, Don Harvey, Karolyn Darrow, Rodolphe Rougerie, Mehrdad Hajibabaei, M. Alex Smith, Isidro Chacon, Bernardo Espinoza, Bo Sullivan, Thibaud Decaens, Daniel Herbin, Luis Felipe Chavarria, Ruth Franco, Hazel Cambronero, Sergio Rios, Freddy Quesada, Guillermo Pereira, Johan Vargas, Adrian Guadamuz, Roberto Espinoza, Jorge Hernandez, Lucia Rios, Elieth Cantillano, Roster Moraga, Calixto Moraga, Petrona Rios, Manuel Rios, Ricardo Calero, Dinia Martinez, Duvalier Briceño, Minor Carmona, Edwin Apu, Keiner Aragon, Cirilo Umaña, Jose Perez, Ana Cordoba, Pablo Umaña, Gloria Sihezar, Osvaldo Espinoza, Carolina Cano, Elda Araya, Dunia Garcia, Harry Ramirez, Manuel Pereira, Jose Cortez, Mariano Pereira and Paul Hebert. (2012) What happens to the traditional taxonomy when a well-known tropical saturniid moth fauna is DNA barcoded? Invertebrate Systematics. 26, 478–505.

41. Rodriguez, Josephine; Fernández-Triana, José; Smith, M. Alex; Janzen, Daniel; Hallwachs, Winnie; Erwin, Terry and Whitfield, James. (2012) Extrapolations from field studies and known faunas converge on dramatically increased estimates of global microgastrine parasitoid wasp species richness (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Insect Conservation and Biodiversity. doi: 10.1111/icad.12003.

40. Smith, D.R., D. H. Janzen, W. Hallwachs, M. Alex Smith. (2012) Hyperparasitic wasps (Hymenoptera: Trigonalidae) reared from dry forest and rain forest caterpillars of Area de Conservación Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Journal of Hymenoptera Research 29:119-144

39. Butcher, B. A., M. Alex Smith, M. J. Sharkey, and D. L. J. Quicke. (2012) A turbo-taxonomic study of Thai Aleiodes (Aleiodes) and Aleiodes (Arcaleiodes) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae: Rogadinae) based largely on COI barcoded specimens, with rapid descriptions of 179 new species. Zootaxa 3457: 1–232

38. E. Karen López-Estrada, Rosa Briceño G., M. Alex Smith , Juliano Fiorelini Nunes, Angélica M. Penteado-Dias, Fadia Sara Ceccarelli, Hans Clebsch , and Alejandro Zaldívar-Riverón. 2012 Six new species of Notiospathius (Hymenoptera: Braconidae: Doryctinae) from Northwest Venezuela. Journal of Hymenoptera Research 29 : 37-61

37. Quicke, D. L. J. M. Alex Smith, Miller, S. E., Hrcek, J. and Butcher, B. A. Colastomion Baker (Braconidae, Rogadinae): nine new species from Papua New Guinea reared from Crambidae. Journal of Hymenoptera Research. 28:85-121

35. Whitfield, J. H., W. Hallwachs, D. H. Janzen, M. Alex Smith and J. Fernandez-Triana (2012) Mariapanteles (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), a new genus of Neotropical microgastrine parasitoid wasp discovered through biodiversity inventory. ZooKeys 208 : 61-80

34. Smith, M. Alex. (2012). Species barcoding. In Daniel Fogel, Sarah Fredericks, Lisa Harrington, & Ian Spellerberg (Eds.), The Encyclopedia of Sustainability: Vol. 6. Measurements, Indicators, and Research Methods for Sustainability (pp. 326–328). Great Barrington, MA: Berkshire Publishing.

33. Smith, M. Alex, and 28 co-authors listed alphabetically. (2012) Wolbachia and DNA barcoding insects: Problems, Patterns and Potential. PLoSONE 7(5):e36514.

32. Quicke, D. L. J., M. Alex Smith, Janzen, D. H., Hallwachs, W., Fernandez-Triana, J., Laurenne, N. M., Zaldivar-Riveron, A., Shaw, M. R., Broad, G. R., Klopfstein, S., Shaw, S. R., Hrcek, J., Hebert, P. D. N., Miller, S. E., Rodriguez, J. J., Whitfield, J. B., Sharkey, M. J., Sharanowski, B. J., Jussila, R., Gauld [Deceased], I. D., Chesters, D. and Vogler, A. P. (2012), Utility of the DNA barcoding gene fragment for parasitic wasp phylogeny (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonoidea): data release and new measure of taxonomic congruence. Molecular Ecology Resources. 12: 676–685.

