As a recent graduate of the B.Sc. Zoology program at the University of Guelph, I am particularly enthused by unlikely species interactions. My Master’s research focuses on spotted salamanders as a common, yet previously overlooked prey item for a population of Northern pitcher plants in Algonquin Park.
My relationship with the Algonquin Wildlife Research Station began in 2018 during a Field Ecology course taught by Dr. Alex Smith. Falling in love with the park and local ecology, I returned the following year as both staff and undergrad researcher. Questions stemming from my undergrad thesis will be carried through to my graduate research under the co-supervision of Dr. Alex Smith and Dr. Shoshanah Jacobs. These include: Why are the cup-shaped leaves of pitcher plants so attractive to the salamanders? How important are these meat-eating plants as a cause of salamander death? How much nutrition do the plants gain from their salamander meals? The Northern pitcher plant and spotted salamander have individually been the subject of much research historically. Thus, this recent discovery may, in fact, be an enigmatic outcome of a changing ecosystem