I am broadly interested in patterns of biodiversity and the evolutionary history of life, especially at a molecular level. I discovered my passion for research during my BSc when I attended an Arctic Ecology field course in Churchill, Manitoba. I developed a research project studying mite diversity associated with lichens, and this eventually formed the basis for my MSc research. My MSc focussed on understanding patterns of biodiversity and molecular evolution in Northern Canada using mites as model organisms. My research revealed that mites, although minute and inconspicuous, are an extremely important and diverse part of local ecosystems, and their diversity is linked to accelerated rates of molecular evolution.
After completing my MSc in 2013, I accepted a Research Assistant position at the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, and later transitioned to the role of Taxonomic Lead. I still hold this position part time and continue to manage several national and international projects. However, I’ve since dedicated my career to better understanding the extent of biodiversity in these enigmatic animals through doctoral work at the University of Guelph. A major aspect of this research is understanding the evolutionary processes that create and maintain biodiversity by exploring the biological traits that influence rates of molecular evolution.