31. Buntika Butcher, M. Alex Smith, Donald Quicke (2011) A new derived species group of Aleiodes parasitoid wasps (Hymenoptera, Braconidae, Rogadinae) from Asia with descriptions of three new species. Journal of Hymenoptera Research 23 (2011) : 35-42.

30. Sharkey, M. J., Clutts, S., Tucker E. M., Janzen, D. H., Hallwachs, W., Dapkey, T., and Smith, M. Alex. (2011). Lytopylus Förster (Hymenoptera, Braconidae, Agathidinae) species from Costa Rica, with an emphasis on specimens reared from caterpillars in Area de Conservación Guanacaste. ZooKeys 130: 379–419.

29. Fernandez-Triana*, J. Smith, M. Alex*, Bodreault, C., Goulet, H., Hebert PDN, Smith AC, and Roughley, R. (2011). A poorly known high-latitude parasitoid wasp community: unexpected diversity and dramatic changes through time. PLoS ONE 6(8): e23719 (*these authors made equal contributions and are considered first co-authors)

28. Smith, M. Alex, Eveleigh, ES, McCann, KS, Merilo, MT, McCarthy, PC, Van Rooyen, KI. (2011) Barcoding a quantified food web: crypsis, concepts, ecology and hypotheses. PLoS ONE 6(7): e14424.

27. Hrcek, J., Miller, S., Quicke, D. J., and Smith, M. Alex (2011) Molecular detection of trophic links in a complex insect host-parasitoid food web. Molecular Ecology Resources 11(5):786-94 DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-0998.2011.03016.x.

26. Alejandro Zaldívar-Riverón, Juan José Martínez, Fadia Sara Ceccarelli, Vladimir Salvador De Jesús-Bonilla, Ana Cecilia Rodríguez-Pérez, Andrés Reséndiz-Flores, M. Alex Smith. 2010. DNA barcoding a highly diverse group of parasitoid wasps (Braconidae: Doryctinae) from a Mexican nature reserve. Mitchondrial DNA. 21(S1):18-23.

  • 110228 - Alejandro's article is the most read article on the Mitochondrial DNA website.

25. Rougerie, R., Smith, M. Alex, Fernandez- Triana,J., Lopez-Vaamonde, C., and Hebert, PDN. Molecular analysis of parasitoid linkages (MAPL): gut contents of adult parasitoid wasps reveal larval host. Molecular Ecology 20(1):179-86.

24. Smith, M. Alex. (2010). A year in an urban forest: Dairy Bush GigaPan 2009-2010. Proceedings of the Fine International Conference on Gigapixel Imaging for Science, November 11–13 2010.

  • Featured in Science - News Focus - Frenkel KA 2010 Panning for Science. Science 330:748-749. The UoG press release is here.

 

23. Crozier, R. H., Agapow, P‐M., and M. Alex Smith. (2010) Conservation genetics: from species to habitats. in BIODIVERSITY RESEARCH– SAFEGUARDING THE FUTURE: Outcomes and recommendations of the CBD - COP 9 Associated Meeting Bonn, May 2008, Editor: Jessica M. Reeves. pp 73-79.

22. Smith,M. Alex and Fisher, B. L, (2009) Invasions, DNA barcodes, and rapid biodiversity assessment using ants of Mauritius. Frontiers in Zoology 6:31 (Open Access).

21. Smith, M. Alex, Fernandez-Triana, J, Roughley, R., and Hebert, P. D. N. (2009) DNA barcode accumulation curves for understudied taxa and areas. Molecular Ecology Resources. 9s1:208-216. (Open Access)

  • Research referred to in the preface for the special volume of MER dedicated to barcoding research presented at the 2nd Scientific Symposium of the Canadian Barcode of Life Network in Toronto at the Royal Ontario Museum, April 28-29, 2008.

20. Janzen, D. H., and 45 others. (2009) Integration of DNA barcoding into an ongoing inventory of complex tropical biodiversity. Molecular Ecology Resources. 9s1:1-26. (Open Access)

19. Smith, M. Alex, Rodriguez, J. J., Whitfield, J. B., Deans, A. R., Janzen, D. H., Hallwachs, W., and Hebert, P. D. N. (2008) Extreme diversity of tropical parasitoid wasps exposed by iterative integration of natural history, DNA barcoding, morphology, and collections. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 105 (34):12359-12364. (Open Access)

  • One of Molecular Ecology Notes most frequently read papers - 2006-2008.
  • One of Ecography's most frequently read papers 2006-2008.

