Meet the lab’s peeps: when invasive species are being removed from ecosystems, how do species communities and the ecosystem change?

(Every few weeks, we introduce one of our lab’s beloved peeps, so you can learn more about their research and why it matters for our planet)

The presence of high trophic level predators can drastically alter community and ecosystem function. Based out of Dr. Alison Derry’s lab in UQAM (and co-supervised by Dr. Fraser at Concordia), PhD student Mélia Lagacé is a member of a team of researchers aiming to study how the removal of fish from an ecosystem affects community-level ecological processes. Her work, which is part of a NSERC Strategic Project Grant and conducted in partnership with Parks Canada, focuses on a series of lakes in the Rocky Mountains in which invasive brook trout are being subjected to simulated size-selective harvesting regimes. Mélia’s research focuses on understanding how lake metabolism and nutrient cycling in alpine and sub-alpine lakes change as a result of the removal of invasive predatory fish in these ecosystems. She is also interested in what factors influence invertebrate community structure as the fish are being removed from the lakes. Her research will provide invaluable knowledge on how both invasive species and human harvesting activities affect community and ecosystem function.

Mélia is a vegan (meat production contributes substantially to global warming!) who is also an avid diver; she taught in Vietnam as a dive master, and has also dove in many locations across the world (Thailand, Honduras, Costa Rica, Australia, Mexico, British-columbia and more…). She also has a background in film as a camera assistant; hopefully she will also be able to capture the scenic beauty of her alpine research sites in the Rocky Mountains!”

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