09. Smith, M. Alex, Green, D. M. (2005) Bufo fowleri (Fowler's Toad): Predation. Herpetological Review 36(2):159-160. (.pdf)

08. Smith, M. Alex, Green, D. M. (2004) Phylogeography of Bufo fowleri at its northern edge of range. Molecular Ecology 13(12): 3723-3733. (Link to Journal - subscription required)

07. Smith, M. Alex, Berrill, M., and Kapron, C. (2002) Photolyase activity of the embryo and the ultraviolet absorbance of embryo jelly for several Ontario amphibian species. Canadian Journal of Zoology 80:1109-1116 (.pdf)

06. Smith, M. Alex, and Green, D. M. (2002) Bufo fowleri: Predation. Herpetological Review 33(2): 125 (.pdf)

05. Smith, M. Alex (2002) Pseudacris triseriata triseriata: Reproduction. Herpetological Review 33(2): 127 (.pdf)

04. Smith, M. Alex, Kapron, C., and Berrill, M. (2000) Induction of photolyase activity in wood frog (Rana sylvatica) embryos. Photochemistry and Photobiology 72:575-578. (.pdf)

03. Smith, M. Alex (2000) Problems utilizing enzyme sensitive site assays for photorepair of exogenous DNA with cell free extracts made from amphibian embryos. Canadian Journal of Zoology 78:1869-1872. (.pdf)

02. Crump, D., Berrill, M., Coulson, D., Lean, D. R. S., McGillivray, L., and Smith, M. Alex (1999) Sensitivity of eight species of amphibian embryos, tadpoles and larvae to enhanced UV-B radiation in natural pond conditions in Southern Ontario. Canadian Journal of Zoology 77:1956-1966. (.pdf)

01. Smith, M. Alex, and Bidochka, M. (1998) Bacterial fitness and plasmid loss: the importance of culture conditions and plasmid size. Canadian Journal of Microbiology 44: 351-355. (.pdf)

Teaching

BIOL*4610 - Arctic Ecology 2012

Using the GigaPan in BIOL*1070

 

Using the DinoLite digital microscope to explore an ant colony near the UoG Science Complex.

BIOL-386 Ecology of the Kawarthas through the Ontario Universities' Program in Field Biology

Ecology of the Kawarthas 2007 - Haliburton Forest Walk in the Clouds

Ecology of the Kawarthas 2007 - Ants and Plants, getting closer to the ants.

Ecology of the Kawarthas 2007 - Bog Plants and Ants and...rain. 2005

Ecology of the Kawarthas 2005 participants.Cacao

Ant sampling plot overstory in Volcan Cacao - ACG, Costa Rica, August 2008.iBOL

Winnie Hallwachs, Alex Smith, Dan Janzen, Mehrdad Hajibabaei and Brian Fisher.

Grad Students

Thanushi Eagalle MSc (2012 - ). Latitude and habitat affects on parasitoid diversity

Kate Pare MSc (2013 - ). Collembola diversity on a neotropical elevational gradient.

Completed Graduate Students

Ariel Levitsky MSc (2010 - 2013). Melissotarsus insularis and scale insect cryptic species and co-diversification in Madagascar.

Connor Warne MSc (2010 - 2013). Co-variation of genetic and functional diversity in ACG ant communities along an elevational gradient.

Fiona Tsoi MSc (2011 - 2013). Breeding system, dispersal and mtDNA within Malagasy Formicidae.

Undergraduate Students

2013/14

  • Hayley Cahill – (IBIO*4521/4522). Adelomyrmex diversity within ACG cloud forest.
  • Jessmyn Niergarth – (IBIO*4521/4522). The Effect of Larval Type on Molecular Evolutionary Rates in Arctic Benthic Macroinvertebrates
  • Sydney Frank – (IBIO*4500/4510).  Algonquin park Lepidopteran diversity
  • Aaron Fairweather – (IBIO*4500/4510). Algonquin park Formicidae diversity
  • Kelsie Paris – (IBIO*4510). Algonquin park parasitoid diversity
  • Amelia Chan (IBIO*4510). Algonquin park spider diversity
  • Meike Corriveau (IBIO*4510). Allen's rule along a neotropical elevational gradient
  • Daniel Gibson IBIO*4510). Aphid:plant specificity in Churchill

2012/13

  • Megan McPhee – (2012/13, IBIO4521/4522). ACG spider diversity with elevation.
  • Tyler Schmitt – (2012/13, IBIO4521/4522).  Algonquin park Hemipteran diversity
  • Morgan Roblin – (2012/13, IBIO4521/4522). Algonquin park Coleopteran diversity
  • Kate Pare – (2012/13, IBIO4521/4522). Algonquin park arthropod diversity with cut age
  • Sean Espinola: work study

2011/2012

  • Paulson des Brisay: (2011/12, IBIO4521/4522). Paulson investigated the phylogeographic structure of the transcontential ant, Tapinoma sessile. (Supervisor)
  • Heather Coatsworth: Undergraduate Research project (4501, 2012).  Heather tested whether host tissue could be amplified and identified from the guts of Eucharitidae parasitoids. (Supervisor)
  • Devin Fischer: Undergraduate Research project (4501, 2012). Devin tested how the ant fauna changed within a full year between the Dairy Bush field and forest habitats.
  • Heather Coatsworth : work study
  • Sean Espinola: work study
  • Megan McPhee: work study
  • Morgan Roblin: work study
  • Sara Kuiper: work study
  • Jon Spero: work study
  • Thanushi Eagalle (volunteer)
  • Alex Sutton (volunteer)
  • Tyler Schmitt (volunteer)
  • Megan McPhee:  Summer 2012. Megan received one of the CBS Summer Undergraduate Research Scholarships and is working on the Costa Rican ant community and climate change project funded by NSERC.
  • Tyler Schmitt: worked on the Algonquin terrestrial arthropod diversity project.
  • Thanushi Eagalle: worked on the Algonquin terrestrial arthropod diversity project.
  • Amanda Boyd: worked on the Algonquin terrestrial arthropod diversity project.
  • Morgan Roblin : worked on the Algonquin terrestrial arthropod diversity project.
  • Sean Espinola worked on the Costa Rican ant community and climate change project.
  • Kate Pare volunteered on the Costa Rican ant community and climate change project

2010/2011

  • Kayleb Smith: (2010/11, IBIO4521/4522). Kayleb documented the effects of Wolbachia on the cryptic diversity of parasitoid wasps in Costa Rica and Canada.
  • Vincent Belluz: (2010/11, IBIO4521/4522). Vincent tested whether host insects can be determined by amplifying the gut-contents of the adult parasitoid wasps.
  • Rebecca Morton: (2011, MCB*4510). Rebecca tested the efficacy of a COI-only phylogeny when compared to other multi-gene phylogenies from the literature.
  • Fiona Tsoi (work study student) (2010/11). Imaging and measuring ants of Area de Conservacion de Guanacaste - Costa Rica.  Fiona is now one of my graduate students.
  • Jennifer Rouselle (undergraduate work study student) (2010/11). Imaging and measuring ants of Area de Conservacion de Guanacaste - Costa Rica
  • Lauren van Patter: Undergraduate Research assistant.  Summer 2009, Fall/Winter 2009/10, Summer 2010, Winter 2011, Summer 2011.  Lauren works on the Costa Rican ant community and climate change project.
  • Heather Coatsworth: NSERC USRA, Summer 2011.  Heather works on the Costa Rican ant community and climate change project.
  • Lauren Van Patter: Lauren works on the Costa Rican ant community and climate change project.
  • Caitlin van der Meer: Summer 2011. Caitlin is working on the Algonquin Park and Dairy Bush biodiversity projects funded by GEL2.
  • Sandra McCubbin:  Summer 2011. Sandra received one of the CBS Summer Undergraduate Research Scholarships and is working on the Algonquin Park and Dairy Bush biodiversity projects funded by GEL2.
  • Chris Fruetel: Summer 2011.  Chris worked on the Dairy Bush and Algonquin Park arthropod biodiversity projects (Neil Rooney SES co-supervisor)
  • James Hall: Summer 2011.  James worked on the Dairy Bush and Algonquin Park arthropod biodiversity projects.(Neil Rooney SES co-supervisor)

Ant searching team in the Dairy Bush

Fall 2010 - part of the lab collecting ants in the University of Guelph's Dairy Bush.


Links

Barcode of Life Data Systems

University of Guelph Office of Research Magazine, "Focus On: DNA Barcoding"

Biodiversity Institute of Ontario

FormicidaeBol.org - organisation site for effort to barcode ants globally.

AntWeb

Area de Conservación Guanacaste (ACG).

Donate to the preservation of the Guanacaste Rainforest, Cloudforest and Dryforest!

iBOL - Biodiversity Genomics.

GigaPan: my user accounts (BIO) & (biodiversity22) on this dramatic new transformative technology. GigaPan allows users to upload, share and explore gigapixel and panoramic images (scroll down for some examples embedded here).

The University of Guelph Dairy Bush - a project following the Dairy Bush on the UofG campus via a GigaPan panorama taken once a week for a year.

House of Lords: Science and Technology Committee Fifth Report: Systematics and Taxonomy: Follow-up. 13 August 2008.

RSS feed for the 10 most recent ant barcodes (feed developed by Roderic Page for NCBI taxa - at bioguid). Paste link into Google maps to see distribution of barcoded individuals.

Search GenBank for Formicidae - new records, all genes.

Press

120306 - I had a fun time participating in the University of Guelph's Philopolis this past weekend. There's an article in the Guelph Mercury about our session on the "Species Problem" here.

120220 - I have set up a web site to document the February 2012 ACG ant collection trip. The site includes the videos, field notes, maps, GigaPans and eventually barcoding results and can be found here.

111203 - I have set up a web site to document the November and December 2011 ACG ant collection trip. The site includes the videos, field notes, maps, GigaPans and eventually barcoding results and can be found here.

 

Timelapse video of the 2nd year of the Dairy Bush GigaPan 2010-2011.

111123 - An article in One Earth magazine profiles the GigaPan and discusses my use of it in Costa Rica in, "Moment Magnified".

111118 - At Guelph article profiles the upcoming Nearby Nature GigaBlitz, recently profiled in GigaPan Magazine.

110804 - "At Guelph" article considers our recent publication in PLoS ONE regarding the spruce budworm foodweb.

110422 - University of Guelph "At Guelph" article following the ACG volcano, ants and climate research project here.

101116 - University of Guelph Alumni e-news follows the Dairy Bush story.

101104 - Science article about the GigaPan focuses on the Dairy Bush from September 22nd 2010. The UoG press release is here (with a copy of the pdf). (Frenkel KA 2010 Panning for Science. Science 330:748-749.)

101029 - Reuters article about how DNA barcoding aims to protect species was featured in international and national news reports, including on ABC News and in the Globe and Mail, the Vancouver Sun, Ottawa Citizen, Edmonton Journal, Bangladesh News and Reuters India and Reuters United Kingdom.

101025 - Article where Jose Fernandez Triana describes, amongst others, a new species of parasitoid wasp, Apanteles masmithi, was released in ZooKeys. For me, the best part about it is, that the type specimen was collected by W.W. Judd in 1953 in London Ontario!

101021 - Reuters video article about how DNA Barcodes Could Help Conservation and Food Safety.

100926 - iBOL bulletin article about the use of GigaPan with Barcoding. PDF of the article. This story is also featured in the GigaPan Fine Outreach for Science Blog.

100825 - GigaPan Fine Outreach for Science Blog recounts the 1 year anniversary of the Dairy Bush GigaPan.

100801 - GigaPan Magazine Volume 2, Issue 5 Science and Society. Stopping by the Woods focuses on the snails in a Dairy Bush GigaPan from June 23 2010.

100513 - "At Guelph" article about the Costa Rica ant and GigaPan projects: Biologist Zooms In on Ants and Other Species

100505 - GigaPan blog about the Dairy Bush GigaPan project

 Timelapse video of the 1st year of the Dairy Bush GigaPan. August 31 2009 - Sept 29 2010.

100226 - Guelph Tribune article about the Dairy Bush GigaPan project and the BIObus. PDF of article.

100110 - Science - News Focus - "The Little Wasp That Could" by Elizabeth Pennisi. Science Vol. 327. no. 5963, pp. 260 - 262. Jan 10 2010. Subscription required.

091221 - Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation video story on BIO and DNA barcoding.

Read the transcript of the video.  

100210 - Dairy Bush GigaPan series featured on GigaPan home page "Snow" collection.

090130 - "Discarding the future" - Globe and Mail -Letter to the Editor, 30/01/09 page A12.- Regarding contributions to science contained in the 2009 budget.

090702 - "Anti-aquatic antics of ants " - Globe and Mail - Collected Wisdom, 07/02/09 page A19.- Ant strategies for surviving floods and snow.

090212 - "BioBus" - Discovery Channel's Daily Planet segment on the BioBus. The link opens a new page showing a video segement taken in celebration of Darwin's 200th birthday. After the commercial, the clip starts about 13 minutes into the segment. The story is also featured in the Gigapan blog.

090925 - Guelph Chamber of Commerce "Guelph Business After Five 5" hosted by BIO, covered in the Guelph Mercury.

090518 - Commentary on myrmecos blog regarding DNA barcoding.

090521 - Article in Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on the Fine Outreach for Science workshop at Carnegie-Mellon.

Juvenile Fowler's toad - Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore - 2000.

Last updated - 04 November, 2013

 

M. Alex Smith

Email: salex@uoguelph.ca

Office: SCIE 2464 Lab: SCIE 2409/2410

 

Science Complex

Telephone: 

519-824-4120 x52007

GigaPans